Candidates POV

Candidates POV

What do candidates want from the recruitment process?

Do recruiters instinctively know what to put in a job advert? The effect of those words could instantly attract the perfect person, or a tribe of mediocre applicants unsuited to the job.

Given the importance of a job advert, which is usually the candidates’ first signpost to the opportunity, how much of the content is tailored to the job-seekers’ wants and needs?

And is this even necessary – surely a job advert is the recruiter’s platform to spell out what they want?
No one has time to waste…if an advert isn’t appealing, or if it’s vague, valuable personnel and top talent could be lost to competitors.

So, what do candidates want to see and hear?

A recent study, carried out by First Recruitment Ltd, asked more than a thousand permanent and temporary employees for their thoughts surrounding the recruitment process, job adverts, and the deciding factor(s) that made them opt for one opportunity over another.

Though we’ve previously seen evidence to the contrary (candidates have cited flexible working, location, and career prospects as the most important factors in past studies), in this report, pay was said to be the main reason job offers were accepted - with 90% agreeing that salary was their top priority.

Three-quarters of those surveyed consider the recruiting company’s reputation. Brand and values are seemingly important to job-seekers today; research into a company involves scrutiny over the web as well as first-hand reports from their social circle. And should a job be recommended to a candidate, almost everyone surveyed (99%) said they’d consider applying for the opportunity. (Which suggests: should recruiters appeal to candidates only, or should they cast their net much wider, given this statistic - in the hope a-friend-of-a-friend sees the advert and alerts the ideal candidate?)

If an advert hints at the scope of progression within the company, say candidates, it makes the opportunity more attractive. The lucidity of the job’s description also increases its appeal, as job-seekers can then understand what would be expected of them, and whether the job represents a career move or convenient time-filler. On that note, candidates tend not to look further than the headline – 64% would not apply for a job if they didn’t understand the job title. So, ditch the jargon!

Perks were deemed less important than they have in previous years, and those surveyed stated that they were keen to travel further for the right role, with a third of job-seekers open to relocation.

One of the main findings was that job-seekers looked for the same things in a job advert - whether searching for a permanent role, a temporary job, or a contracted opportunity. It was also clear that the wording “pay = negotiable” frustrated candidates; pay brackets, or a firm figure of recompense, create a crucial benchmark, and allow candidates to compare opportunities. Being specific about location, and accurately describing duties, responsibilities and expectations, were also aspects cited as significant.

The level of importance a recruiter places on training and development is potentially another deal-breaker, as is a brief breakdown of the kind of person the recruiter is looking for, aside from their qualifications. There’s nothing worse for candidates, it seems, than spending time applying for a role that they’re unlikely to fit.

It’s important to remember that things can be interpreted differently by different people. For example, whilst many job-seekers admitted that their working surroundings were important, what they consider a ‘good environment’ may be completely different to what recruiters conjure up when thinking of effective workspaces. Remember, also, that things change. Whereas open-plan offices were once the bees’ knees, they’re now seen as distracting.

It’s perhaps a given that candidates will research the job market and recruiting companies, as well as individual opportunities. But it’s not as if recruiters have time to waste either. A little research on both sides of the fence, it seems, would be time well-spent.

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