A Look at Job-candidate Expectations Shows Europe Is No Monolith

Thanks to a growing talent shortage in their local labor markets, international recruitment is becoming an interesting option for many companies in Europe. Proper insight into the target group will allow you to find the right candidate for that difficult-to-fill position. While it may appear straightforward, the labor market in Europe is extremely complex. Europe consists of 51 different countries — and the candidates in each and every one have different expectations with regard to the recruitment process.

Previously, there was no information available on the differences in the candidate experience from one European country to the next.

We surveyed (more in this paper) 60,000 respondents across 28 European countries in the European labor market and were surprised at some of the findings.

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International Differences 

  1. Almost half (49 percent) of European respondents consider personal feedback on their application to be the most important. Yet major differences exist from one region to the next, and even between neighboring countries. In Estonia, for instance, 75 percent of candidates find personal feedback important, while the percentage in Lithuania is much lower, at only 20 percent.
  2. Re: rejections, 35 percent of candidates in Europe consider it important that personal feedback is given in the event of a rejection. There are major differences between the countries. In Estonia, half of the candidates consider this important, and in Austria and the United Kingdom, a large proportion (46 percent) also consider this important. But in countries such as Lithuania (16 percent) and Bulgaria (20 percent), this point is less high on the list.
  3. It is striking that an easy application procedure is not considered important by 81 percent of the Spanish candidates. On the other hand, an easy procedure is important in other countries, such as Finland and Greece, where 41 percent of the candidates agree.
  4. As far as the length of the application process: Candidates in Europe are fairly evenly split on the importance of a short application process: around 31 percent consider this important. There are a few exceptions to this. For example, in Spain, candidates do not consider this point so important (18 percent), but in Slovakia and the Czech Republic (45 percent) say they do.
  5. Meeting the team: meeting colleagues is important to 19 percent of Europeans. In countries such as Ukraine (29 percent) and Switzerland (24 percent) this is the most important, but in Finland (8 percent) and Norway (9 percent) few candidates consider this an important point.
  6. Meeting the manager: Twenty percent of European candidates consider it important to meet their future direct manager. There are major differences between the countries. For example, Ukrainians (37 percent) and Croats (30 percent) find this more important than average. But in Denmark (9 percent), the Netherlands (10 percent) and Norway (10 percent) this number is much lower.


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Geert-Jan Waasdorp is founder of Intelligence Group, a European data & tech company specialized in (global) recruitment intelligence and recruitment marketing. Its core business is answering the question: “Where and how to attract the best talent in the world?" Intelligence Group is a global authority in the field of knowledge of the (international) labor market, recruitment and recruitment marketing. With an independent and data driven view it provides information to international top employers on recruitment marketing, global talent mapping, and international mobility. Among its clients are ADP, Randstad, Philips, Unilever, Heineken, Cielo, Alexander Mann Solutions, Brunel, Nespresso, and Booking.com.