Candidate Survey Shows Dissatisfaction With Hiring Processes

Labor markets and workforces have witnessed significant transformation in recent years. Despite all the displacement and financial stress caused by the pandemic, the unemployment rate has fallen rapidly and competition for talent has become increasingly intense. While some of this competition has eased in sectors like tech, hiring managers will continue to face a difficult labor market for the foreseeable future.

In other words, norms and expectations among employees have undergone a permanent shift. Company leaders and recruiting professionals have never been under more pressure to develop effective strategies for attracting talent and maintaining a healthy workforce.

With that in mind, Criteria’s just-published Candidate Experience Report (which questioned 2,000 job seekers globally) examines the demands and concerns of today’s job seekers, from how they view their roles in light of Covid and the economy to what they expect from employers. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Non-Negotiable Demands

While the overnight transition to remote work was a shock for many company leaders and employees, both groups report that it was largely successful. But as people have grown accustomed to the flexibility of remote work, they expect companies to continue offering this flexibility as the pandemic continues and perhaps recedes.

The survey found that one-third of candidates have turned down a job because it didn’t offer acceptable flexible or remote options. Indeed, candidates ranked work-life balance as more important than compensation, work culture, and benefits.

Beyond flexibility, candidates are also in search of the following attributes, in order of importance): more opportunities for career advancement; increased compensation; better managers, teams, and company cultures; a greater sense of purpose at work; and improved benefits.

Although it’s no surprise to see salary and benefits on this list, it’s important for talent professionals to recognize that employees are looking for much more than compensation at work.

TA leaders should never forget that candidates are in a strong position to pursue the jobs they actually want and wait until the right opportunities materialize. More than two-thirds of respondents said they’re “very confident” that they’ll be able to find a satisfying new job — yet another reminder that companies have to work hard to set themselves apart.

Bad Hiring Processes

Although 54% of respondents said they’ve abandoned a recruitment process because the salary didn’t meet their expectations, almost the same proportion (53%) revealed they’d done so because of poor communication from an employer or recruiter.

Additionally, almost a third of job seekers say they’ve dropped out of the hiring process because it was taking too long, while 36% of employees report that negative reviews of a company’s culture are enough to drive them to the exits.

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It’s clear also that job-seekers value transparency in the hiring process. More than half (57%) say they “strongly agree” — while another quarter “somewhat agree” — that job descriptions should list salary information. Sure enough, legislators have taken note of this sentiment; laws requiring salary information in job postings are becoming more common.

Salary is also an area where HR and TA teams need to recognize that candidates are becoming increasingly assertive and confident: 79% of job-seekers either “strongly” (48%) or “somewhat” (31%) agree they’ll be paid enough in their new roles.

Hiring managers may think there’s little they can do about a mismatch in salary expectations, but they should be upfront about what the job will pay. This will show candidates that the company respects their time and it can open up a path to productive negotiation.

Disadvantaged by the Hiring Process

Job-seekers are also confident in their ability to find the right jobs, secure the salaries they want, and outperform their competitors. Seventy-one percent say they “strongly” (40%) or “somewhat” (31%) feel that the hiring process is fair. Meanwhile, 94% think their assessment scores demonstrate their potential “very well” (52%) or “somewhat well” (42%).

These responses provide all the more reason for TA teams to build their hiring processes around rigorous and objective evaluative tools. What’s more, almost three-quarters of candidates say assessments help them showcase their potential beyond their experience. (Over half of candidates say they prefer game-based assessments over question-and-answer tests.)

For now, though 28% of candidates still say they feel disadvantaged by the traditional hiring process — which makes it clear that there remains much work to be done to improve talent acquisition and retention.

Josh Millet is the founder and CEO of Criteria, an assessment company dedicated to helping organizations make better talent decisions using objective, multidimensional data. 

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