The Top 5 Factors That Make Job Seekers More Likely to Apply

What are the big things that job seekers are looking for in their next job?

You probably have a good idea — a better salary and job title, more opportunity, and perhaps, better benefits or more work/life balance — and if you guessed any of those, you would probably be in the ballpark.

But recruiting site Glassdoor has a new survey out this week, and it gets very specific with its research on the Top 5 Workplace Factors Job Seekers Look for While Searching for Jobs.

No Surprise: 67 Percent of Job Seekers Say Salary Is Their Top Issue

As Glassdoor put it in the press release about the survey, it’s not terribly surprising what the top two factors are. As they put it in a very tongue-in-cheek way:

“Spoiler alert, salary is the No. 1 key piece of info 67 percent of workers and job seekers say they look for in a job ad, followed closely by 63 percent saying benefits and perks most catch their attention. These breakouts also differ between men and women — women prioritize flexible work hours and office location more than men when deciding to apply to a job.”

More interesting to me was how it broke the Top 5 factors down into what job seekers look for in job ads, and, the top factors that make job seekers more likely to apply. Here’s how they breakdown:

Top Factors Job Seekers Look For in Job Ads

  1. Salaries — 67 percent;
  2. Benefits — 63 percent;
  3. Job Location — 59 percent;
  4. Commute time — 43 percent;
  5. Employee reviews — 32 percent.

 Top Factors That Make Job Seekers More Likely to Apply

  1. Attractive benefits, and perks — 48 percent;
  2. Convenient, easy commute — 47 percent;
  3. High salaries — 46 percent;
  4. Good work/life balance — 43 percent;
  5. Work from home flexibility — 41 percent.

It’s that second list of the Top 5 Factors That Make Job Seekers More Likely to Apply that’s more interesting to me because it not only takes into consideration that what drives a candidate to actually pull the trigger on a job application — a highly critical factor, I’d say — but because it also gives more insight into what’s really important to people as they’re making decisions like this.

“Job Seekers Crave Transparency on Pay”

Three of the five factors in that second list deal with quality-of-life issues, and you could probably add benefits and perks to that list too. That’s an interesting wrinkle that gives some real insight into the mind of the applicant, I’d say.

The Glassdoor survey also found that when it comes to what employees and job seekers look for when assessing their long-term potential with an employer, more than two in five (44 percent) say that company transparency on pay and benefits is a critical factor.

This was followed by more than one third (39 percent) of employees/job seekers who report that an explanation from employers about how they can grow within the company after joining represents long-term career potential.

And, some 37 percent said that a company with a track record for promoting from within would signify that the organization has real long-term potential for them as an employee.

“Job seekers crave transparency on pay, not only to make an initial judgement about whether to consider applying for a job, but also to assess if an employer holds long-term potential for them,”  said Julie Coucoules, Glassdoor’s global head of talent acquisition, in a press release about the survey.

She added: “Quality candidates are typically well-researched and go beyond job ads and look for a richer set of background data that includes benefits and employee reviews, among other specific traits about an employer. This means that employers should make information available to job candidates proactively, or they risk missing out on quality candidates applying.”

Gender Also Plays a Big Role in How People Look at This

The Glassdoor survey also had some interesting insights into the differences between the sexes when it comes to the factors that they look for in a new job. As the Glassdoor analysis notes,

“Just as it’s important for those in HR and recruitment to understand what information is important to job seekers and how job seekers are making decisions about a company, they must also consider how audiences may differ in how they research jobs and what is important to them.”

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For example, nearly half of female workers/job seekers (49 percent) say that the option to work from home would make them more likely to apply to a job. However, only 35 percent of men would be enticed by a company that offered flexibility to work from home.

There are a number of other areas where men and women differed substantially in their survey responses, but these were less surprising to me than they worth indicative of the different values that men and women bring to the workplace. No big shock there, but the big news in the survey is not that the genders differ on things like this, but how much they differ when it comes right down to it.

You may differ in your notions about what job seekers are looking for too, and that’s why it never hurts to dig into a survey like this because it will surely leave you with some insightful information that may change how you look at issues like this.

Glassdoor’s online survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor in May 2018 among over 1,151 U.S. adults ages 18+ who are employed full-time/part-time/self-employed, or not employed but looking for work.

You can get more on the Glassdoor report Top 5 Workplace Factors Job Seekers Look for While Searching for Jobs here.

John Hollon

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.