9 Things Job Applicants Want from an Employer

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9 Things Job Applicants Want from an Employer

Hiring great people increasingly demands that your organization creates an attractive, easy, engaging, personal, and memorable experience in the hiring process.

Hiring practices either repel or attract the talent you are trying to recruit. From the moment you "touch" job candidates, they take in information about your organization, form opinions of your workplace, and make decisions about whether or not to pursue employment with you. A 2013 study by CareerBuilder shows that candidate experience is linked to whether applicants seek employment at your company again, recommend employment, and even purchase products or services from your organization.

Job candidates notice and make judgments about every aspect of your hiring process, including the content of your job postings, the information you provide to them, the professionalism and attitude of your staff, how much you communicate with them, and how the hiring process "feels." Their perceptions and experience determine whether they continue to engage in your hiring process, and whether they ultimately accept your offer.

Here are 9 things that job applicants want from an employer.

1. An online presence

An attractive, engaging, and interactive online presence is no longer an option - it's a must. Candidates increasingly research prospective employers online, visit their websites, engage with them on social media sites, and read their blogs.

Have a section of your website dedicated to information about careers and job opportunities which allows candidates to apply for jobs. Your organization should also create, maintain, and update social media websites, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

2. An easy, straightforward process

Studies show that over a third of candidates applying for a position online opt out because the process can be too lengthy or complicated.

Test your online process from a user perspective. It should stay up-to-date and be mobile-friendly. It should take very little time to apply for a job through your organization. Also, make sure that certain applicant tracking system features are not creating unnecessary headaches for your candidates.

Similarly, hiring processes can involve so many interviews and other hiring steps that they end up turning people off to the opportunity, especially if candidates are looking for a quick move or can't invest too much time in the process. Keep steps to a minimum, and make the process flexible to candidate needs.

3. A reasonable timeline

Job candidates want you to have a reasonable timeline for your hiring process, respect their time, and move quickly when making decisions between stages of the hiring process. They also want to know what this timeline is, and when you expect to make decisions.

Your hiring process' efficiency and your timeliness of decision-making are critical factors that affect candidate perceptions. Do not make the hiring process unnecessarily lengthy. In addition, make your process efficient so that you don't lose candidates in the process.

4. Frequent updates and communication

Job candidates no longer expect to fall into the "black hole" of resumes and applications. Many candidates think less of employers who don't personally and quickly respond to them after they submit a resume or application within a day or two, or who fail to follow-up and poorly communicate with them throughout the hiring process.

Candidates want you to maintain regular two-way communication with them at every step in hiring process. Providing frequent and timely updates throughout the hiring process helps applicants stay informed and engages them.

5. Friendly, professional, and personal interactions

One of the most critical touchpoints for a candidate is your hiring staff. Positive and professional encounters with these individuals are essential. They should be knowledgeable about your company and the position, acknowledge and welcome candidates, be responsive to their questions and concerns, and positively represent the company.

6. An understanding of your organization and its story

Candidates desire to know who you are as an organization, including your mission, vision, products/services, and your reputation in the community. In marketing collateral, job postings, interactions with applicants, and your online presence, your organization can share its unique story with applicants - what it does, where it's going, and its history.

Although its important to primarily emphasize the positives of your workplace, you don't have to paint a perfect picture of your organization as candidates generally appreciate frankness and honesty. Should they be hired, they'll eventually uncover these realities, so it’s better to be transparent upfront.

7. A glimpse of your culture and work environment

Candidates want a sense of your organization's culture and work environment to gauge whether your workplace is in line with their own personal values, whether they fit, and what day-to-day life is like in your organization. There are a number of ways that you can communicate your culture to applicants:

  • Use language that represents your values and culture in your job postings
  • Include a description of your work environment on your career page and in job postings
  • Discuss the work environment candidly during the hiring process
  • Provide an office tour
  • Post videos, pictures, and other visual displays of your work environment
  • Reflect the culture in your communication and interactions with applicants

8. A realistic preview of the job

Candidates want a clear picture of the work that will be required of them on the job. Job postings that include sufficient detail and specifics about job duties, responsibilities, and requirements are critical to helping candidates understand the job and what will be expected of them.

Beyond postings, in the hiring process, it is helpful for employers to discuss the day-to-day experiences of a job, including the honest, but less appealing realities. Other ways to provide a realistic preview including job shadowing, simulated on-the-job experiences, and interviews/meetings with multiple staff members (supervisors, team-members, etc.).

9. Feedback and closure

Lastly, candidates desire closure at the end of the process, and sometimes feedback on why they didn’t make the cut. You owe candidates the courtesy of letting them know if they were not selected to move on in the hiring process and providing appropriate closure to the relationship.

Employers that focus on properly caring for candidates and giving job applicants what they want by creating a great experience for candidates online, in-person, and through their communications, can increase the likelihood of hiring great people.

Additional Resources

Behavioral Interviewing Training

This training covers proper preparation for an interview, the four interview phases of a behavioral interview, the best techniques to select employees, and legal and illegal interview questions.

Behavioral Interviewing Training Course

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