Last week we talked about what employers are looking for as they search for new employees. This week we’re going to look at what job applicants want from employers during their job searches.
So, what do job applicants want from potential employers?
First and foremost, job applicants want consideration. And communication is a big part of that. Applicants want to be kept in the loop during all aspects of the hiring process, from application to interview, to hired or not hired. They expect to know where they stand within a reasonable amount of time, throughout the various steps in the process.
In fact, according to a survey from CareerBuilder, companies are likely to feel the repercussions of job applicants who believe they were treated poorly during the hiring process. The survey states: “Thirty-two percent of workers said they would be less inclined to purchase products or services from a company that didn’t respond to their application. Forty-two percent would never seek employment at the company again, and twenty-two percent would tell others not to work there.” And, in case employers don’t feel inclined to respond to applicants they are not interested in, they should be aware that eighty percent of job applicants expect a response from the employer—even when they are not interested in pursuing the candidate. These are important points to consider since when it comes to a company’s brand and reputation.
In addition to frequent updates and a reasonable time frame for the start-to-finish hiring process, job applicants also look for the following as a measure of a positive hiring experience:
- A short, straightforward way to apply for jobs and learn about the company and the position. If it takes too long, or requires too many steps, applicants get bored and frustrated and move on.
- A strong corporate website with engaging, interactive information, along with a robust, up-to-date social media presence.
- An easy, online communication system that gives the applicants a way to track progress, learn more and stay in contact with the company. Again, communication is key.
- Professional yet friendly interactions with company staff members. Applicants want to feel welcome and like company employees are knowledgeable and responsive to any questions.
- An accurate depiction of the job they are applying for. Good details, job requirements and a clear explanation of how success is measured. Some examples of day-to-day activities and input from others who are currently or were previously in the same position are very helpful.
- An honest portrayal of the company’s culture, values and vision. Job applicants want to know how well they will fit in with the organization and that what’s important to them is in line with the company’s principles. A clear description of the work environment up front can prevent unrealistic expectations and possible disappointment later if the applicant is not a good match for the company culture.
- Feedback on why they didn’t get the job when a job offer is not being put forth. This shows a true sense of professionalism on the part of the company and is greatly appreciated by candidates. At the very least, candidates should be told they are no longer in the running so they can move forward with their job search.
Employers who put the time in up front to consistently and accurately communicate with job applicants will be much more successful at providing a positive candidate experience and eliminating the frustrations that turn away many job seekers. In fact, a good rule of thumb is for companies to treat job applicants with the same consideration and respect as they would their customers.
Ultimately, employers and applicants both want to be treated with honesty, respect and consideration. It can be easy to lose focus on the other party’s concerns when people feel overwhelmed by their own need to quickly fill a job opening or to procure a job offer. But being open to the bigger picture and considering the situation from the other person’s perspective will help the recruitment process—and the after-effects—go more smoothly for everyone.
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