7 Critical Issues About Today's Job Seekers That Every Talent Manager Needs to Know


Would you be surprised to learn that 76 percent of full-time, employed workers are either actively looking for a job or open to new opportunities?

Although I follow the employment space pretty closely and know that more and more workers looking for new opportunities, even I would have been hard pressed to tell you that three-quarters of American workers are open to making a move.

That's one of the many bits of information that jumped out of CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior study, and as surprising as it was, I found it even more of a shock that nearly half (48 percent) of employers say that they can't find the workers they need to fill their job vacancies. Clearly, there is some sort of disconnect between employers and employees here.

Companies need to woo workers and candidates alike

But, the Executive Summary of the 2016 Candidate Behavior study study makes it clear why this is. It points out that:

The recession-era mindset that employees should consider themselves lucky simply to have a job is still prevalent. Hint: It’s not working anymore. We’re living in a new economic environment than we were five years ago — even one year ago."

This is a critical insight, and it points out something that many employers can't seem to grasp: the recession is over and the recession mindset that so many companies had when it came to employees and hiring needs to be over, too. Workers have more ability to move and take their skills elsewhere than they have had in a long time, and organizations need to do more to woo their workers -- both those already in their employ, and those they would like to employ -- to keep them engaged and satisfied.

Here are a few of the stats that the CareerBuilder study tossed out, and they should be on the minds of all hiring managers:

  • On average, companies say it takes anywhere from 26-34 days to fill an open position.
  • One third of employers believe it took too long to fill their last open position.
  • One half (52 percent) of employers say they wait for candidates to apply.
  • Job seekers’ say their biggest frustration is that employers don’t respond to them (45 percent).
  • Employers say their biggest frustration (39 percent) is when unqualified candidates apply for positions.

What employers need to remember about candidates

You may have been aware of some of those stats, but one of the keys to the survey are the seven (7) "must know" facts that every employer should keep in mind about the candidate job search experience:

  1. Today's job candidates are less likely to jump through hoops. From the survey: "The market has become more employee-centric and candidates are quicker to drop off if the application seems too cumbersome. One in five candidates said they are not willing to complete an application that takes them 20 minutes or more, and 76 percent want to know how long it will take them to finish an application before it starts. However, the majority of job seekers said they would be willing to endure a lengthy application process if the company is offering a higher base salary."
  2. Candidates move on quickly. From the survey: "An inefficient, slow-moving hiring process will kill your recruiting efforts. Two thirds (66 percent) of job seekers said they will wait less than two weeks to hear back from the employer before considering the opportunity a lost cause and moving on to another."
  3. If you’re hard to find online, candidates will be too. From the survey: "Most candidates (64 percent) said after reading a job posting, they will spend time researching before applying. If they can’t find the info they need on the company, 37 percent of all candidates will just move on to the next company or job listing. Your company career site and social presence must be strong."
  4. Candidates expect a lot more information in the job listing. From the survey: "It’s not enough to describe the company and job. The top things candidates said they want to see in a job posting include:
    • Salary – 74 percent
    • Total benefits package – 61 percent
    • Employee ratings – 46 percent
    • Contact info of hiring manager – 40 percent
    • Work from home options – 39 percent
    • How the company provides work/life balance – 35 percent.
    • Photos/videos of the work environment – 31 percent
    • Team structure and hierarchy of the role – 27 percent
    • How many people applied – 25 percent"
  5. Millennials may swipe left if your mobile capabilities are weak. From the survey: 'Ten percent (1 in 10) of Millennials said they would drop a company out of consideration if they couldn’t apply to a job via their mobile device. So if your site isn't mobile ready, your pages take too long to load or you have poor navigation through mobile, you could be losing fresh new talent."
  6. You may not be covering all your bases. From the survey: "Consumers audiences are very fragmented. Job seekers use up to 16 sources in their job search. Are you everywhere they are?"
  7. You may not know how good or bad your process is in the eyes of candidates. From the survey: "Only 31 percent of employers claim to have tried applying to one of their company’s open jobs to see what the process is like. Put on that job seeker hat and go to one of your jobs, and go to your career site, and interact with your company through the eyes of the job seeker so you can make improvements where needed."

“Job seekers may have more of an edge in today’s market as employers grow increasingly competitive for labor – but need to follow new rules of engagement,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources for CareerBuilder. “For employers, it’s important to remember that the candidate experience starts from the very first click and can impact how effectively a company is able to recruit quality candidates, the popularity of its employer brand, the strength and quality of its referrals, and even its bottom line.”

Recruiters and talent managers need to step up their game

My take: None of the insights in CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior study are all that surprising, but they do speak to the very real fact that the market for talent IS getting a lot more competitive. Smart and savvy organizations get this, but sadly, many still have a recession-era mindset that makes it difficult for them to compete now that workers have a lot more options.

Don't get me wrong; we're not back to the dotcom era job market where it was incredibly easy for everyone and anyone who wanted a new job to find one. Employers are demanding a lot more from candidates no matter how good their skills are, and that's just the new normal in our workplace today and it isn't going away anytime soon.

But research studies like this should be another indicator that employers, recruiters, and talent managers need to step up their game if they want to compete for the best talent put there. The question is, why aren't more organizations really, truly ready to do that? The talent gap is widening as the job market improves, and it is critical to make sure your organization doesn't get caught in the middle.

CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior study was done in partnership with Inavero. CareerBuilder surveyed 4,505 workers, ages 18 and over and 1,505 hiring decision makers, between Feb. 5, 2016 and March 1, 2016 in the United States, and with 505 workers in Canada, in an effort to understand the factors that influence candidates’ job search behavior.