Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed What candidates want vs. what recruiters think they want | FMC Talent

What candidates want vs. what recruiters think they want

By Beth Wingad

Is there a gap between what recruiting pros think candidates care about, versus what they actually care about?

Keeping a close eye on what candidates want is key. But according to LinkedIn’s recent Future of Recruiting survey, there’s a gap between what recruiters think candidates want, versus what they actually want.

We’re experiencing a super competitive market at the moment, and candidates are expected to keep the power over the next five years. There’s little wonder employers are now making sure their employer brand is top notch, not to mention aligned to what candidates actually want.

But is it actually aligned?

Things like pay, working arrangements and benefits are always going to appeal to candidates. Always have, always will. This has long influenced the way brands go to market and what they put at the centre of their employer branding. But as the working world continues to change and new generations enter the work force, what candidates want is changing too.

LinkedIn surveyed 20,000 members about what’s most important to them, and then asked 2,000 recruiting professionals to guess what the top priorities for candidates were. The results? Well, there’s a bit of a misalignment.

According to the survey recruiters tend to think candidates care more about flexible working and progression opportunities than they actually do and, conversely, candidates care more about happiness and skills development than recruiters think they do.

Tunnel vision

It seems like recruiters can get a bit of tunnel vision, honing in on particular priorities to the detriment of others.

Tunnel vision can be particularly sticky when it comes to new generations entering the workforce. There’s so much (and we mean so much!) out there about Gen Z and how their priorities are different from the generations before them.

Focusing on what you’ve always focused on is a mistake when it comes to attracting this new wave of talent, and companies need to make sure they really understand what appeals to them to succeed in securing great Gen Z talent, whilst not neglecting the needs of the other generations in the workforce. It can be a tricky balance, but with thought and planning is something companies can definitely achieve.

Tunnel vision on things like salary can also come at the detriment of employee happiness (something that candidates care about more than recruiters think they do!). Sometimes it’s the less tangible things that enrich day-to-day working lives and make people happy – things like a supportive environment, a welcoming culture, and equal opportunities. Happiness isn’t all about the money, after all.

So how can businesses get on the same page?

Ask questions! Whether it’s asking your current employees what drew them to, and keeps them at, your business, or what they think you could be doing better, or getting honest feedback from interview processes, nothing will tell you what candidates want more than the candidates themselves.

Reading the latest insight from the market can also help to give an idea of what’s going on and what’s appealing to candidates in an ever-evolving recruitment landscape.

And how can you build all of this into an employer brand?

We’re not saying forget about the salary and benefits. It’s just that there’s more to a stellar employer brand than just focusing on the numbers. These things are expected! Recruitment teams (both in house and agency!) should take the time to make sure they understand what the candidates they’re wanting to hire actually want. Reputation in the market is crucial to securing brilliant people, and companies that focus solely on salary and benefits risk not only looking outdated, but also looking like they don’t understand what their people want – not great for attraction or retention!

Whether it’s happiness, great L&D offerings, the age old flexible-working, or something else entirely, companies that nail what their target candidates really want and are able to build that into their employer brand will secure the people they want over the companies that are stuck in an employer-branding rut.

How to do this?

  1. Research into what candidates want, particularly the profile of people who you want to add to your team
  2. Ask your employees what they think is great about the business
  3. Make sure your policies and systems reflect the above
  4. Then make sure your website and comms (written or verbal) reflect that!
  5. Show your personality and uniqueness

The competition for talent is sky high, so companies need to make sure they’re positioning their employer brand as best they can, showing how they’re unique, and bringing it to life in a way that’s engaging and true to who they area as a company.