Active Job Seekers on the Rise Worldwide

LinkedIn trends data reveals job seekers’ behaviors, preferences

By Roy Maurer Oct 6, 2015
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More professionals around the world are actively exploring job opportunities than they were last year, according to LinkedIn’s 2015 Talent Trends report.

LinkedIn surveyed over 20,000 professionals from 29 countries in February and March 2015 to better understand their attitudes and behaviors at each stage of the job search, from first contact through the critical interview phase and accepting the offer.

The percentage of respondents who identified as not actively seeking a new role decreased from 75 percent in 2014 to 70 percent. The remaining 30 percent are actively looking for new opportunities, according to the survey results.

But while passive talent is typically satisfied at work—76 percent of respondents identifying as passive cite job satisfaction—active job seekers are harder to gauge. Nearly half of the respondents identifying as active (48 percent) said they were satisfied in their job, 30 percent said they were dissatisfied and 20 percent placed themselves somewhere in the middle, showing a range for this group’s recruitability.

“Active talent is not always unhappy talent,” noted Joe Roualdes, a spokesperson for Linkedin. “Active talent feels a healthy mix of satisfied and dissatisfied in their current role.” He added that whether you’re recruiting active or passive talent, setting clear hiring priorities and encouraging your employees to share company opportunities with their personal networks will help the organization stand out.

The number of professionals passively or actively job searching varies significantly among surveyed countries, according to the report.

High percentages of passive talent were found in:

  • Russia (81 percent).
  • Japan (80 percent).
  • China (78 percent).
  • Brazil (77 percent).

The surveyed countries with percentages of active job seekers higher than the global average of 30 percent were:

  • Saudi Arabia (51 percent).
  • United Arab Emirates (48 percent).
  • India (45 percent).

Candidate Behavior

Both active and passive talent spend time cultivating future career opportunities, the survey found. The most common job-search-related activities respondents engaged in were researching new job opportunities (39 percent), updating their resume (39 percent), professional networking (38 percent) and exploring professional development activities (33 percent).

Knowing this, companies should engage in proactive recruiting, said JoAnn Corley, founder and CEO of The Human Sphere, a talent management consultancy.

Employers need to “start filling the pipeline, identifying candidates who are strong possibilities, establishing rapport, building relationships, continually connecting using other social media platforms beyond LinkedIn to stay on their radar—essentially building a pool of candidates that are interested in your company and brand,” Corley said.

According to respondents, the most popular channels for finding job opportunities were online job boards (60 percent), social professional networks (56 percent), word of mouth (50 percent), company websites (40 percent), professional groups (23 percent), search engines (23 percent) and online advertising (20 percent). Of the surveyed countries, respondents from Spain were most likely to use social professional networks to find new job opportunities (70 percent).

First Contact

A majority of respondents (73 percent), both active and passive, expressed interest in hearing about new job opportunities from corporate recruiters or staffing firm headhunters.

“When you first reach out to professionals about a new job opportunity, be sure to explain the job role responsibilities and why they are a good fit for the role,” Roualdes said. Upon first contact, respondents said they want to know about the job’s responsibilities (69 percent), estimated salary range (52 percent), company culture (45 percent), role seniority (33 percent) and company mission (33 percent).

The Interview Is Critical

The interview experience is the single most influential factor in the hiring process, making or breaking an applicant’s impression of the company.

Eighty-three percent of respondents said a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked and 87 percent said a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.

Recruiters are your chief impression officers, Corley said. “So losing significant qualified candidates is a big deal. You might have to rethink your process. In the spirit of efficiency, too many barriers are being placed in a candidate’s way. Really talented, high-performing people are busy. Many genuinely don’t have time to work through cumbersome online software to make it easier on HR.”

About three-fourths of professionals (77 percent) want to hear good news by phone and 65 percent said they’d rather receive bad news by e-mail. “Good news is always most impactful when delivered in person,” Roualdes said. “Make your candidates feel special by extending job offers over the phone.”

Corley recommends “going old school”: picking up the phone, calling candidates, having conversations and meet-and-greets, and getting to know a number of candidates in your talent pool.

Accepting the Offer

The top factor for talent around the world when considering a job offer is compensation (49 percent), according to the LinkedIn study. But that’s not true when broken down by country. The most important factor in the United Kingdom is work/life balance. Professionals from Finland, Norway and Russia chose professional development, and respondents from Sweden chose opportunities to advance. Nearly all respondents (94 percent) said they would accept a job offer faster if contacted by their prospective manager.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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