Job Candidates Still Seeking Personalized Recruiting Experiences

By SHRM Online staff Oct 20, 2014
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Understanding job seekers’ profiles and preferences is the first step to attracting top talent, according to the 2014 Candidate Preferences Survey released Oct. 7 by ManpowerGroup Solutions Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).

More than 200 U.S. job seekers representing a cross-section of ages, incomes, career levels and industries were asked about their use of and preferences for technology, social media and online platforms when researching and interviewing for jobs.

A majority (86 percent) of respondents said they explore employers’ websites and career sites when researching positions online, but 36 percent reported that those sources lack clear and relevant information.

“The content and functionality of employers’ websites and career sites matter,” said Jim McCoy, vice president, ManpowerGroup Solutions and North America RPO practice lead, in a statement about the survey results. “Since nine in 10 candidates use them as primary sources of information about employers, making them relevant, compelling and user-friendly should be a priority of employers.”

The survey also revealed a clear correlation showing that as income and career levels rise, the regular use of multiple social media platforms also increases. Overall, 52 percent of respondents said they use search engine results and 45 percent use peer recommendations to gather information about prospective employers and positions. Thirty percent said they use social media to get more information about open positions or employers, including Facebook (approximately 70 percent), and Google-Plus or LinkedIn (each 43 percent). This speaks to the weight candidates place on professional introductions and to the importance of a strong, reputable brand, notes the report.

Interestingly, the results revealed growing use of Instagram, used by nearly 15 percent of the survey participants who research organizations and conduct job searches through social media networks. Of note, respondents who are most comfortable with video technology tend to use Instagram more often than those who aren’t. When candidates are actively applying to jobs, they frequently use LinkedIn and Instagram together. So to attract active job seekers, employers should consider asking their LinkedIn followers to also follow their Instagram profiles and vice versa as a means of increasing awareness of their brand and available job opportunities, states the report.

The survey results also indicate that the nature and frequency of employer-candidate interactions should be driven by the type of talent employers wish to attract. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they prefer traditional, in-person interviews, while 15 percent prefer telephone interviews. This preference held across all categories of respondents regardless of age or career level. So employers must understand that while technology and social media can reinforce their brand and enhance their reach, technology cannot replace the impact of human interactions.

“The impact that high-touch—or human contact—has on a candidate’s recruiting experience cannot be overstated,” said McCoy. “A one-size-fits-all approach to engaging prospective employees does not work. Organizations should evaluate their talent acquisition strategy and customize job seekers’ experiences based on their preferences. Only when employers consider the total value of candidate-centered experiences, will they be able to efficiently and effectively attract and acquire top talent to achieve their business objectives.”​

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