More Recruiters Raising Salary Offers to Close Candidates

Recruiters dish on industry trends, job seeker behavior and the labor market

By Roy Maurer Sep 27, 2016
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Recruiters are more willing to negotiate salaries with candidates, supporting the industry belief that competition for talent will increase in 2017.

Nearly all respondents (95 percent) to the 2016 Recruiter Nation Survey conducted by recruiting platform Jobvite expect recruiting to be as or more challenging next year, pushing recruiters to evolve and become more strategic and innovative.

Jobvite polled over 1,600 talent acquisition professionals and found that the labor market continues to gain strength, that a shortage of skills is still recruiters' biggest challenge and that employer branding is forecast to take the biggest slice from the recruiting budget.

"Job creation has been steadily increasing ever since the recession, forcing recruiters to double up their efforts to fill positions with quality candidates," said Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite. "But there simply aren't enough educated, talented and qualified candidates to keep up with the demand. As a result, recruiters must now go above and beyond by creating a compelling employer brand and an exceptional candidate experience to keep their companies growing."

2017 Expected to Be Another Job Seekers' Market

Hiring increased for 69 percent of employers in the past year, especially in health care, retail and finance, according to respondents. One-third (35 percent) of recruiters anticipate filling 100 or more positions in 2017, up from 26 percent last year. Recruiters expect competition for talent to be most fierce in hospitality (87 percent), manufacturing (79 percent) and health care (78 percent).

To keep up with demand, recruiters are offering both traditional and nontraditional incentives to lure candidates. Bread-and-butter benefits such as medical coverage and a 401(k) are still the most attractive for candidates, but raising salary offers (68 percent), awarding monetary bonuses to incentivize referrals (64 percent), allowing for flexible work hours (44 percent), and implementing a casual dress code (44 percent) are all gaining traction. About 6 in 10 recruiters reported that candidates have gotten more confident than last year in asking for increased salaries, especially in technology and health care.

Recruiters are less anxious about being replaced by automation since last year's survey, with only 10 percent of respondents saying automation worried them, as compared to 25 percent last year. Recruiters in transportation (19 percent) and retail (18 percent) were more inclined to predict job replacement than other industries. As a contrast, over two-thirds of job seekers (69 percent) are concerned about job obsolescence.

Employer Brand, Social Recruiting Top Trends for Next Year

Matching the right candidate with the right workplace culture is becoming mandatory. Sixty percent of recruiters rated culture fit of highest importance when making a hiring decision. And 51 percent of respondents said employer branding will be the No. 1 investment in talent acquisition in 2017. As an extension of the employer brand, respondents said, the company careers website was either the "most important" or "second most important" investment for talent acquisition.

Investing in a social media strategy was the No. 2 talent acquisition investment, cited by 50 percent of recruiters—a smart focus, since 59 percent of job seekers said they use social media to research the companies they're interested in. Most recruiters find LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process (87 percent), but they also use Facebook (43 percent) and Twitter (22 percent) to source candidates.

What Recruiters Are Looking For

Recruiters said candidates' soft skills, including enthusiasm (78 percent) and conversational ability (73 percent), are most likely to influence a hiring decision after hard qualifications have been met. Communication style is the trait most considered when deciding whether a candidate is a cultural fit, according to 83 percent of respondents.

Recruiters are checking out candidates' social profiles and admit to bias in regards to appearance, personal behavior and even political beliefs. About 40 percent of recruiters believe that seeing a picture of a candidate before meeting him or her influences their first impression. In-person looks matter too—46 percent of recruiters said that appearance influences hiring decisions during the interview.

Almost three-fourths (71 percent) of respondents view marijuana use on social media negatively and almost half (47 percent) view photos of alcohol consumption on social media negatively. Even more off-putting than references to alcohol or marijuana: typos in candidates' social media profiles, according to 72 percent of recruiters.

Notably in this election year, 10 percent of respondents said a candidate's political affiliations on social media would affect their decision to move forward. But recruiters are 64 percent more likely to be biased against a supporter of Donald Trump than a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Challenges and Successes

Recruiters cited a lack of skilled candidates (65 percent) and dealing with hiring managers moving candidates through the hiring process (48 percent) as their biggest challenges.

While the obstacles have stayed the same in recent years, the way recruiters are measured is evolving. Traditional metrics like time-to-hire and cost-per-hire are still recognized as valuable benchmarks, but 61 percent rated post-hire metrics such as performance and retention rate higher.

Nearly all (93 percent) recruiters feel valued in their roles, and in addition to finding and managing candidates through the hiring process, 72 percent of recruiters said they are also involved in onboarding candidates into the company.

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