Sense – How to close the gap between candidate experience and candidate expectations

By Pankaj Jindal, Co-Founder at Sense

Our commissioned study, “An Inside Look: What Today’s Candidates Really Want” polled over 1,000 U.S.-based candidates who have applied for a job within the past six months.

What we found was extremely compelling – it’s understandable why so many organizations, particularly in tech/engineering, are struggling to land top talent. Some of the main points employers are driving home in their recruiting efforts and recruitment marketing are missing the mark.

Here’s our top 4 takeaways from this and where we think there’s low-hanging fruit for staffing firms to put into practice easily:

  1. 57% of candidates cite better salary/benefits as the top non-negotiable when considering a new job
  2. Flashy perks make headlines, but talent still wants to know about salary and benefits first and foremost. The game has changed a bit now that several states require salary ranges on job postings.

    Evasiveness about salary is common in IT staffing, primarily because clients are hesitant to disclose salary up front. This is inefficient on multiple levels, and seeds distrust between tech talent and recruiters.

    If your clients have asked you not to disclose salary, at least be up front with talent about it. “The client is flexible but doesn’t have a range yet” is a fair way to keep clients happy and be honest with talent. You’ll earn some trust with them, which can hopefully buy you enough time to move them through the process.

    Wondering what ranked behind salary/benefits? Career advancement/upskilling ranked second. Sense CEO Anil Dharni actually spoke to this topic and its importance recently in this piece for HR.com.

    Remote work? It still matters, let’s be honest. But it came in 3rd – at nearly half of the top-ranked salary/benefits.

  3. 80% of respondents believe faster response times from recruiters are the top way for companies to improve the candidate experience
  4. Four out of five candidates said that recruiters can improve their experiences with employers simply by responding more quickly. And slow response time from recruiters is the top reason survey respondents gave for dropping out of the application process. In fact, fewer than 1 out of 5 candidates report hearing back from recruiters within 24 hours of applying to a job.

    At first glance, overworked recruiting teams may look at this and think it’s unrealistic; however, today’s talent engagement platforms empower recruiting teams to provide critical information quickly and efficiently, all while freeing recruiters to have more 1:1 conversations.

    AI chatbots are especially powerful. It’s impossible for your recruiters to be available 24/7/365, but our customers are delivering experiences around the clock, answering questions, suggesting jobs, pre-screening candidates, and even scheduling interviews directly on recruiter calendars.

  5. 27% of candidates said the job search/application process has become more complicated
  6. IT staffing firms need to communicate with talent up front to set expectations about the hiring process.. For most tech roles, there will likely be some sort of skills assessment – that’s to be expected. But multiple? Or adding one on “just to be sure?” That’s only going to alienate talent, who is likely being approached by multiple employers and will simply move on.

    I know it’s a fine line to walk, but pushing back when clients try to add unnecessary steps to the hiring process can help you be a better provider in the long run. Your client will get better talent, and the talent will be happier. And yet again, at least being upfront about the possibility of a long process can help you earn trust with talent and hopefully keep them interested.

  7. 24% of respondents said that difficult job search ability has caused them to quit applying for a job

Talent today expects you to not only help them find a job, but the right job. It’s an important distinction. And between bloated websites and difficult-to-navigate job boards, finding the right jobs has become more challenging than ever.

So challenging, nearly 1 in 4 candidates has given up on applying.

Some of this comes down to poorly-written job descriptions. This is an easy fix. Recruiters who are unsure how to improve them or simply don’t have the time should reach out to their marketing departments. Seriously. Marketers help craft job postings that sell candidates on your staffing firm and your job.

But most importantly, technology can help dramatically with this today.

AI has gotten more powerful than ever and can quickly scan your postings for relevant jobs based on candidate data. Combined with a chatbot, candidates can have “conversations” with your staffing firm 24/7, getting help finding relevant jobs at your firm, applying to those jobs, getting prescreened, and even scheduling calls with your recruiters.

Technology plays a critical role in closing the gap between candidate experience and demands

Regardless of the economic situation, exceptional tech and engineering talent will always be in demand, and they will continue to expect positive candidate experiences from your staffing firm. By following the data, refining your internal processes, and leveraging cutting-edge talent engagement technology, you will be on a much better path to short- and long-term success.