By Jamie Zananiri

The economy is bouncing back from the pandemic, and unemployment is nearly back to pre-pandemic historic lows. This has made competition for hiring great talent tight.  We’ve shown you how to write attractive job ads, ways to improve your online presence, and how to research your competition. Now that you’re armed with the basics, what top six things are candidates looking for in 2022, and what can you do to meet their expectations?

Pay and pay transparency

Salary is one of the primary filters candidates use when searching for new jobs. Inflation has continued to rise over the last few years, but average salaries have not kept pace. Before posting your job ad, make sure that you are offering a competitive salary for the role you are trying to fill. Once you’ve reviewed your salary range, include it with your job ad. Indeed has shown that job ads that include a salary receive 40% more candidates than those that don’t.  For Monster, candidates are 30% more likely to apply to a job that lists a salary than those that don’t.

Not only will candidates be less likely to even see your job ad if you don’t include a salary, but transparency is extremely important to job seekers. Not listing a salary and hoping candidates will apply is a waste of your time and the candidate’s time. You do not want to go through the process of interviewing a candidate only to find out that your salary offering and their expectations are incompatible. It can also result in negative word-of-mouth reviews for your agency if a candidate feels tricked if you aren’t upfront about what you are offering. 

Remote Work Flexibility

Candidates are going to continue to seek jobs that can offer them fully remote or remote flexibility. Working remotely gives employees flexibility when it comes to childcare, the ability to prioritize their work/life balance keeps their commute costs low or eliminated, and gives them more freedom when it comes to where they live. Childcare, transportation, and housing costs have all seen increases,  and working remotely gives employees greater control over how those costs impact them. It also expands your candidate pool to job seekers who are otherwise limited by their location or availability of child care. Not only is it becoming a must for many job seekers, but employees are also more productive when given the freedom to work remotely

Company Culture

This is just as important for employees that will be in the office as it is for those who will be fully remote. Candidates want to know that their employer shares their values and priorities. 49% of employees would take a pay cut to work at a company that has a better culture!  A non-existent or weak employer brand can directly impact your ability to hire. Make sure your online presence is an accurate reflection of your agency and its culture. Utilize social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) to showcase what makes your agency unique and what your staff loves about working for you. Is community outreach an important factor of your agency culture?

Do you have regular team-building events– cookouts, a recreational sports team, holiday parties? Do you have an office pet mascot or “bring your dog to work” days? Make sure you’re sharing those! If you are hiring for in-office roles, having photos of your agency can help candidates envision themselves working there.  Your online reviews- from employees and clients- can also impact how you are perceived by prospective candidates. Addressing negative reviews promptly and professionally will show candidates you are receptive to feedback and committed to improving. 

Mobile-friendly application process

 61% of applications in 2020 were initiated from mobile devices, and that number is expected to rise. If candidates have to upload a copy of their resume and re-enter the same information in your application process, they’re more likely to abandon their application. Redundant and poorly designed application sites will frustrate, not incentivize candidates to apply.  (Yes, the IdealTraits assessment is mobile-friendly!)

Diversity and Inclusion

Make sure you are removing biases when recruiting new talent to your organization. Employers that embrace diversity and inclusion have better recruitment results and improved employee retention, better overall employee satisfaction, and increased productivity. Some employers get stuck in a hiring rut when they confuse a culture fit for someone with similar life experiences to themselves. Instead of depending on hiring carbon copies of previous great hires, focus on what essential skills are actually required for the role, and what can be taught on the job. By removing your preconceived image of “a great hire” you’ll be able to find candidates who can achieve great things in the role and enhance your agency in the process.  

Candidate Engagement 

A common frustration for job seekers is little to no communication from employers. Many feel they are submitting their applications to avoid when they don’t receive even a basic acknowledgment that their application has been received. 80% of job seekers would not consider applying to other positions at an employer who drops the ball when it comes to communicating their application status, meaning you could be losing out on potential future hires, not just for a position you need to fill now. On the other hand, if you are proactive when it comes to contacting candidates, even to reject them, they’re almost 4 times more likely to apply to future job openings. 

In the past, you may have been prone to let applications accumulate before beginning to review and contact potential interviewees. With unemployment numbers low and stiff competition, staying in contact with candidates can make the difference between making a great hire or having that empty desk gather cobwebs.  You might feel uncomfortable contacting an applicant just to reject them. But candidates would rather know they’ve been rejected instead of being ghosted by you entirely. Contact candidates within a business day once they’ve applied and set realistic expectations for future communication.

In your IdealTraits account, you can utilize email templates for communicating with candidates or add ACE bot to your account for contacting candidates by text. Imagine yourself as a job seeker- would you rather know where you stand with a job application or be stuck waiting with no answers? Bottom line, don’t wait till you have a set number of candidates before you make a move to contact any of them. 

Key Takeaways

Unemployment may be low and competition with other employers high, but knowing what candidates are looking for in an employer and using all the tools in your hiring kit will help you stand out and make great hires. Be transparent and upfront with candidates with salary and work-from-home flexibility. Show off your company culture. Reduce hiring biases and increase diversity in the workplace. Engage with candidates, even if they aren’t the right fit right now. Make sure your application process is mobile-friendly and accessible. And importantly, keep following our blog so we can keep you up to date with hiring trends and tips!

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