Hiring top-level talent is a complex process. Over the past decade, the market favors high-quality candidates, who are able to pick and choose their employers based. But even companies hiring for short-term jobs now have to create an applicant and organizational experience that matches and exceeds candidate expectations.

According to a 2017 PwC survey, CEOs and business leaders now see the availability of the right skills and talents as the biggest threat to organizational success. Fortunately, unlike so many other threats, this is one that organizations have complete control over.

Research is clear about the elements that candidates look for when evaluating potential employers. With a clear understanding of these elements in place, organizational leaders and recruiters can work to build an environment that attracts and retains top-level applicants on a sustainable basis.

1. Remote Work Possibilities for Applicants

Remote work has undeniably been the number one topic among recruiters since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a much larger percentage of workers now exposed to and experienced with the concept, 77% of today’s workforce believes they are more productive working remotely than they would be in an office environment. Meanwhile, 74% believe that a remote work option would make them more likely to remain at the company for longer.

It’s important to realize, though, that this is not necessarily a new development. A 2019 survey found that 80% of workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible work opportunities. Gartner’s research found the same year that remote work options increase retention rates by 10%.

The lesson is simple: remote work is among the most important expectations of applicants when they look for employers that match their skills and qualifications. With COVID-19 accelerating this already-existing trend, the chance to work remotely will be a key differentiator for any company.

2. A Compatible, Strong Company Culture

We’ve written extensively about the importance of company culture to prospective applicants. The more you can clearly communicate it, the better you will be able to attract candidates that believe themselves to be a good cultural fit for your organization and teams.

In a variety of surveys, polling giant Gallup has found just how important corporate culture is to attracting talent:

  • A strong culture increases employee engagement by 50 points over a three-year period.
  • Companies that can clearly communicate their culture grow an average of 25% over a three-year period.
  • Companies with strong cultures see an average 85% increase in net profits over a five-year period.

Building the type of culture that will achieve these types of results, of course, goes far beyond recruitment marketing. Strong cultures promote working environments that are both productive and teamwork-oriented. This all works together to achieve organizational and societal goals that overlap.

What is important to know, though, is just how much candidates value learning about your culture. That includes a focus on diversity key consideration, especially for younger candidates. If you can find ways to showcase your culture, you can put yourself in a great position to attract top-level talent.

3. Internal Talent Appreciation and Mobility

One component of organizational culture is so important, it deserves to be highlighted separately. When considering different jobs, employers, and career paths, candidates especially look for workplaces where their work will be appreciated both immediately and in the form of internal upward mobility.

That process begins at the top. A recent survey, in fact, found that 96% of employees say it is at least somewhat important to feel appreciated for their work, with only 37% saying that this was currently the case. In that process, every level in the organizational hierarchy adds extra weight; a team lead’s praise is nice, but a CEO’s acknowledgment of the same hard work can go a long way towards showcasing appreciation.

Of course, words can only go so far. It’s not a surprise, then, that candidates look for rewards in the form of internal career mobility. According to research by LinkedIn, 93% of employees would stay at their current company longer if it actively invested in their career. Yet, 57% of employees believe that it’s easier to find a new job at a different company than it is at their current employer.

Solving these issues can be as simple as providing internal applicants with a first opportunity to apply for open positions before looking externally. Promotions are a natural second piece of the equation. In terms of the candidate experience, show mobility for open jobs by outlining potential career paths.

4. The Ability to Make a Difference

Even before COVID-19, we were in a midst of a fundamental shift of expectations for candidates. Millennials started the trend, becoming the first generation to consider the ability to make a difference in society as the main consideration factor when deciding on a career. Gen Z has supercharged that process, with personal and professional passions overlapping to a previously unheard-of degree.

Showcasing that ability, of course, can be difficult in the hiring process. It’s about framing your job just right, showing its environment, and providing plenty of examples of how the position contributes to larger organizational goals. At the same time, it’s crucial to be honest; candidates tend to be able to see through exaggerations for the sake of getting applications.

5. A Transparent Hiring Process

one of the job applicants talking to an HR rep

TInterviewer offering an applicant the job.

Transparency matters for the candidate experience and its importance in the hiring process continue to increase. Done right, it creates trust between candidates and employers, improving morale and reducing hiring-related stress. All of that combines to ensure that more high-quality candidates make their way through the decision and to the hiring state.

Transparency, of course, comes in a number of shapes and sizes. Beyond sharing your organizational culture and other elements already mentioned, modern candidates also want to know:

  • An estimate of long the hiring process will take for applicants.
  • What the interview process will look like, including how many interview rounds they can expect.
  • An expected salary range that’s competitive within the industry and position bracket.
  • Information about whether the work can be done fully or partially remotely.
  • A description of what team(s) the candidate will work with.

Incorporating this information into the job description and other early communication can make a major impact in a successful hiring cycle. It ensures that only relevant candidates who are comfortable with the parameters make it through to the interview and further, maximizing your chances of hiring success.

6. A Seamless Onboarding Experience

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of making sure the candidates you choose actually receive a proper introduction and onboarding experience. Facilitating this type of experience ensures that candidates feel validated in their decision to accept the new role while optimizing their road to productivity in the process.

In other words, candidates want your help to get going as quickly and seamlessly as possible. When they do, their productivity and retention rates increase drastically. When they can’t, or don’t receive the help they need in terms of initial training and orientations, you risk jeopardizing an otherwise successful hiring process at the very end.

To build that onboarding experience, listen to your employees. Ask them about what information they need, and how they want it delivered. Meeting them where they are helping to ensure that the information gets through to them easily and naturally.

Creating a Candidate Experience Your Applicants Want to Engage With

Match your candidates’ expectations and needs, and your chances of successful recruitment and hiring increase drastically. It’s all about a candidate experience that gives them what they want <emand need, separating your open positions from those of your competitors in the process.

Through our job previews, Concept3D is proud to play a part in shaping that candidate experience. Visual, immersive experiences allow candidates to more easily envision themselves at the company. Then, showcasing important elements like culture in the process. They can even help in the onboarding process by setting expectations and visualizing the workplace.

Ready to build your own? Contact us to learn more about the opportunities job previews can bring.