5 Differences in Candidate Behavior You Should Know About When Recruiting

Time to Read: 5.1 minutes

Updated: February 8, 2024

What candidates want from jobs and how they go about getting their next role is changing. Which means employers need to keep up to speed on how candidate behavior is shifting, and why, if they want to keep attracting great talent.

Why Is Candidate Behavior Changing?

One major factor affecting candidate behavior is the economic outlook. In times of economic uncertainty candidates are often more conservative, choosing stability in a job role over taking a calculated risk. At the same time, a higher salary is not necessarily the most important driver for candidates. A period of intense change has meant that candidates value well-rounded benefits that go beyond money.

Another major factor is generational change. By 2025, 27% of the workforce will be made up of people born after 1997. Gen Z workers are the most diverse demographic, are the first generation to be digital natives and having missed out on key milestones during the pandemic have their eyes on professional development.

5 Key Differences in Candidate Behavior

What’s clear is that candidates are more marketing and tech savvy than ever before and that what they want employers to offer has shifted. Once you understand those changes, an RPO provider like Pierpoint is the perfect partner to help you take your knowledge and apply it to your recruitment processes to make attracting and retaining candidates quick, easy and effective. Here are five key changes we’ve seen in candidate behavior in 2023:

1. Candidates Are Using Technology to Connect with Roles in New Ways

Technology, particularly the internet, has fundamentally changed how candidates search for jobs. That’s not new. What is new is the rise of social media not only as a way to advertise roles – nearly half of all jobseekers use social media at some point during their job search – but as a way to connect with candidates who aren’t actively searching for jobs.

Because social media is so much a part of people’s lives, employers can use it to engage with potential candidates and build relationships with them. Social media is also a great medium for visual content meaning employers who want to take advantage of this new candidate behavior should experiment with different forms of content and communication.

2. Candidate Expectations Are More Varied than Ever

As we’ve seen above with Gen Z, the age range of the workforce has had an impact on candidate expectations. But that isn’t isolated to Gen Z. What other employees want and expect from their jobs has shifted too. Which means that employers need to be adaptable with their benefit offerings to appeal to a wide range of talent.

For example, employees with family commitments are increasingly valuing flexibility, and are choosing work-from-home roles that give them the time and space to fit work around their lifestyle. Whereas younger employees who are keen to develop their careers are opting for in-office roles that give them contact with potential mentors. There is no one size fits all with behavior around benefits packages anymore. One way for employers to take advantage of this shift is to put together a wide range of benefits that can be mixed and matched into a personalized offering for each candidate.

3. Personal and Professional Development Matters

It’s no secret that many organizations are finding it difficult to source talent with the right skills to support their business growth. This skills shortage has also influenced candidate behavior as well. Not only are candidates with the right skills aware they’re in high demand but candidates are putting increasing value on what their employers can do to improve their skills, the paths to advancement they can provide and the opportunities available to them within a business. 30% of employees who are planning to leave their current role in the next 12 months say they are leaving because of a lack of career advancement offered by their employer.

To attract candidates’ employers, need to offer clear routes to advancement internally as well as opportunities for candidates to sharpen critical skills and develop new ones. This has a double advantage for employers. They become more attractive to skilled candidates, and they have the chance to shape the skillsets of their workforce to precisely meet their needs.

4. Authenticity Counts – Especially around Equality

For a long-time organizations felt that if they made the right statements around equality and diversity that would be enough to meet their obligations. However, candidates are increasingly looking for employers who not only say the right things but who are putting those statements into positive action. Candidates want to work for employers they can trust, and employers who demonstrate values that match their own.

According to research by Deloitte, 80% of applicants consider an inclusion an important factor in choosing to apply for a role so ensuring that you put ED&I at the center of your culture, your employer brand and your recruitment processes is critical when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

5. How Your Employer Brand Is Perceived can Be Crucial

Speaking of your employer brand, how you are perceived by candidates in the marketplace is more important than ever. Not only can candidates find out about your business online through your official branding channels, but the internet has meant that reviews and commentary from current and former employees are easier to access. 86% of candidates look at a company’s reviews and ratings before applying.

What that means is that candidates want to hear your current employee’s voices and stories and you can use that to develop your employer brand and build trust. Candidates trust a company’s employees 3x more than the business itself. You can also use that network of trust to connect with candidates – referrals through your existing employees are a tried and tested method of connecting with skilled talent.

Take our insights into candidate behavior and make them work for you. With Pierpoint’s RPO solution you can find new ways to connect with high-quality talent and discover how to craft an employer brand that appeals. Stay ahead of the curve and talk to an expert today.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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