What jobseekers really want

by 18 Mar 2008

WHILE MANY employers are putting a lack of good job candidates down to factors such as record low unemployment, the current skills shortage, an ageing population or the drain of talent overseas, recent research has suggested that the problem lies with employers because they are either not listening to or do not understand what jobseekers really want.

The information being presented by employers to entice job candidates is not as attractive as it could be and, in some cases, simply turns jobseekers off, according to Gary Lazzarotto, managing director of Hudson Australia/New Zealand, which conducted the research.

“Employees are finding themselves in a position where they have more negotiating power than ever before. As a result employees are demanding more from their employer. If the employer doesn’t deliver employees are happy to walk or, at the very least, begin looking for a new role.”

The research, which took in more than 2,100 professionals from a range of industries across Australia and New Zealand, found that 56 per cent of all employees surveyed are either actively or passively looking for work.

The research revealed overselling the role or leaving out vital information as the main sources of candidate frustration with job ads. It found that 45 per cent of jobseekers say job ads “are not specific enough”, 25 per cent of jobseekers say they “can’t believe what is written in job ads” while 38 per cent of jobseekers believe jobs that are advertised do not always exist.

A lack of detail in areas such as salary range, company name, promotion opportunities and provision of training, was highlighted as a key issue with job ads.

“Employers can rectify many of the issues by reviewing the content of their job ads and including as much of the desired information as possible,”said Lazzarotto.

“The challenge for employers is achieving a balance between honesty in job ads and making a role attractive enough to engage the best talent.”

While the link between low job satisfaction and the inclination to seek a new job is obvious, the research also found the factors that drive job satisfaction are very different to the factors that trigger someone to look for a new job.

Drivers of job satisfaction included: relationship with manager; company culture; promotion/advancement opportunities; collaboration and work-life balance.

On the other hand, triggers for seeking new employment included: financial considerations; career development considerations; work-life balance considerations; changes in personal circumstances; workplace relationships; and company considerations.

“In the current employment market, the key trigger of job seeking behaviour is financial considerations, coming down to ‘what more can I get elsewhere?’” Lazzarotto said.

“By identifying the differences between the drivers of job satisfaction and the triggers for seeking new employment the research provides important insights for employers. Smart employers will recognise these different points of motivation and tailor their approach accordingly.”

As such, the number one thing HR professionals need to do is listen, according to Lazzarotto. “There is a real challenge to HR professionals to take heed and educate both executives and line managers about how to address these areas of disconnect.”

The research set out eight areas where HR professionals can focus their efforts with executives and line managers to better align their recruitment process with the expectations of candidates: be transparent; be consistent; provide positive affirmations; use a range of channels; know and communicate your employment value proposition; be flexible; highlight career progression opportunities; and focus on the environment.

The research also showed jobseekers use on average more than five different job search channels over the entire job search process.

Job search channels vary significantly between the passive and active stages, and while the internet rated as the most widely-used channel, newspapers are still regarded as a fundamental tool: 88 per cent use online job search websites; 83 per cent use newspapers at some stage of the job search process; 63 per cent use recruitment agencies at some stage during the job search process; and 55 per cent go straight to the websites of companies they are interested in.

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