A lot has changed in the months since the pandemic started. The way we work has altered in some fundamental ways and it stands to reason that candidate attitudes would have undergone a similar shift. What do candidates want in an employer these days? What are they looking for as their move through the interview process? We all know the dangers of providing a poor candidate experience but this goes a step further. If we see candidate attitudes changing, what can we do to adjust our talent acquisition process to meet modern needs? Job seekers aren’t looking for bean bag chairs and ping pong tournaments anymore. They have much larger questions about how companies are run and what they choose to prioritize when things are uncertain. Prepare for those conversations before you walk into your next interview by considering some of the ways candidates have changed over the last year.
5 ways candidate attitudes are changing
What do candidates what to know when they go in for a job interview? By understanding what candidates are now looking for, you can better streamline your recruiting process to meet those needs.
Pandemic response matters: How did your company adjust how you work in response to the pandemic? If you don’t have an answer prepared in advance, spend a minute thinking about it before you walk into your next interview. Candidates want to know how their prospective companies adapted to the unexpected and what they chose to focus on in a remote world. Was company culture protected? Did the company offer development opportunities or wellness support through the pandemic? They might even have questions about how onboarding is handled if they’re joining a team still working remotely. Top talent will be curious about how the past year has gone so prepare for that discussion and if things didn’t run smoothly when the pandemic hit, get ahead of those issues by being open about what did or didn’t work for the organization.
A new DE&I focus: It’s not just companies that are trying to be more intentional in their diversity and inclusion efforts. In fact, 42% of workers reported they’d turn down a job opportunity if the company lacked diversity or had no plans to improve it in their hiring process. Candidates are looking for companies that can walk their talk and take DE&I seriously. Convey you’re that sort of workplace in your job descriptions by highlighting your DE&I approach, company culture, and safe working environment for everyone. You could also train recruiting teams to be aware of unconscious bias in the hiring process or teach them to conduct structured interviews to even the playing field. Qualified candidates will care about how companies handle their talent acquisition process so think about your approach and how you’d describe it to a curious candidate.
Searching for a place to grow: Many of us had to quickly learn new skills on the fly during the pandemic. After living through such a tumultuous year, candidates might want to know about how you helped your employees learn the skills they needed to survive the leap to remote work and how you’ve supported their continued growth since. Nearly 43% of employees report being self-taught in at least one of the requirements of their role. This means people are learning on the job but not in any sort of structured way. When job candidates ask about a company’s approach to L&D, have examples ready to show that your organization cares about helping employees grow. If you relied on any sort of remote team building, assessment usage, or company culture events to get through long stretches of remote work, now is the perfect time to share those memories and explain how they positively impacted the workforce, especially if retention levels went up. Candidates are looking for companies where they can land long-term and a key piece of that is providing a space where employees can improve and grow.
Searching for meaning: The pandemic was long and many people found themselves asking the question, “Is this really what I want to do?” That musing has turned into a drive for candidates to find positions that will allow them to do meaningful work. Candidates are offsetting positions that might be remote and potentially isolating with roles where they can make a real difference. If your company is able to provide meaningful work, shout that from the rooftops. Make sure it’s included in your job ads. Work it into the interview experience. Set it up as the foundation of your employer brand. You want candidates to see what sort of work and work environment you can provide so they’ll want to be a part of your team. The best candidates are looking to be part of companies that make a difference so if you can answer that need, you’ll find it much easier to attract quality job seekers.
Flexibility isn’t up for debate: Recruiters have started to report an interesting new trend. Despite this summer being billed as the great talent migration, hiring managers are having trouble finding candidates for in-person roles. Even though the position might be amazing, candidates are willing to give it a pass because of how they’d be asked to work. Understanding this new candidate behaviour can help you better position your open roles. If flexibility isn’t built into the position, you might want to go back and look at what options you can provide. Perhaps the role could become a hybrid position, half in and half out of the office. Or maybe the hours of work could be flexed to better meet the needs of the eventual new hire. Candidates are looking for jobs that provide them with some level of the flexibility they’ve grown used to in the past year and are willing to wait until they find them.
Provide a great candidate experience for everyone
We aren’t hiring the exact same way we were before the pandemic hit. The months since have taught us new skills about working and recruiting in a virtual space. It stands to reason that the time has also taught candidates new things as well and those learnings are changing how they view potential jobs and employers. Candidates aren’t going to be impressed with a flashy workplace and the usual office perks. Instead, they are looking for longer term companies they can grow and develop within. Companies that prioritize their employees and make room to be inclusive for everyone. If you have a company that fits that bill, highlight it as part of your candidate experience. Build it into your application process and discuss it during your interviews. Your talent pool has questions and the faster you can address their concerns, the better your candidate experience will be. So think about how candidate attitudes have changed and adjust your recruitment process accordingly. We’re entering a brave new world of talent acquisition and those able to provide candidates with what they want to know will be ahead of the curve.