6 Things Your Candidates May Be Thinking, But Won’t Tell You

Posted by Richard Jacobson

Job InterviewThe hiring process is a two-way interaction. Knowing and understanding how to best anticipate your candidates’ not-always-transparent thoughts can help give your organization the upper hand when securing the best talent. In order to create long-standing, genuine relationships with candidates, it is extremely important to put yourself in their shoes. Take a look at your hiring process through your candidates’ eyes. This will allow you to better address their concerns before they are brought up.

In order to gain insights into these situations, I have polled a number of Jacobson’s tenured recruiting professionals for an insider’s perspective. Here are six things your candidates may be thinking but not telling you, and some strategies for responding to their concerns.

  1. Candidates are motivated by a positive interview experience. According to a recent Montage study of 200 active job candidates, 75 percent indicated that the experience they have when interviewing for a job “matters a lot” in their decision about where to work. Just as it is important for candidates, your organization should focus on making a good first impression. Consider providing a tour of the office environment and introducing top candidates to potential teammates. Make sure that the interview process is as seamless as possible. Be conscious of time and try and avoid keeping your candidates waiting. Some may be utilizing their lunch breaks to conduct interviews. This mindfulness will go a long way in shining a positive light on your company.
  1. Lateral movements are not compelling reasons to change positions. Today’s competitive labor reality has created a candidates’ market. Many industry professionals are relatively happy with their current roles and, as a result, are passive in their career search. Lateral movements will no longer be attractive enough for these individuals to consider a possible career move. Organizations looking for talent should make sure to provide offers that include enhanced benefits. This goes beyond compensation and to additional job responsibilities and even the potential for increased career visibility. Understanding what will motivate top talent to make a move will be key in competing in today’s market.
  1. What are candidates really thinking?Passive job candidates may still be interested in career opportunities. According to Rosemary Young, Assistant Vice President with our professional recruiting arm, passive candidates are not always completely happy with their current roles. While some engaged employees are less likely to enlist a recruiter, others are open and interested in learning about new, compelling opportunities. It is important to understand that many candidates don’t want recruiters to feel that they have negative feelings about their current employers. However, they may still be looking for opportunities to advance their careers. The key is to focus on how the opportunity that provides the candidate with a positive move forward.
  1. Skype interviews can be a challenge. In today’s increasingly tech savvy and connected business era, interviews are going high-tech. More and more, organizations are utilizing technology, such as Skype, to conduct introductory level interviews. However, in a recent study of 200 active job seekers, only 24 percent of candidates felt that using Skype was a simple, convenient way to conduct an interview. Despite the prevalence of technology, not all candidates may have the equipment or environment necessary to conduct interviews via Skype. In addition, some candidates are just more comfortable with face-to-face interactions. Recruiters should keep this in mind when scheduling interviews. If a Skype interview cannot be avoided, make sure you are providing your candidates with the instructions and tips necessary to use the application with ease.
  1. Consideration goes a long way in the application process. Just as organizations don’t want to invest time in candidates who are applying for the sole purpose of gathering competitive market insights or to leverage a counteroffer, job seekers are hesitant to spend time interviewing for a company that is not fully considering them for a role. Organizations should avoid conducting conversations for the sole purpose of comparing external candidates to internal ones or to fulfill an interview quota. Candidates don’t want to be taken for granted and used as a comparison to the candidate of choice. In fact, this practice can be damaging for organizations—particularly in today’s socially connected world were reputations can be made or broken with a single post. The key is to be honest and promote open interactions.
  1. Extended hiring processes can be a big turn-off. According to Diana Shay, an Assistant Vice President also within our insurance recruitment practice, securing the best talent for the job can be a time-consuming process. Meeting all company and candidate needs involves a lot of back and forth communication, which can be drawn out over a long period due to busy schedules. However, in today’s increasingly competitive labor market, protracted hiring decisions can be fatal. When the process drags on, candidates are often left asking what’s taking so long and wondering if the company is actually interested in them as a potential employee. As a result, organizations can potentially lose out on great talent. You can put candidates’ thoughts at ease by keeping them in the loop and providing timely feedback. Giving updates before prompted will establish a solid repertoire and leave the relationship on good terms even if the candidate was not the right fit.

Job CandidatesNow more than ever, skilled individuals hold much of the power during the hiring process. It is important to adjust with this shift in balance and proceed wisely when seeking candidates. While it is not necessary to be a mind reader in order to secure talent, it is helpful to anticipate what they may be thinking and know how to address their concerns before beginning your search.