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  • Writer's pictureLindi Engelbrecht

8 Things Candidates Want from Employers in 2021

People Centric Talent Strategy
It’s the little things, done consistently, that help earn employers a reputation for being people-centric

Meeting candidate expectations across the hiring process can go a long way in helping your company stand out. It’s the little things, done consistently, that help earn employers a reputation for being people-centric: Painless application experiences, timely follow ups with every candidate, a seamless interview process that employs smart questions, and so much more.

That’s not to say achieving these things is easy, because they’re often not. But once your organization embraces the idea that efficient, seamless, and speedy hiring is a must in today’s competitive market, you can turn your attention to the next thing potentially standing in the way of successful hiring — changing workplace expectations and trends you’re not acting on.

Here are 8 things you should know that candidates want from employers.

#1: A CEO that prioritizes talent

A recent survey found that 96% of employees say it is somewhat important or very important to feel appreciated at work, yet only 37% indicated they were satisfied with the level of gratitude expressed to them at work.

This is just one facet of an overarching demand for CEOs to shift away from thinking of their employees as a resource to a strategic investment. No wonder, then, that The Predictive Index’s 2020 CEO Benchmarking Report found that talent strategy is a CEO’s #2 priority to focus on.

#2: The ability to meet candidates where they are

Technology is now so seamlessly integrated into our daily lives, it’s almost a shock when a company isn’t social, mobile-optimized, or using omni-channel recruiting. Candidates, especially Gen Z, have little time for employees who aren’t able to reach them where they are.

That’s because candidate communication preferences are undergoing a transformation. Gen Zers use their smartphones more than any other device (an average of 15.4 hours per week). And 1 in 5 smartphone users now block advertising when browsing. Last, but not least, 50% of adults aged 18–24 now say that texts are not less (if not more) meaningful to them as calls.

#3: A world-class candidate experience

Imagine the disappointment a candidate might feel after falling in love with your company and applying — only to be lost in a disorganized hiring process that shunts them from recruiter to hiring manager with little to zero communication in between. They’ll be the ones to ghost you!

Today’s candidates don’t have time for disjointed experiences. The best candidates are off the market in 10 days, so providing a world-class experience is a must.

#4: Internal mobility

Over half (57%) of workers today believe it’s easier to find a new job with a different employer than with their current organization. That’s bad news for business — Candidates are hungry for internal opportunities.

LinkedIn research shows 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. And offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position.

#5: Diversity and inclusion

The last decade saw a significant increase in employer commitment to diversity. But as companies started prioritizing diversity without focusing in tandem on making everyone feel included and safe in the workplace, candidates started to feel like D&I was an empty promise.

That’s why the next decade is all about achieving diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Two-thirds of job seekers say that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. It’s even more important for millennials, 83% of whom say they’re engaged at work when they believe the organization fosters an inclusive culture.

#6: Business decisions that tie back to the company’s mission

Why a company is hiring a new role, scaling to a new location, or acquiring a new company matters a lot to the people already working there. After all, they bought into the mission when they applied, and they want to feel like they understand where the company is going.

Transparency is a barometer of a company’s success for good reason. Research shows that organizations high in trust are 2.5 times more likely to function as a high-performance organization with revenue growth than lower performance organizations. So it’s no surprise that one of the things candidates want more of in the coming years is transparency from the top.

#7. Seamless onboarding from candidate to employee

Today’s candidates want companies to develop their skills and careers. Yet not enough employers invest after a hire is made, leading to loss in productivity and increased attrition. The solution? Companies need to facilitate the fastest time to effectiveness in all employees.

One way companies can help new hires hit the ground running is by prioritizing the onboarding experience. Research shows new employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years. And a strong onboarding program can help boost new hire productivity by 70%.

#8:  Remote work

Last, but not least, workers are asking for more flexibility in where and how they do their job. In fact, 80% of workers say they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working. Good news is, remote work is a boon for retention rates (improving them by 10%) and engagement.

Remote work is on the rise around the world, with 16% of global companies now fully remote and 52% of employees working from home at least one day a week. With more companies focusing on the environmental impact of their operations, it makes sense that remote work and flexibility will become the new normal for working life over the next ten years.

Get your company ready for what’s next

It’s a changing world for employers and workers alike. With candidates having more of a say than ever in where and how they work, it’s important that companies are ready to pivot as emerging talent acquisition trends become the new norm.

One of the best things you can do for your talent strategy today is see how your internal metrics benchmark against industry standards.


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