Employer branding in focus: 5 things job applicants want from you

by | Oct 12, 2023 | Public Relations

Just finding prospective talent is a challenge for companies these days, but the stakes have now been raised for how businesses proceed through the process of fielding applications and conducting interviews—this “talent experience” has a more significant impact on the bottom line than hiring managers might realize, according to new research from talent cloud firm iCIMS.

The firm’s new 2023 Talent Experience Report offers insights into how a subpar talent experience can impact a company’s bottom line, revealing that more than half (56 percent) of workers are less likely to be a consumer of a brand if they had a bad experience applying or interviewing for a job. 

Employer branding in focus: 5 things job applicants want from you

Based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. job seekers, as well as proprietary data from the iCIMS platform, the new report digs into what talent expects from employers during the job search, application and hiring processes—as well as internal mobility and career pathing—and how employers have pivoted to meet those expectations to achieve business success.

“Providing a great experience for your internal and external job candidates is no longer a ‘nice to have’—today it affects the bottom line and is critical for businesses to get right,” said Laura Coccaro, chief people officer at iCIMS, in a news release. “The data in this report can help talent acquisition leaders identify their strategic focus areas and continue to build a business case for making investments there.”   

From finding a job to climbing the ladder, internal and external job seekers expect a seamless and personalized experience built with the right tools. Here’s what talent (actually) wants and how brands are meeting those expectations: 

An application process that doesn’t leave them in the dark

An overwhelming 80 percent of job seekers said that getting status updates during the application process would not only improve their experience but also their perception of an employer. Alternatively, respondents cited a lack of communication from an employer as one of the most frustrating aspects of the job application process.  

Personalized touchpoints with organizations that they are interested in

More than 40 percent of respondents described their last job search as frustrating and long, and a whopping 72 percent expect the job application process—from submitting the application to receiving an offer—to take 3 weeks or less. To minimize frustration and speed up the process, employers must provide candidates with personalized touchpoints, including relevant updates, recommendations for open jobs based on their skills and experience, recent news and employee videos.

A communication process that meets them where they are

Like most healthy relationships, communication is a key ingredient between talent and employers. When getting in touch with talent, almost half (47 percent) say that texting is their preferred form of communication, while more than half (56 percent) ranked getting a phone call at the bottom of their communication preferences. Email isn’t dead, either: 36 percent of respondents said that they would be more likely to click on an email from an employer that included job roles that matched their skills and experience. 

An opportunity to tap into generative AI

As ChatGPT and its generative AI counterparts become mainstream, workers’ perceptions of the technology are evolving: 40 percent of people are open to the use of AI in the workplace, and about 20 percent of people are more open to using it than they were six months ago. In fact, 17 percent have already used it to write a resume or cover letter in their job search. Increased candidate interest in AI, coupled with recruiters’ need to streamline and enhance their efforts, signals an opportunity to bring more AI technology to the recruitment process.

The chance to spread their career wings

When asked what woubrandingld keep respondents happy with their current employer and prevent them from looking for a new job, 34 percent said support and guidance to grow in their role at the organization, 31 percent said opportunities to advance in a new role and 21 percent said opportunities to develop new skills. Yet, an overwhelming 64 percent of respondents said their manager does not proactively ask them about their career path and help them build their skillset and advance their careers.  

“It’s not about ‘consumerizing’ the entire experience—it’s about humanizing it,” said Jess Von Bank, global leader of workforce technology at Mercer | Leapgen, in the release. “We have so much technology to help us do all of this; it’s baffling we don’t put it to good use.”

Download the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter