What Job Seekers Want from Employers in 2016

In 2015 I spoke with over 5,000 job seekers at career events at colleges, career expos and in my own offices.  One thing for sure, they have a lot of ideas on how their job search experience can be improved.  I asked many of them to tell me what frustrates them the most when looking for a job and these are the top four things that kept coming up.

1. They never hear back from the employer when applying to a job. 

This is not breaking news.  Many of the applications you receive are not even qualified for the job (which is exactly what I speak to job seekers about) so many employers don’t feel the need to respond.  I think if employers would simply send them a quick email (not auto responder) that just thanks them for applying but they don’t have the qualifications would go a long way.  Who knows, they may be a customer, shareholder or be able to refer someone to you who is qualified.  With no response at all, the job seeker potentially could look at your brand a different way. 

WISH LIST:  Let everyone who applies to a job with your company their status even if it is a rejection.

2. Applicant Tracking Systems that are easy to use. 

This is a big one.  According to Zip Recruiter, only 1 in 10 external applies turn into applications on an employer website (see chart).


Mobile is even worse.  When I talk to jobseekers about applicant tracking systems, there is always a huge disconnect with them wondering if they filled it out right, provided enough documentation and did it all in the right format.  Many job seekers said they would be “timed out” of a system because it they took too long trying to get in all the required information. Even worse, some ATS systems would not allow someone to move to the next page without filling in non-relevant information that the job seekers doesn’t understand or doesn’t have.

WISH LIST: Simplify your ATS system.(easier said then done!)

3. Add your hiring process to all job postings. 

I tell job seekers all the time that the people that hire you also have gone through job search at some point in their career.  The difference is they may understand how the job search process “works” since it is their profession.  Since job seekers fill jobs and really don’t understand the job search process, many would just love to know a company’s hiring process.  Things like how many interviews, target date for hire, target salary and benefits package link.  The more information you can provide the job seeker about how you hire will also help them understand a timeline with your company. 

WISH LIST: Instead of the words “NO PHONE CALLS”, add in hiring process expectations.

4. Mobile Friendly Application. 

I tell job seekers all the time, never fill out an application on your mobile device if you are required to use an ATS.  It just doesn’t work as evidenced by the fact that only 2.28% of external applies make it through via mobile application (and that is the high!).  The newer ATS’s do have a fast mobile version that allows the job seeker to submit a resume with very little information and then sends them a link to finish the profile once near a desktop.  However, I am very clear with job seekers that if they are serious with their job search, unless smart phones get a lot bigger, use a desktop at all costs. 

WISH LIST:  Have a quick mobile application that requires a job seeker to come back to complete when they are near a desktop.  You just don’t want to miss out on a property underwriter that gets an alert to a job at lunch, but since they can’t apply, you miss out on them because they may never return.

Lastly, job seekers get very few phone calls anymore. While emails can work as well with application status and such, a phone call to a job seeker that really does meet the qualifications will help you begin your recruiting relationship in an extremely positive manner.

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