Many job seekers today have higher expectations than ever. People aren’t necessarily satisfied with a role that matches their skillset. They're also seeking a job that suits their values, culture and lifestyle, and they're not afraid to shop around.
In fact, 35% of people say they’re looking to change jobs in the next six months, research for SEEK shows.
Career coach Jane Jackson says job seekers are increasingly in the driver’s seat for job hunting and interviews.
"Job seekers have become so savvy. Since COVID people are looking for a role that's meaningful to them and they're willing to negotiate for what they believe in."
Businesses could miss out on hiring great people if they don’t provide a straightforward recruitment process, or the culture and salary that people expect, she warns.
Here, Jackson reveals the biggest pain points she's hearing among job seekers. She also shares her tips on what employers, recruiters and businesses can do to ease these frustrations – making things better for everyone.
Frustration one: A lack of flexibility
Jackson says the number one thing job seekers are looking for is flexibility, and they're not afraid to ask for it.
"Most companies are trying to encourage people to come back into the office, at least two or three days a week, but there's a lot of pushback."
Research backs this up, with 70% of people saying flexibility is important to them.
What you can do: Be flexible where you can
If employees can do a role remotely, let them – at least some of the time, Jackson advises.
"If they allow their employees to work a couple of days from home, that will make the majority of job seekers a lot more satisfied." If remote work isn’t an option, you could consider other forms of flexibility, such as changes to start and finish times, split shifts or job sharing.
Frustration two: Being “ghosted”
Jackson says one of the biggest sources of anxiety for her clients is going through an interview process, feeling that things went well and then … nothing happens. This drop-off in communication is known as being “ghosted”.
"That really upsets candidates because they spend a lot of time and energy preparing for the interview. It also affects their self-confidence."
What you can do: Keep people in the loop
People tend not to get back to candidates when they’re hiring either because it's too time consuming, or because they simply don't know what to say, Jackson says.
But she adds that it's important – and just good business etiquette – to keep open communication with them throughout the recruitment process.
"Let the candidate know, for example, that you have 25 more people to interview and that they should hear back from you by Friday. That way they won't feel anxious on Thursday."
If they've been unsuccessful, you’re not obligated to give a very detailed explanation, Jackson adds.
"Just say ‘thank you, but at this stage we're not going to be progressing’. Often candidates just want to know whether or not they are still in consideration for the role. If not, they can move on rather than wasting mental energy wondering what’s going on."
Frustration three: Not knowing the salary range
More than three quarters of people (77%) think it’s important to know the salary of a job before applying and 69% say they’d be more likely to apply for a job that advertises a salary range.
What you can do: Show a salary range
"Being transparent with the salary range would make it so much easier for candidates, and would stop wasting the time of employers too because they won't get people applying whose expectations are far above what will be offered," Jackson says.
Frustration four: Lack of clarity around the role and company culture
Workplace culture is important for 73% of people. But unfortunately, many job ads don’t provide enough detail on the company and the role, Jackson says.
"When candidates start a role and learn about duties that weren't in the job description, they can get very upset."
What you can do: Be accurate in the job description
Jackson says job descriptions should be clear on:
- the skills and experience required
- the everyday tasks associated with the role
- what the company culture is like.
"Candidates need to know if they are fully qualified to do the job or if it's going to be an exciting challenge, which could be really appealing."
Frustration five: Having no point of contact
Many job ads don't list a contact person, but this could be a missed opportunity – for both the business and potential employees, Jackson suggests.
What you can do: Add a contact with an email or phone number
Job seekers love the opportunity to pick up the phone and speak to someone before they apply for a role to ask some questions or get a bit of background, Jackson says.
But there’s a benefit for both job seekers and employers, she explains. "[They] can both get an idea about each other in that initial conversation, and some early filtering on both sides can save time later on in the recruitment process.
"Having a person available to talk about the role can also make the company seem very approachable and appealing to candidates," she adds.
Frustration six: The recruitment process is long and arduous
The number of hoops job seekers have to jump through is a common frustration: 63% of people say they feel frustrated when there are too many interviews or steps. Almost half (49%) have actually given up on a job because the process was too long.
What you can do: Take your time
Of course, it’s important to make sure the hiring process doesn’t drag on for longer than it needs to.
The candidate also has a responsibility to make sure no time is wasted, Jackson adds. "During the interview, they should not only put their best foot forward, but also be interviewing the hiring managers as well to find out if it's the right job for them."
But ultimately, if you want the right person for the job, you've got to spend the time to get the hiring process right, especially for more senior roles, Jackson says.
"The wrong choice can be very costly."
Clearly communicating timeframes and providing updates can help you take the time you need without losing candidates in the process.
Hiring can be challenging, and there’s no doubt that you’ll have your share of frustrations with the process, too. But it’s worth exploring ways to ease these job seeker frustrations where you can, as doing so may help you find that right person for the job.
Source: Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4800 Australians annually. Published September 2023.