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Forget What You Think You Know About Job Candidate Behavior

What ever happened to Jimmy Hoffa? Are the Cubs really cursed? How did the Kardashian family become a thing? Some things in life we may never be able to explain, but now – thanks to a new comprehensive study – what influences candidates’ job search behavior doesn’t have to be one of them…

If you’ve paid attention to recent posts, you know that 74 percent of workers are either actively searching for a new job or open to a new opportunities. And maybe you’re aware that 35 percent of candidates begin looking for a job within mere weeks of starting a new one. Perhaps you also know that Millennials are much more willing to relocate for a job than workers of other generations.

All of these findings stem from the 2012 Candidate Behavior study, which you can learn more about at

There, you’ll find even more findings from this comprehensive study of 1,078 workers (employed full-time, not self-employed) throughout the United States and Canada, along with a reportpodcastsinfographic and video that go into further detail on the implications of this study for employers. The site also provides recommendations for using these findings to inform your employment branding and recruitment efforts moving forward.

And yet there’s still so much more to discuss…

Having instant access to so many digital resources has turned today’s workers into perpetual job seekers.  Sixty-nine percent of full-time workers reported that searching for new job opportunities is part of their regular routine.  Thirty percent said job searching is a weekly activity.

“Digital behavior has blurred the distinction between an active and a passive job candidate,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America.  “The majority of workers are regularly exposed to new job opportunities and are willing to consider them.  They may not leave their jobs right away, but they’re keeping aware of possibilities and planning for their next career move.”

In addition to heightened awareness about job openings, the ongoing pursuit of other positions is also driven by the perception of the overall work experience.  Fifty-three percent of workers said they feel like they just have a job, not a career.*

Millennials Vs. Baby Boomers

How job search differs by generation

Comparing age groups, Millennials are much more likely to seek greener pastures than seasoned workers.  Seventy-nine percent of Millennials actively search for or are open to new jobs compared to 67 percent of Baby Boomers.  Baby Boomers tend to stay in a position for eleven years on average while Millennials typically stay for three years.

How Workers Shop for Jobs

Workers often utilize more resources in job hunting than in some other activities that impact their households.  On average, workers reported they use approximately 15 sources when searching for a jobThis compares to an average of 12 sources for researching insurance providers, 11 sources for researching banks and 10 sources for researching vacations.

“Workers approach their job search much like a consumer purchase, using multiple avenues to evaluate potential employers months before they take action and apply to positions,” Rasmussen added.  “It’s important for companies to engage candidates at every touch point.”

The majority of workers primarily come across new jobs in three ways:

  • Online search – 74 percent
  • Traditional networking – 68 percent
  • Job boards – 67 percent

Once they’ve discovered job openings, they’ll check out social media and company websites and conduct general searches to dig deeper into the company’s culture, market standing and new developments.

  • 84 percent will read the company’s website
  • 54 percent will research companies on social and professional networks
  • 53 percent will read news about the company online

Visit the 2012 Candidate Behavior Study site today, and let us know your thoughts. What about this study surprised you the most? How will you use this information to inform your recruiting efforts moving forward?

*CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive© survey of 3,976 full-time U.S. workers completed in September 2012
Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.


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