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2013 Candidate Behavior Study Shows Employers What Job Seekers Want

job candidate behaviorWhat do job candidates really look for in a potential employer? What attracts them to certain jobs and companies over others? Who is Banksy? A new study from CareerBuilder answers at least two of these above questions (I’ll let you guess which two) along with other key insights into the minds of today’s candidates.

The 2013 Candidate Behavior Study, a survey of 5,518 job seekers and 2,775 hiring managers nationwide, highlights the disconnect between what candidates expect during the job search process and what employers deliver. The findings also provide insight recruiters can use as they try to understand how job candidates search for jobs and the motivating factors behind their decision to apply.

Visit the 2013 Candidate Behavior Microsite:
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Candidate Behavior Study: Five Key Takeaways

1) If you’re not mobile, you’re not truly accessible.

Nearly two in five employers (39 percent) have jobs that stay open four months or longer due to the inability to find people with appropriate skills. Mobile job search is growing at an accelerated rate, and employers who aren’t mobile-optimized are missing out on key talent they need to find quickly.

  • At least half of job seekers with mobile devices spend three hours or more looking for jobs via those devices every week (49 percent on smart phones and 59 percent on tablets). TWEET THIS STAT
  • 65 percent of workers who search for jobs via mobile devices will leave a web site if it is not mobile-optimized; 40 percent walk away with a more negative opinion of the company. TWEET THIS STAT

2) Reputation can carry more weight than money.

When job seekers were asked if they would consider a salary that is 5 percent less than their lowest acceptable salary, a significant number said they would depending on the company’s image and applicant experience.

  • 68 percent said they would accept a lower salary if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process; the challenge here is 29 percent of job seekers don’t think employers do a good job of reinforcing why their companies are a good place to work. TWEET THIS STAT
  • Job seekers also said they would accept a lower salary if the company had exceptionally positive reviews online (67 percent) or if the company had a lot of positive press recently (65 percent). TWEET THIS STAT

3) Job seekers say an employment brand is a must-have.

While not a new concept, what is alarming is only 38 percent of employers believe their company has a very clearly defined employment brand. This can adversely impact job seeker perceptions and ultimately application rates.

  • Nearly half (46 percent) of workers said a company’s employment brand plays a very big role in their decision to apply for a job within the organization; another 45 percent say it plays somewhat of a role. TWEET THIS STAT

4) Unresponsiveness can have a ripple effect.

An earlier CareerBuilder study shows that job seekers who don’t hear back after applying to an employer are more likely to stop buying products or services from the company. How much are employers at risk?

  • 62 percent of job seekers don’t feel the companies they have applied to have been responsive. TWEET THIS STAT
  • On the flip side, 56 percent of employers admitted that they don’t respond to all candidates or acknowledge receipt of their applications; 33 percent said they don’t follow up with candidates they interviewed with to let them know they didn’t get the job. TWEET THIS STAT 

5) Flexibility is the new norm.

Job seekers are placing a heavier emphasis on a company’s ability to provide a good work/life balance when they are considering a job offer.

  • 72 percent of workers said it’s important that a company offers flexible schedules when they are deciding whether to take a position. TWEET THIS STAT
  • 44 percent said it’s important that the company provide telecommuting options. TWEET THIS STAT

Want to learn more? Visit for more key findings from CareerBuilder’s 2013 Candidate Behavior Study.

*CareerBuilder study of more than 2,200 hiring managers, June 2013

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.
Stuart Young1
Stuart Young1

Interesting stats there. What doesn't seem to be mentioned is how candidates decide 'What' they want to be doing before they think of 'Who' they'd like to do it for. There's an easy 5 step process to figuring this out that only takes 5 mins - or less!


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  3. […] fact, according to a recent survey, the reputation of your company and even the way you present it in the interview may be much more […]

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  6. […] 65% of job-seekers will simply leave a site if it’s hard to use on their mobile device; 40% will even have a negative opinion of that company. This doesn’t just apply to entry-level positions, either, as 65% of […]

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