Candidates today have higher expectations for communication, logistics and new hire onboarding during their job search process, according to a survey released today by CareerBuilder and SilkRoad.

The research found 68% of employees believe their experience as a job candidate reflects how the company treats its people. Prospects today are evaluating a future employer from the first page of the job application.

“The survey results confirm a significant shift of power from employers to candidates — largely fueled by sustained low unemployment and widening skills gaps that are making it more and more difficult for employers to find and keep the talent they need to compete,” said CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky. “Nearly one-half of employers said it’s taking them longer to fill jobs today than in any other period in the post-industrial era — which not only costs money, but has an impact on productivity and speed to market.”

The survey found power has shifted to current employee as well as the job seeker. When job seekers test the waters simultaneously, 51% report they’ve looked for other jobs even when an offer has been extended and the background check is in process — a tech-enabled offer and signature process that can happen fast is pivotal. Approximately 67% of employers report almost a quarter of new hires didn’t show up after accepting a position.

Candidates expect proactive, transparent and frequent communications from employers. Given the current hiring environment, Forty-three percent of employees say they have higher expectations for how employers will treat them as a candidate. Thirty-six percent of employees expect to speak to a recruiter at a company they are interested in before they even apply to a job, and 31% expect customized messages from employers who reach out to them with job opportunities. And 82% of employees expect employers to provide a clear timeline for the hiring process and keep them updated throughout the process when they apply for a job.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • The candidate experience speaks volumes about the employee experience.Sixty-eight percent of employees believe their experience as a candidate reflects how the company treats its people.
  • Candidates are not willing to wait.When applying to a job, more than half of employees (55%) will give up and move on if they haven’t heard from an employer within two weeks of applying.
  • Candidates expect a fast and easy application experience.Job seekers today are not willing to fill out multiple application pages, especially on a mobile device. One in five candidates give less than 10 minutes to a job application, or two to three pages on a mobile device, otherwise they drop off.
  • Candidates keep looking for other jobs even when they accept an offer.Half of employees, 51%, continue looking for other jobs when an offer has been extended and they’re going through the background check process. Employers say, on average, one in seven candidates walk away after they accepted the offer.
  • Successful onboarding for a new hire is critical for their long-term vision of culture and career potential at the new company.Almost all employers, 93%, agree a good onboarding experience is critical to influence a new hire’s decision in staying with the organization, yet 29% of employees don’t think their organization did the right things in onboarding to help them prepare and begin their new role.


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