How candidate behaviours have changed in 2020

How candidate behaviours have changed in 2020

October 23, 2020
Industry News

The world is changing rapidly and this is having a huge impact on your candidates. They're behaving in new ways. They have different employment priorities compared to just a few months ago.

We recently surveyed 500 recruiters about how candidate behaviours have changed. Here's what they told us, and importantly, what it means for your own recruitment moving forward.

Candidates are much easier to get hold of

Candidates are responding to communication from recruiters faster. They are behaving more proactively - getting back in touch more frequently and being faster to take actions throughout the application process.

"I have received more questions from candidates before they apply. Candidates are completing video interviews and online testing more quickly and our completion rates have also increased."

As a result, many recruiters have seen that their typical time to hire has reduced, as candidates move through the hiring process significantly faster.

But on the flip side, recruiters are needing to spend significantly more time responding back to candidates, answering questions and sifting through more applications.

More candidates are applying for jobs they aren't qualified for

This is one of the responses we received most frequently from recruiters in our survey. The volume of under and overqualified candidates applying for roles has drastically increased, as candidates have become more desperate to find new roles.

Recruiters are concerned about dealing with more applications than normal

"We've had a higher volume of applications, but we're finding that the vast majority have little relevant experience for the position."
"The number of applications has been significantly higher, but sadly lots of unsuitable applicants. I have also had candidates who are far too senior try to convince me to put them forward for roles. Unfortunately there are a lot of desperate candidates."

As a result, screening candidates and filtering out unqualified applicants is suddenly a big priority for recruiters. Whilst some are looking to solve this with technology (for example, using automated screening software), most recruiters are also changing their focus. By changing recruiter activity from posting/advertising, to searching CV databases. But it can also mean being more specific with where and how you advertise.

Candidates want more information up front about the interview and onboarding process

When applying, many candidates will be expecting to see more detailed information about how the interview process actually will work. Will interviews be virtual or in-person?

"Some candidates are clearly quite cautious about interview formats and, if offered, how their starting and onboarding will look. We've made a conscious effort to add a bit more context and detail to any candidate communication which has been well received."

If you're inviting them to attend a face to face interview, candidates will be to know what safety arrangements you've made to prevent coronavirus transmission.

And even if you've switched to video interviews, don't forget that many candidates are still getting used to this new format of interviewing and know less about what to expect. Interviews are pretty stressful at the best of times, so it’s understandable that candidates may be more nervous about how to perform well in these new processes.

You should provide additional information to help candidates get a better understanding of what to expect ahead of their interviews.

Passive candidates are more reluctant to move

Concerns around job availability means that passive candidates are holding back from taking risks. Passive candidates who may have previously considered a career move are now more likely to stay put.

"Those currently in roles are nervous about moving in the current climate."

In response, many recruiters are focusing solely on reaching active candidates, by focusing on promoting roles through recruitment-specific channels.

Once there are more indications of economic stability and job security it's likely that passive candidates will start to be open to new opportunities again.

These responses were from our August 2020 Recruitment Pulse report. You can see the full recruitment pulse survey findings here, including insights about the impact on recruitment agencies, staff and wellbeing, and top priorities for recovery.

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