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Finding a job can be a frustrating exercise for both sides of the equation: Candidates, for their part, will utilize online resources to see what employers have to offer, and then sometimes come up empty-handed for their efforts, or else, dig deep, only to obtain an opaque profile of a company that raises more questions than answers.
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Employers, meanwhile, may offer things that are highly desirable but not presented in an effective way.
The disconnect is clearly on the employer’s side. It's easy for employers to lose sight of what is most valuable to applicants, who, after all, are considering multiple aspects of a company and a position. So, the bottom line is that employers need to know what employees want to know, and present that information in a clear and transparent way.
A 2014 report by Software Advice found that almost half of the 4,633 job seekers surveyed said they used Glassdoor, before looking for jobs, in order to find top employers. So, one fact should stand out to employers: Job seekers have specific criteria.
Here is a look at what jobseekers inquire about when they are researching companies — and their main questions:
1. 'What do the current employees like about their job?'
The Software Advice report found that 60 percent of the 4,633 job seekers surveyed said they would not apply to a company with a one-star review. Almost half of the respondents said they only considered reviews written within the previous six months.
Employers should note two important aspects from this study: First, reputation does matter, and job-seekers are well aware of online reviews. Second, the most recent reviews carry the most weight.
Companies should focus on encouraging their current staff to leave reviews. This may help provide a more balanced perspective of the company, since disgruntled employees are more likely to have already shared their opinions. Provide links in newsletters to online reviews or have management remind employees of the opportunity they have to provide feedback to the company.
Another great strategy for generating interest in the company is to respond to all reviews, including the negative ones. Responding promptly in a professional manner demonstrates that the company openly communicates about processes that may not be working, and values employee feedback.
2. 'Will I hate my boss?'
The dynamics of the manager-employee relationship are important. The 2015 SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey of 600 U.S. employees found that 72 percent of the respondents considered respectful treatment of all employees “important.” Fifty-eight percent said their relationship with their immediate supervisor was “very important.”
This is another great insight into what employees want — respect. To offer that respect, provide employees the opportunity to succeed at their role. In other words, allow independence once they’re been given given the tools to succeed.
Employers need to publicly celebrate their management style to attract the job-seekers that thrive in this type of environment. Managers can create a public forum on the company's website for employees to share their successes, or post accolades to social media, using either simple congratulatory messages or videos that tell the story of projects that produced good results.
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Management should also show an openness to collaboration. That type of culture reflects how everyone is on the same team trying to accomplish the same goal.
Transparency also goes hand-in-hand with respect. If employers communicate their expectations clearly and provide their staff members with the tools they need, employees will thrive,and the team will succeed as a whole.
4. 'Will I like my coworkers?'
The 2015 Virgin Pulse survey found that nearly 40 percent of the 1,000 full-time employees surveyed said that their coworkers were a top reason they loved their company. Additionally, 66 percent said their relationship with them positively impacted their focus and productivity, while 55 percent said their colleagues positively impacted their stress levels.
In other words, job-seekers value the idea of fitting in with their group of coworkers. Employers should focus on branding their culture in a clear way, to attract top talent that would be a good fit within the organization.
Core values need to be clearly defined. This should be a collaborative effort with top performers and other team members. Once all team members identfy what they value most, they should brainstorm, to isolate the most important traits and write them into actionable statements for the whole organization to reference.
These values need to be marketed, and integrated into all facets of employer branding. For example, if the company values diversity, that value should be highlighted in images, text and any other media source, displaying how the company's diverse team contributes to its success.
5. 'Will my hard work be appreciated?'
Recognizing hard work is important. Employers should focus on expressing their appreciation for their staff in various ways. Incentive programs are effective and can provide an assortment of rewards, ranging from budget-friendly options like coffeeshop gift cards and magazine subscriptions, to larger items, like raffle giveaways for spa days, or ski lessons.
Another method for recognizing staffers' successes is offering additional training courses or certifications that could help with career development, or providing flexible work options, like flextime or virtual workspaces, that would allow employees to pursue additional training or education to further their careers.
Once these programs are implemented, they should be marketed through employer branding. This will help job-seekers recognize the company as one that provides what employees want. Employee testimonials are a great way of illustrating job satisfaction.
6. 'Will this job help my career in the long run?'
A 2015 LinkedIn survey found that 45 percent of the 10,536 people surveyed, who changed companies between late 2014 and early 2015, said they left because they were concerned about a lack of advancement opportunities. Fifty-nine percent said they started a new job for a stronger career path and more opportunity.
Companies need to adapt to what employees want, and they want growth opportunity. They should tailor their message to highlight what the organization has to offer. This could include internal mobility, education benefits like tuition reimbursement and strong training programs.
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These messages can appeal to the 33 percent of those surveyed in the 2015 LinkedIn survey who said they were changing careers. Offer some insight into how the company can provide a long-term career, and not just a stepping stone position.
How do you appeal to what employees want, and are you showing job-seekers your true value?