New Survey Finds Recruiters Are Getting Creative

Recruiters are adjusting to the tight labor market, a survey finds.
By: | November 8, 2018 • 4 min read

The current U.S. unemployment rate isn’t at zero, but it’s getting darned close (it was 3.7 percent for Oct., a near-record low). Given that most people who need a job already have one, what are recruiters doing these days to find and connect with the talent their organizations need? Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation survey, which queried 850 hiring professionals, sheds some light.

First of all, recruiters aren’t expecting things to get any easier in the near term: 74 percent of survey respondents believe hiring will become more competitive in the next 12 months. As for their most-important success metric, 31 percent of recruiters prioritize quality of hire, while 23 percent cite retention rate, 21 percent chose time-to-hire and a mere 7 percent cite cost.

Building an Employer Brand

These days, it’s all about building a strong employer brand, and companies are pouring resources into this category to help their organizations stand out. Where are those investments going? Respondents prioritize social media (47 percent), followed by company career site (21 percent) and advertising (12 percent). LinkedIn was the most-used channel for recruitment efforts (77 percent), followed by Facebook at 63 percent. Instagram is gaining traction among recruiters, however, with 25 percent (double the number from last year’s survey) using it for recruiting. Perhaps not surprisingly, Instagram is especially popular with millennial recruiters (35 percent) and among those working at technology companies (63 percent), the Jobvite survey found.

The survey also finds that recruiters are very much aware of the Glassdoor effect: 75 percent say company reviews on that site are at least somewhat important to the hiring process. More than a third (38 percent) actually encourage candidates to leave Glassdoor reviews, while 33 percent have received negative reviews based on interactions that occurred during the recruiting process.

Texting is an ever-bigger factor in recruiting, with 43 percent of survey respondents having reached out to candidates or applicants via text; of that number, 88 percent reported positive feedback from the job seeker and only 4 percent got negative feedback.

Poor Behavior No Longer a Disqualifier?

One notable finding suggests that if a candidate lacks politeness or good conversational skills, then he or she is in luck these days: Recruiters are substantially less choosy than they were a year ago about candidates’ personal behavior and personality during interviews. The survey found that for recruiters, the need for candidates to demonstrate enthusiasm and good conversational skills decreased by 20 percent compared to 2017. Recruiters are also less likely to subtract points for rude behavior: Only 69 percent would consider a candidate being rude to the receptionist or other support staff as a disqualifier, compared to 86 percent last year (maybe it’s time for receptionists to start job hopping!). As for candidates who check their phones during an interview (perhaps for a text from another recruiter?), a mere 55 percent of recruiters would consider that as a disqualifying behavior, compared to 71 percent in 2017.

Differences Between Men and Women

Interestingly enough, female recruiters are more likely to focus on a candidate’s conversational skills than male recruiters, the survey finds (84 percent to 70 percent, respectively). Women also tend to place a higher priority on prior experience than men (60 percent to 45 percent) and on culture fit (41 percent to 21 percent). And if candidates show up for an interview visibly high or hungover, their job prospects will be substantially lower if the recruiter is a woman: 87 percent of women said being visibly high is a disqualifier, versus 66 percent of men, while 73 percent of women said being visibly hungover disqualifies a candidate (compared to only 50 percent of men).

The tight labor market is also leading to greater pushback from candidates on salary: 75 percent of recruiters say they’ve noticed an increase in salary negotiations from their candidates, with 23 percent reporting a significant increase. Millennials and women aren’t shy about asking for more money this year: recruiters say they’ve seen 59 percent of both demographics ask for an increase in salary. And negotiating for a higher salary will hardly spell doom for candidates: 19 percent of recruiters say it actually has a positive impact on a candidate’s chances of getting hired, while 43 percent say it has no impact and only 10 percent say it’s resulted in no job offer.

Andrew R. McIlvaine is senior editor for talent acquisition at Human Resource Executive. He oversees coverage of talent acquisition and recruiting and also edits the weekly Recruiting Trends Bulletin e-newsletter and its associated website, RecruitingTrends.com. A Penn State graduate, Andy also spent two years in the U.S. Army prior to attending college and attained the rank of sergeant while serving in the Army Reserves. He can be reached at [email protected]