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What Do Job-Seekers Want From Companies and Recruiters? (Survey)

Through Google Consumer Surveys, we polled a consumer audience to find out what people have to say about job searches, recruiting and the use of social media. The results might surprise you. Here are our findings:

When kicking off a job search, the vast majority of respondents visits either job boards (26 percent), Google (25 percent) or company websites (24 percent) as their first destination. Thus, companies should first and foremost make sure their own job pages are constantly updated with the latest openings, and that the websites themselves are user-friendly, appealing and highlighting the desired aspects of their companies to potential candidates.

Only 7 percent of respondents listed social networks as their starting point for job hunting and in general, the majority of respondents (56 percent) said they do not use social media in the search or interview process. One-quarter have used LinkedIn and 19 percent have used Facebook to find jobs, so there are opportunities to leverage those channels to promote career opportunities and company culture content where appropriate.

The vast majority of respondents (44 percent) said that a listing directly from a company was the most effective source, while job listings from personal contacts were found to be the second most successful (27 percent). This demonstrates the value of companies leveraging their own employees for social recruiting, as people value the opinions of friends and connections that they know. That said, 83 percent of respondents said that they themselves are not open to using their own personal social network to list jobs on behalf of their company, meaning that companies need to better incentivize their workers to become advocates (and make it easier for them to do so).

Across all respondents, the numbers on the surface show that social media still has a ways to go to become more impactful for job hunting for the broader market. While 17 percent found direct contact from a recruiter to be the most successful lead in their social media job search, a strong majority of all respondents (61 percent) said they do NOT want recruiters from other companies trying to recruit them via social channels. Generally speaking, companies must be wary of having their recruiters be overly aggressive on social networks. While 57 percent do say they haven’t had any major problems with recruiters reaching out on social channels, it seems that most just want to be left alone. Nineteen percent say their biggest pet peeve with social recruiting is receiving too many messages, while 17 percent find being contacted for irrelevant jobs to be most annoying.

Millennials (18-34 in this survey) use social networks for job hunting significantly more than people age 35 and over. While most age groups said they are not okay with recruiters contacting them about job openings via social channels, 55 percent of millennial respondents said they do welcome companies reaching out to them in this manner. 82 percent of respondents who have used social media as a job search tool indicated the lead was successful.

For companies trying to hire within this age range, improving recruiting strategies on social media should be a priority. This also demonstrates that we’ve only seen the tip of the social recruiting iceberg, as it will become more important and broadly used over time.

So what devices are candidates using to conduct their job searches? Surprisingly, computers are still king – 72 percent of respondents still prefer to use desktops or laptops to hunt for jobs, with smartphones and tablets making up just 28 percent of responses. In addition, 86 percent of job searchers said they haven’t applied for a job via mobile, and 70 percent of those said that they wouldn’t want to either. Only 14 percent have done so. This does beg the question: are companies and recruiters simply not making it easy enough for job candidates to use their mobile devices for a job search?

The Takeaway:

Companies and recruiters need to understand the preferences of their target candidates. Social media has made it easy to reach a broader range of potential job candidates in different ways, but companies that jump into social recruiting without a strategy risk candidates walking away with a negative impression of the business. Those HR professionals that balance their company goals with the preferences of their recruits are best set up to ensure a positive experience for all candidates.


This survey was conducted through Google Consumer Surveys in October 2014 and polled over 1,000 U.S. adult internet users.

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