Employers, Job Seekers Take Issue with the Hiring Process

For employers and employees, matchmaking seems to have gotten more difficult.

A recent Top Workplaces Research Lab study revealed that employers and job seekers alike are struggling with the recruiting and hiring process.


What ticks off job seekers the most? The frustration with the amount of time it takes to find a job, along with the added stress and spotty communication.

And there are big gaps in perceptions centered on clear communication of company culture. While 80% of employers believe they effectively convey their company culture to job seekers, only 30% of candidates share the same perception.

Furthermore, while 60% of employers said they felt they were regularly communicating, only 28% of job seekers said they felt the communication was sufficient.

Both hiring organizations and job seekers agree that hiring, recruiting, and finding a job are more difficult than in past years.

The Top Workplaces Research Lab recently conducted a comprehensive survey, gathering insights from both hiring organizations (246 responders) and job seekers (302 responders) to shed light on the hiring process. While there were some commonalities in their views, there were also significant disparities. Here are some other key findings.

Challenging times: Both employers and job seekers report an increased level of difficulty in the hiring and job-hunting processes compared with the pre-pandemic era.

Perception gap: Job seeker responses indicated a more negative interview process than what hiring organizations believed candidates at their own organizations would experience.

Culture fit discrepancy: While 95% of hiring organizations considered culture fit highly important when selecting a candidate, only 45% of job seekers shared this perspective.

Dissatisfaction with time-to-fill positions: Nearly half of hiring organizations (47%) expressed dissatisfaction with the time it takes to fill vacant positions within their organizations.

Effective recruitment channels: Hiring organizations reported that they find most candidates through employee referrals and job boards.

Effectiveness of hiring efforts: Surprisingly, only 56% of hiring organizations rated their hiring and recruiting efforts as highly effective.

Where are employers finding workers? Of those employers surveyed, 78% said they find talent through referrals. Some 61% use job boards. Another 38% use word of mouth, and about a third rely on direct advertising. Another third said they used promotions and transfers to fill positions.

When asked what obstacles are hurting the hiring and recruiting process, 62% of employers said there was a limited talent pool. About half said candidate expectations for pay was a barrier. Another third cited candidates unexpectedly dropping out of process as well as a limited number of applicants. And 29% cited candidate expectations for remote work.

Not surprising, employees valued pay, work-life flexibility and benefits (in that order) when looking for a job.

When asked what would improve the process, job seekers said better communication, transparency about pay, a shorter process and clearer expectations around the job itself.

Recommended best practices for employers around hiring:

  • Communicate more, from start to finish, at every phase of the process.
  • Streamline the hiring process.
  • Be transparent about pay from the beginning.
  • Design the process to be more inclusive of diverse candidates.
  • Collect data on the most important aspects of the hiring process, and use it to improve.

These findings offer valuable insights into the perspectives of both job seekers and organizations, highlighting the areas of needed improvements. Improvements in the hiring process would close some of these gaps and create a more positive experience for everyone.

Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces. To nominate your company as a Top Workplace, go to https://www.washingtonpost.com/nominate.

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