The most recent LinkedIn Talent Trends survey for South Africa has revealed what talent wants when it comes to new opportunities, and what’s interesting is that the quality of the recruitment process is impacting their final decision, not only the benefits, remuneration and working environment.

Role Considerations

The survey highlighted the core elements that candidates weigh when making the decision of whether to accept a job or not, and whilst compensation is still the most important, at least to 54% of the candidates surveyed, it’s definitely not the be all and end all any more.

Opportunities for Advancement (31%) and a More Influential Role (17%) rated highly, indicating that many individuals hope to achieve an upward move when they change jobs.

Frustratingly, as a recruiter, my experience is that many organisations are not willing to consider individuals for more senior roles, preferring to employ someone with that level of experience already. Why? A robust recruitment and assessment process should be able to uncover those candidates with potential and who are ideally positioned to take the next step up in their career.

The reluctance to adapt processes and harness potential makes me question whether there is a lack of trust in management teams and their ability or willingness to invest and nurture someone into a specific position? What other reason could there be for sticking to the same specification and years of experience in the continual chase for the ‘perfect’ repeat hire?

Better Professional Development (28%) and More Challenging Work (24%) were also high drivers in talent decision-making. Different individuals would describe this differently, some focusing on formalised training and learning opportunities to gain additional qualification and credentials, with others simply hoping to get into a new industry where they can learn new things and grow their overall knowledge and experience. These factors are especially important to Generation X candidates who place great emphasis on learning and growing as individuals.

A candidate shared with me this week that she has been exposed to such great executive-level training programmes at the Life Insurer that I placed her at and that these two years have done more for her career than the last 10 did! She is definitely an engaged team member and the benefit for my client is that she will remain committed for a few more years.  It goes without saying that this specific dynamic Life insurer has won various awards for its people development and coaching programmes.

29% of all candidates listed Better Work / Life Balance as a deciding factor and with traffic an increasing problem in many South African cities, it’s no wonder that individuals are hoping to escape the 8 -5 rat race. And whilst many organisations speak of flexible environments, not many can honestly say that it exists.

True balance – or let’s be honest and rather say work/life integration – can only be achieved when organisations employ a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) philosophy where employees are given a very clear set of expectations, deadlines and output requirements and left to manage themselves to achieve this, irrespective of the location, time or method of work preferred.

The Recruitment Process Matters too

Of great interest to me as a recruiter was the increasing importance of the quality of the recruitment process. Candidates, particularly those who are better labelled as “talent” are increasingly fussier about the organisations they work and many of them will use the recruitment process, and associated candidate experience, to determine whether or not they want to work there.

57% of candidates want to meet their prospective managers at the interview, and it makes perfect sense. As they saying goes “people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses” so the opposite should apply too. I’d suggest going one step further and ensuring that any candidate being considered for employment be introduced to the team in which they’ll work, far better than what often happens: the first time a new employee meets their team is on the first day of employment.

When it comes to Interview day, nearly half of all candidates said they wished to have at least the following:

  • Clear logistical information in advance;

  • Ability to have a conversation with leadership;

  • Experience the corporate culture;

  • Clear understanding of timeframes when it comes to receiving post-interview feedback; and

  • Getting their business-related questions answered

Interviews are no longer the domain of the employer, but rather an opportunity for both parties to ask, and have answered, all their most pressing questions in an effort to determine areas of commonality and potential to work together.

Nearly all candidates (94%) want to receive interview feedback and yet only 41% of those surveyed confirmed that they had received feedback. This is shocking, particularly as in today’s socially connected world, every person who interacts with a business has the power to enforce or destroy their brand/reputation. As a recruiter, I find it extremely frustrating to field calls from candidates desperately seeking feedback only to have none because we too have hit the brick wall at our clients.

89% of candidates said that being contacted by a trusted recruiter would assist them in making a more informed decision about accepting a job. We know that many of our candidates rely on us to provide guidance and support during this process, steering them correctly through the salary negotiation process and helping them to weigh up the opportunities to ensure they make the right decision.

Top Talent wants to be treated as Equals

In the past candidates have been treated as subordinates during the recruitment and selection process and top talent simply won’t stand for this. They expect to be treated respectfully and as equals, important components in the future success of the organisation. As equals, they expect to be given all of the information necessary for them to make an informed decision and to be given constructive feedback, throughout the process, so that they can manage their lives.