Candidate Attitudes and Behaviors

Today’s job candidates are better informed, choosier, more opportunistic and critical, more mobile, and more self-protective than prior generations. Within six months of hire, 70% are already considering their next move, an attitude that has relatively little to do with economic conditions and a great deal to do with frayed social contracts and the most open, transparent job market that has ever existed.

Although most staffing departments are aware of this, the range of adaptive behavior varies greatly. Some companies have learned how to attract long lines of superior candidates while others, often in the same industry and geography, struggle to attract even a few acceptable ones. Top quartile companies keep their first year hires 90% of the time, others only 40-50%.

What accounts for these differences? It isn’t the state of labor markets or the general economy because throughout the recent recession and recovery the discrepancies have remained constant. Rather it appears to be a fundamental disconnect in some organizations between how they go about attracting talent and the way talent goes about choosing opportunities.

That disconnect affects all job candidates, at all levels, in all types of job markets, whether they are anxiously looking for work on a daily basis or happily employed and not looking at all.

This research report, based on research that began in 2007, examines:

  • Changes in the labor market ecosystem — An analysis of 10 major trends, including less well known ones like corporate instability, speed of change and revised valuations of human capital
  • Job seeker adaptations — An analysis of the 6 attitudes all candidates, even those anxious for work, bring to the interview, such as “It’s my life, not yours” and “tell me the truth.”
  • Employer adaptations — An analysis of the 9 adaptive behaviors embraced by the most successful employers


Candidate Attitudes and Behaviors

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