Hiring 2021: Must-Know Talent Insights to Win Top Candidates

Learning Objectives

CareerArc surveyed 1,156 people and confirmed what many employers are only beginning to suspect: Talent is on the move. Over 60% of full-time employees are seeking new jobs in 2021.--As the country reopens and companies ramp up their recruiting, hiring professionals want to know: What matters most to candidates today? Where can employers find more candidates? And how are companies gearing up to attract and retain top talent?--Join Carissa Zavada, Director of Client Support and Operations at CareerArc, who will cover the key findings from CareerArc’s 2021 Future of Recruiting Study and share stories and examples from leading employer brands.

Key Takeaways:

  • How candidates evaluate a job: what will make them apply, accept, or run away in 2021

  • Where candidates go to find jobs, evaluate your culture, and engage with your brand

  • Companies’ top hiring priorities, anxieties, and tech investments this year

"Career Arc really helps to solve problems at scale when it comes to your social recruiting strategy. "


Hi, my name is Carissa Zavada. I’m the Director of Client Support and Operations at Career Arc. I’ve been with Career Arc since September of 2019. I’ve been within Client Success for over nine years now with experience working with several fast growing startups. Fun fact about me is I’ve been to 14 national parks around the US, including Backpacking and Havasupai Falls, and the Grand Canyon, and Zion.

Today, we’re going to cover key findings from Careers 2021 Future Recruiting Study, and share stories and examples from leading employer brands. Before we get into that, let’s talk a little bit about what Career Arc does. Career Arc is the only social recruiting platform designed for talent acquisition teams, so we really help you, as busy TA leaders, get your employer brand and your open jobs out on social media and we do that at scale. As you can see, we work with many of the world’s most exciting brands, including Fortune 500 companies across a number of industries. This is just a small snapshot of some of the companies that rely on us. I’ve worked with several organizations as a Client Success Manager here as well at Career Arc, and it really runs the gamut of all different industries.

How we do this is we utilize our automated job distribution engine that auto syncs with your ATS job inventory. We combine your employer branded assets, including the various captions and images that are provided and we bring your employer brand to the forefront of social media as we automatically post jobs across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We also have the only jobs integrated content calendar so that you can manage your social recruiting strategy, and it’s built specifically for recruiting so that you can help to really showcase and tell a story about why your organization is so great to work at.

Career Arc really helps to solve problems at scale when it comes to your social recruiting strategy. Unlike traditional tactics and channels, like your job boards, and job advertising, social media really presents a unique opportunity to get in front of your candidates where they spend their most time online, and you’re able to reach your candidates and also your recruiters extended networks. This helps you to improve the spend efficiency and outcomes of all of your recruitment marketing efforts.

Now, let’s go ahead and dive into our 2021 Future of Recruiting Study. As we go through this here today, what we’re going to start with is taking a look at some of the trends and the job seeker market here in 2021, and what some of their motivations are. Then, we’ll dive into how you can meet candidates where they frequent most. Finally, we’ll talk about how you can start to gain that competitive edge that you’re looking for within your social recruiting strategy.

We surveyed over 1000 job seekers and talent acquisition leaders. What our survey revealed is that 61% of full-time employees are seeking jobs in 2021. Now, some of you might be thinking, so where are all of my candidates? We know that with the pandemic, in general, well being, the health of people, our school closures, the distribution of stimulus funds has definitely impacted the volume of applicants we’re seeing across the board, but we know that job volume also is returned back to normal at the beginning of the year, and the market just hasn’t quite caught up yet. So, this doesn’t mean that jobseekers aren’t planning to apply, and we know that the competition for qualified candidates is increasing. What I think is important to call out here is that 33% of these candidates are passive, so when it comes to employer brand, it’s your passive job seekers that care the most about employer brand.

What motivates job seekers to leave? Let’s take a look at the top three deal-breakers that will dissuade a job seeker to apply for a job. With the unusually difficult year in 2020, it’s understandable that the last thing anybody is looking for, even a top performer, is another source of challenges. As we learn more about what’s important to candidates in this job market, it may or may not surprise you that work-life balance is actually a higher priority than pay. Related to the increased demand for work-life balance among job candidates, is the desire for more flexibility around where and when they can work. If you look here, nearly 40% of all candidates say that they would not apply to a company if it lacked a flexible workplace and a flexible environment or schedule. These are things that you can think about in your social recruiting strategy. If you genuinely have flexible working schedules, you have a good work-life balance, know that these are things that candidates have top of mind right now. If you’re not being social about these benefits and your culture and having work-life balance, then your candidates won’t be aware of this.

I’m not going to read through everything here on the slide today, you’re going to get these later as a takeaway, but what we’re looking at are the various deal breakers across three different segments of folks that we surveyed. On the left, you’ll see our non job seekers, in the middle, you’ll see our passive job seekers, and on the right, you’ll see our active job seekers. Now, we think about passive job seekers, they may have had to take on more work at their organizations as top performers, so not they’re really looking for that work-life balance. On the bottom, we can see the various research sites that people are using to determine if your organization is a fit for them and to research more about your employer brand and what your culture and benefits are like. As we look left to right, what you’ll notice is that social media sites become the number two source for both passive and active job seekers in researching a company.

Our key insights report already revealed that employer brand has become increasingly important over the years, with 82% of candidates considering employer brand before applying to a job. This is a 7% increase compared to when we asked this question back in 2015. This was taken when there was a candidate scarce economy, and now our economy is in a recovery phase, so we expect more candidate activity and they’re going to be more mindful about the company that they’re applying to and who they’re applying for. Again, this just reinforces the idea that employer branding is an increasingly important factor even in this economy.

Now that we know what our candidates are looking for, how do we meet candidates where they frequent most? Well, it may or may not surprise you, that social media is going to be one of the top places candidates are searching for jobs. Our survey revealed that 86% of job seekers are using social media in their job search. This can be searching for jobs, as well as just the several ways that social media is being accessed by both your passive and active candidates. It’s not necessarily about the time that candidates spend on social media, but it’s also about what they do when they’re there. What I’d like to point out here is that number three on this list is showing that candidates and potential job seekers are actually just liking and sharing job posts. So every time a brand ambassador, a passive candidate, even just somebody in your network likes or shares a job, you gain additional reach through their network, which is what we call the network effect. Since people are already visiting Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as a daily ritual, this is how you can help to ensure that your brand is in front of candidates, and you want to make sure that you deserve to get to know those candidates.

We know social recruiting is a staple, and it’s also the most widely used resource and channel leveraged by employers today, which is shown in our survey results here. When we asked employers in which specific recruiting technologies or platforms they plan to continue or even increase investment in 2021, social recruiting is the number one planned investment even over job boards. It turns out that our shopping and browsing behaviors are a lot like our job hunting and browsing behaviors. There’s a very close resemblance in the candidate journey here. Marketers know that shopping is influenced by exposure, brand awareness, third party validation, and also a peer network. This is very similar to how the candidate journey works. A passive job seeker in social media is simply a social media user who’s passing time on social and someone online without an active agenda, but an open mind. If we view this strategy very similar to a marketer, then we know that this is all about building brand awareness, building loyalty, and building a community. You’ll see on the bottom right here, 42% of people who share your job opportunities or like them on social, they actually become advocates for your brand. They’re just as likely to look for a job as they are to like or share an opportunity. What’s unique about this is this is different than job boards. This is something that we really can help to extend reach on when we’re within social.

What kind of content do candidates want to see? Well, on the left hand side, what we’re looking at are the top three types of posts that candidates are looking for. Number one, they’re looking for job posts. They want to know are you hiring for positions and if so, a link to apply so that they can access that job description page and apply. Two, they’re looking for employees’ stories or spotlights. This is about being authentic and hearing from employees so that they know the messaging is genuine. Three, they’re looking for posts about diversity, equity, and inclusion. On the right-hand side, what we’re comparing this to are the five types of content employers are posting on about social. What you can see is number one in two a line, but three and four come before diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you’re thinking about that competitive edge, just be sure if you have programs that are really focused on DEI, or any other authentic messaging that you can provide. You want to make sure that in your social recruiting strategy, you’re including these kinds of posts to really set you apart from the rest.

Let’s take a look at some of the successful posts that some of our career customers have posted about and we’ll take a look at each of these. This is a job post. It was generated with our automated job distribution engine, where we took the images from the library as well as the custom captions and we paired that with a relevant job automatically to post that on to their social media channel. You’ll see here we have some engaging imagery that really helps to represent the job. We have some custom copy that talks about their culture. As we look at this, we also have some automated hashtags within here, so restaurant life, which is really trending within the restaurant industry. When a candidate clicks on this image or the job link, it brings them to the job description page on your ATS or your career site, so we’re funneling all traffic there. We’re also able to track performance through this click so we know how many of our candidates are actually completing those applications.

Next, let’s go ahead and look at a post from MudGear. Many potential employees right now are certainly craving the notion of job security, and that’s why this post celebrating their store director, Larry Levin’s 50th birthday, with the company is just so refreshing. It’s really good to see within here a veteran employee and conversation with a younger team member. As you come in watch the video, you see that clearly, this is a business that values commitment, and teamwork, and on the job training. You got a really tremendous response from this, you can see below over 590 reactions and still counting. They’re reaching not only people in the hometown of Grand Rapids, but beyond all across the country for brand recognition here.

Last, we’re going to go ahead and look at diversity, equity and inclusion post by Starbucks. There’s an enormous difference between recognizing diverse needs, and then actively welcoming them. To celebrate the International Day of Sign Languages on September 23, Starbucks created this video highlighting its six dining stores around the world which actively hire deaf and hard of hearing team members. This video relies on subtitles instead of sound, really creating a powerful visual and visual narrative. By them, combining these positive employee stories with storytelling techniques to target a specific audience. This really remains one of the most effective methods for inspiring, promising new talent today.

Now that we’ve seen a few different examples of customers who are utilizing Career Arc for their social recruiting strategy, let’s talk a little bit about capturing attention on social media. Go ahead and jot down what you think the answer here is: how long is the average attention span on Facebook?

In 2000, Microsoft conducted a study measuring how long people can focus on one thing for a specific amount of time. The results then showed that the average person’s attention span is 12 seconds. 15 years later, it dropped to 8 seconds. Today, on average, desktop users tend to spend around 2 and a half seconds on any piece of content on the platform and the mobile users just 1.7 seconds. What is it that they’re looking to see and is two seconds long enough to really make an impression on your audience? Well, interestingly enough, according to Nielsen Research Study, they showed that their participants all videos that were two seconds or less long, and what they found is 30% of those audience members had brand recall, 23% of them had brand awareness, and 25% of them intended to purchase. Two seconds is plenty of time. We also want to just ensure that we’re doing this at scale. We know that it takes anywhere between 14 and 17 seeing different impressions for a candidate to interact with that content or engage with that content, and that’s where our automation and skill can really help out with this.

We know that most employers are on social media, but are they actually being social? We’re looking toward our competitive edge here. I think it’s important for you to see some of these different stats as well. Of all the players that are on social, only 39% of them are using hashtags to target specific talent audiences, like our restaurant life hashtag that we saw in the Panda restaurant example. Only 39% share employer brand content beyond job posts. Those employee stories that we saw, or the diversity, equity, and inclusion. Only 62% post jobs to social media, and that’s all of their jobs so they’re getting that scale and frequency. Only 35% post jobs on behalf of recruiters’ social profiles.

We know that we want to get ahead of the competition, so how can we get started? First and foremost, you want to start to define your goals and come up with your social recruiting strategy that aligns to your TA goals. When you sign on with Career Arc, you’re partnered with a Client Success Manager that will really help to get you recommendations on strategy on how you can develop your social recruiting strategy. You also have a lot of support throughout that process. Then, you want to make sure that you’re gathering your content so that it’s consistent with your employer brand and branding. You want to start to think about engaging content that really aligns to your candidate persona. What’s great about this is you start to have some brand consistency across your various sites. Whether a candidate is visiting your career site, whether they’re visiting your social media page or maybe your consumer facing page, you’ll ensure that you have the right content, and you have some control over all of the offsets and the branding and the messaging, and then we’ll map all of that for you.

You want to make sure that you’re leveraging your social recruiting software to really attract and retain talent at scale. You want to make sure that we are getting that scale and frequency, especially knowing this is where our candidates are, and their attention span is that to about that two seconds or less.

Let’s take a look at one last example here. What we’re looking at is a peek under the hood of the Career Arc dashboard and this is our image library. This is Ulta Beauty, they really have a really strong social recruiting strategy, and they utilize everything under the hood of our periodic platform. This is their asset library or a piece of it. You can see that there are different images that represent different job types. When we post this automatically through our automated job distribution engine, we’re pairing the right images with the right jobs so that that content is engaging.

If you think back to that stat, where we said only 35% of companies are posting content on behalf of the recruiters. Well, that’s something that Ulta is getting a competitive edge on. They’re leveraging our social recruiting automation in Career Arc. Just like we saw that Panda restaurant group job post, we can publish this on personal feed. You can think about your brand ambassadors, your hiring managers, your recruiters, and we’ll take that same branding, we’ll take the links to the jobs automatically, your custom hashtags, and your most relevant content, and put it on the personal page. What would require Lisa remembering to log on, post, share that she’s trying to fill a job, come up with a piece of copy, and all of that really now is running automatically, and so she can really just focus on connecting with candidates.

You’ll see up here on this page, we actually have 13 different likes, we have three different comments, we have a candidate who’s interested, another person who’s been at mentioned, and now Bridgette, Lisa, and Christie, because they’ve all interacted with this post along with the other 13 likes, their entire network is also seeing this content. That’s really helping with that network effect.

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about how Ulta Beauty utilizes Career Art, there’s a great case study online, and you can certainly read more about that. You can also see here that our clients have made some really amazing accomplishments, leveraging our social recruiting platform. All of these numbers were provided by these clients. One thing I just kind of wanted to point out here that isn’t displayed is we know that on average, we save our clients 828 hours of time every year.

If you haven’t checked out our blog, especially being a Client Success Manager here, I leveraged this content all of the time for good best practices and recommendations, I’d recommend checking it out. We have some great articles there that talk about your social recruiting strategy. How to start crowdsourcing your employer brand content, how to address your DEI posts, and even some stories about hiring during the pandemic, so highly, highly suggest that.

As a quick recap here, employer brand is a top motivating factor for both your passive and your active candidates. What I want you to walk away thinking about today is if we know employer brand is a top priority in this economy, and we know social media is the go-to source to learn about your employer brand content, then really how does that impact your hiring strategy and what are you going to do about that in 2021?

Thanks so much for your time. I’d love it if you connected with me on LinkedIn if you want to chat about any of these ideas, and of course, please visit us at CareerArc.com. Thanks so much.

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