What do Candidates look for in an Employer?

Today’s post is really for the benefit of employers looking for good staff. And I must stress good staff. If you are only looking for average staff, look away, there is nothing for you here.

Candidates we see are becoming increasingly fussy on where they work and who they work for. Some organisations already have a debatable reputation as employers in the market and it is not unusual for candidates to specify who they would not work for based on these reputations. A bad reputation as an employer is easy to get and really difficult to shed – trust me, you don’t want to be that employer.

So, what is important to those “A” candidates? Well there are the usual basics but, in our experience, they fall into the following categories, in order of importance:

  1. Clarity. Candidates want a clear and commonly understood picture of what their responsibilities and authorities are, what is expected of them, who they report to and what the business wants to achieve with their help. There are a number of more detailed elements to this but at a high level, this is probably the most important category for candidates. If this can’t be communicated crisply, there is a good chance the best candidates won’t be interested. They want to dive into a nice clear pool, not a mudbath.
  2. Remuneration. This isn’t the top criteria in terms of more remuneration but candidates do want to know they won’t be going backwards. They will happily move for the same or more remuneration, as long as their other requirements / wish-list elements are met. What makes up the remuneration varies considerably with candidates so being able to be flexible as to what makes up total rem is a definite plus when recruiting.
  3.  Tools. Candidates want to work with current tools, tools that they are familiar with but also tools that are emerging, can provide then with challenge and opportunities to develop new skills. Priority 1 is that the tools provided need to be fit for purpose so outdated equipment and/or legacy software will not appeal.
  4. Development Path. “A” candidates want to know that their new organisation will work with them on development of skills and a career path (if that is what they want). It is important to consider that techs don’t always (or often) aspire to management and/or leadership roles. In many cases they want to stay on the tools and develop their skills. The important thing here is to have the capability to explore what it is candidates / staff want and be able to demonstrate how that will be achieved.
  5. Flexibility. Candidates look for and are attracted to roles where the organisation is able and prepared to be flexible on employment issues such as location, time and remuneration. Candidates find employers that are more interested in outputs than inputs, very attractive. If a candidate gets the feeling that a potential employer is more interested in the clocking of hours that what is produced, they will not be motivated to join your team – especially when there are other organisations that are prapred to be flexible in exchange for productivity. Organisations and managers need to consider how they can be flexible and how that can be communicated to staff and candidates.
  6. Reputation. This has already been mentioned in the preamble and should probably be higher in the order here. Employers note: You DO have a reputation in the market and, given the size of our market, it is very easy for potential employees to find out what that is. People are not attracted to organisations that behave in an unethical manner with staff, have a high staff turnover or are known for providing poor service through underpaid staff. Recommendation: think about how you might measure your reputation in the market.
  7. Culture. This gets tough in that so m any of these could or should be number one on the list and certainly organisational culture is right up there. Candidates are looking for organisations that have values based cultures, are known for being trustworthy, ethical, treat their staff and clients with dignity and respect, have fun in the office and provide a generally healthy an social environment in which to work. Good physical working environments are an important part of this but more important are the people-culture elements. Skilled managers and leaders are able to do this almost on instinct but some not – organisations such as Everest HR Group are capable of helping organisations that are challenged in this space.
  8. Induction. This is where the old cliché “last but not least” gets rolled out. The more astute candidates will actually ask what the Induction plan is but for others, being told that there actually IS an Induction Plan (and seeing what that looks like) will be a huge plus. It speaks volumes of an employer who is organised, thorough and wants it’s employees to start on the right note and continue in that manner. Induction Plans are continually evolving documents and the best people to have input to improving them are the new people who have just been through it. Think structure. What will happen on days 1 through 5 and weeks 1 through 4 so that new employees know what to expect. Remember to include Health & Safety !

So, that’s what I think good IT candidates are looking for. If you would like help with any of this or would just like to discuss any elements of it, please don’t hesitate to contact us.