Survey Finds Disconnect Between Employers and Job Seekers

HR professionals say employee referrals are the best resource for finding candidates
yet only 7% of job seekers are using referrals to find jobs

Future Workplace, a research firm dedicated to rethinking and re-imagining the workplace, and Beyond, The Career Network, today announced results of a national survey that found a disconnect between employers and job seekers. The “Active Job Seeker Dilemma” survey includes a national sample of 4,347 job seekers, as well as 129 human resource (HR) professionals.

According to 71% of HR professionals surveyed, employee referrals are the best resource for finding candidates, yet only 7% of job seekers surveyed view referrals as their top resource for finding a job. In today’s employment landscape, job seekers who are “passive” with a wide network of referrals have the advantage over job seekers who are “active.”

When it comes to the job search, “passive job seekers,” or those who are employed but open to new opportunities, have a better chance of being hired over “active job seekers,” or those who are unemployed and searching for work.

Employers value “passive job seekers” and according to the survey, 80% of HR professionals believe “passive job seekers” become the most effective employees.

HR professionals also say the benefits of hiring a “passive job seeker” over an “active” one include: they have more experience (44%), they possess valuable skills (44%) and they take their careers seriously (42%). However, many job seekers are unaware of this advantage. When asked about who has a better edge in the job market, less than half (47%) of job seekers said “passive job seekers”.

In addition to the “active job seeker” disconnect, the survey also revealed the sentiment of HR professionals and job seekers in various areas.

“I always urge my generation to become passive job seekers so they can gain leverage and power over their career prospects. If you’re unemployed, you can turn into a passive job seeker right now by freelancing, selling items on sites like Amazon and eBay, being an entrepreneur, volunteering or blogging. By engaging in these activities while you search for a job, you won’t have gaps on your resume, you’ll be practicing new skills and potentially make side income so you will be less desperate for a job, which makes you more attractive as a job seeker.”

– Dan Schawbel, Partner & Research Director at Future Workplace

Additional highlights from the report include:

Your college major dictates your career prospects. 14% of job seekers surveyed are liberal arts majors, yet only 2% of companies are actively recruiting those majors. 15% of job seekers are engineering and computer information systems majors yet 30% of companies are actively recruiting those majors. About a third of job seekers would, or have, changed their college major to have better job prospects.

Cultural fit matters but GPA doesn’t when it comes to hiring. While job seekers (23%) and employers (24%) agree that internship experience carries the most weight for students when seeking jobs, employers don’t view GPA as carrying a lot of weight (6%) as much as job seekers do (12%). Companies put more emphasis on cultural fit (24%) than job seekers do (15%) when recruiting.

Beyond communication skills, employers and employees differ on skill alignment. Effective communication skills are at the top of the skills list for both employers and employees. After communication skills, employers look for employees with the ability to adapt to change and make sense of ambiguity, followed by being results driven and goal-oriented as their most desired skills. After communication skills, employees report leadership ability, in-person collaboration and teamwork skills as their subsequent strengths.

Job seekers and employers alike may not be fully anticipating the new skills required to operate in more networked organizations. The top three weaknesses reported by employees were virtual collaboration and teamwork skills (48%), technical skills (46%), and being culturally aware and inclusive (43%). HR professionals reported virtual collaboration and teamwork skills (43%), and being culturally aware and inclusive (also 43%) as the second and third least important skills when hiring.

Bonuses and promotions are most important to job seekers. While bonuses (80%) and promotions (70%) are most important to job seekers when it comes to rewards and recognition, top of the list for companies on rewarding and recognizing employees was recognition in front of their peers (68%), ahead of bonuses (63%) and promotions (59%).

It’s easier to find a job somewhere else than within. Job seekers are optimistic about the job market and may perceive it as easier to seek a new job outside the company than to secure a lateral move inside the company. More than 40% of job seekers reported that it was difficult or very difficult to make a lateral move at their most recent organization, while less then one quarter of respondents reported being not optimistic about the broader job market.

Companies need to rethink how they can help employees advance their career. Only 50% of job seekers say that their most recent employer has helped them advance in their career. Employers are focused on promotions (68%) and project assignments (47%) as how they believe they are helping advance careers. Job seekers reported that employers could best help advance their careers through project assignments (48%), promotions (39%) and leadership development programs (35%). Employers may be recognizing this need because 56% of HR professionals say they seek to enhance their employee experience in 2016 by investing more in employee training and development.

Gone are the days where people want to work for big companies. 65% of all job seekers want to work at small to medium sized companies with fewer than 1,000 employees indicating a preference for a more manageable scale of employer or division. 58% of Millennials want to work for a small or medium sized company compared to 63% of Gen X and 71% of Baby Boomers. Only 13% want to work at very large or global companies with 10,000 or more employees.


“A strong application coupled with quality referrals will provide job seekers with an advantage in the hiring process. You should constantly be exploring new ways to nurture and expand your referral network, and it may be easier than you think. For example, attend industry conferences and events, grab lunch with a former colleague or make new connections on social platforms – a few simple actions may help you land your dream job.”

– Rich Milgram, Founder and CEO of Beyond, The Career Network


New Survey Reveals That Candidate Experience Drives Consumer Behavior

64% of candidates are less likely to purchase goods and services from a company that delivered a poor candidate experience

Future Workplace–a research firm preparing leaders for disruptions in recruiting, development, and employee engagement–and CareerArc–a global HR technology provider of social recruiting and outplacement services–today announced the results of a new study entitled, “The Future of Recruiting.”

Following a national survey of 1,054 total respondents, including 616 employers and 438 job seekers, the study revealed that 63% of employers expect hiring volume to increase in 2017 compared to 2016.

As a result of the stable job market, 96% of employers plan to continue or increase their employer branding efforts this year to stay competitive. Companies remain hyper-aware and committed to investing in their employer brand online and via social media, as the study revealed that 61% of job seekers visit a company’s online properties first before applying, which was a 17% increase from 2015.

The survey also uncovered that candidate experience actually drives consumer behavior. 64% of job seekers say that a poor candidate experience would make them less likely to purchase goods and services from the employer. While 91% of employers agree that candidate experience can impact consumer purchasing decisions, only 26% measure this effect.


“With a sold economic outlook, a decline in unemployment, and a high employer and job seeker confidence level, the war for talent will be in full effect this year. Companies will have to invest more in recruiting technology, building a strong employer brand and improving their candidate experience if they want to compete for the best people. This study shows that a lack of investment in employer branding could result in a decline of revenue for the company.”

Dan Schawbel, Research Director at Future Workplace and New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself


Additional highlights from the report include:

Job seekers are increasingly trusting reviews before applying. One in three job seekers has shared at least one negative review of a previous or prospective employer, and 55% of job seekers who have read a negative review have decided against applying for a position at that company. The survey also found that those employees and job seekers who do leave online negative reviews are 66% more likely to also spread those opinions on social media, compared to those who only share their opinions directly with a friend or colleague.

Job seekers rank current employees as the most trusted source on information about a company. Online reviews from job applicants and former employees follow as the second- and third-most-trusted sources, respectively. The CEO or other company executives were ranked the least trusted source by job seekers. While 99% believe managing employer brand and reputation is important to attracting top talent, only 45% devote HR resources to protecting employer brand.

A clear disconnect exists between the recruiting technologies job seekers desire most and those which employers currently use. Job seekers reported being exposed to skills testing and assessments in their candidate experience more than any other recruiting technology, but it is also the technology they would least like to see the in the future. However, what job seekers want to see most in the candidate journey are applications of virtual and augmented reality, currently the recruiting technology job seekers have reported experiencing the least. Meanwhile, the technology most employers wish to incorporate in their hiring process by year 2020 is gamification.

Social and professional networks are now the most common recruiting platforms. 91% of employers are using social media to hire talent today, and 91% of employers believe it will become a more significant source of hire in the next 5 years. Job seekers agree, ranking social and professional networks as the most useful resource in their job search compared to job boards, employee referrals, and recruiting events, among others. Social Media and Social Recruiting Software tops the list as the number one planned technology investment of 2017, with over half (52%) saying they plan to continue or increase investment. Employers believe that Social Media Marketing will be the most in-demand HR skill by year 2020, followed by Data Analysis and Predictive Modeling.


“Only a decade after the dawn of employer review sites, we now see its effects on the balance of power which has shifted full-swing from employer to employee—now the most trusted and vocal sources of information in the modern job search. This puts pressure on companies to invest in employer brand awareness, brand protection, and candidate experience, or risk losing not only top talent but loyal customers as well. Amidst this major shift, our study also reveals how social media has surfaced as the enduring platform-of-choice where employers and candidates alike connect and engage in the job market.”

– Robin D. Richards, Chairman & CEO, CareerArc


Candidate Experience Study

Survey Connects Poor Candidate Experience To Limits In Future Job Applications 

Nearly 60% of Job Seekers Have Had a Poor Candidate Experience & 72% Talk About It  

Future Workplace–a research firm preparing leaders for disruptions in recruiting, development, and employee engagement–and CareerArc–a global HR technology provider of social recruiting and outplacement services–today announced the results of a new study entitled, “The Candidate Experience Study.”

Following a national survey of 1,200 total respondents, including 826 job seekers and 374 employers, the study revealed that nearly 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience. Of those job seekers, 72% report having shared that experience online on an employer review site, such as Glassdoor, on a social networking site, or directly with a colleague or friend. Furthermore, while only 61% of employers say they notify declined candidates about their decision, 65% of job seekers say they never or rarely receive notice from employers.

As a result of a poor candidate experience, employers are missing out on an important talent pool. 80% of job seekers say they would be discouraged to consider other relevant job openings at a company that failed to notify them of their application status. Yet, they would be 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified. Fewer than half of employers re-engage declined candidates yet nearly all (99%) believe re-engaging will help them build their talent community and protect their employer brand.

“Companies need to start humanizing their candidate experience because job seekers can easily share their negative experiences online and decide never to apply to that company again. Treat your candidates like you would your employees or customers because they have the power to refer strong candidates even if they don’t get hired.”

– Dan Schawbel, Research Director at Future Workplace and New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself

Additional highlights from the report include:

Employers underestimate the amount of time it takes candidates to submit one job application. While the typical job seeker spends about 3 to 4 hours preparing and submitting one job application, the typical employer spends less than 15 minutes reviewing that application. About 70% of employers believe job seekers spend only 1 hour or less in researching, preparing for, and submitting their job application. On the other hand, nearly 60% of job seekers already spend at least 1 hour on researching the opportunity and preparing their resume before even starting the online application process. 

Job seekers don’t believe their resumes are being reviewed. Nearly 40% of employers rely on technology that pre-screens or pre-selects candidates based on the data they’ve submitted (i.e uploaded resume, cover letter, etc.). 62% of employers admit that it’s likely that this tool may have overlooked a qualified candidate. When they don’t hear back from employers, 85% of job seekers doubt that a human being has even reviewed their application.

Employers plan to invest more in their candidate experience. 70% of employers have invested, or plan to invest, more resources to improving the candidate experience in the next year. 60% of job seekers say that the one area that would improve their experience the most is better employer communication with candidates throughout and after the applicant process. Moreover, candidates rated “Timely Follow Up on Application Status” more important to their experience than a “Well-Designed Career Site” or a “Mobile-Supported Online Experience.”

Job seekers are leaving negative feedback online about their experience but employers are ignoring it. Nearly 60% of Employers have read at least one piece of online negative feedback about their applicant process. However, 70% of the employers who have yet to see negative reviews from candidates admit to never searching online to check if any exist. Only 25% of employers regularly request feedback directly from candidates on their experience and 78% of job seekers report never having been asked to give feedback on their candidate experience.


“This survey reveals a critical blind spot employers have when it comes to candidate experience, and that is the experience of the declined candidate. In this tightening labor market, companies can no longer afford to overlook this vocal majority of applicants who didn’t get the job, but simply expect to be acknowledged. This presents a tremendous opportunity for employers who recognize the need to reframe the rejection process, improve on candidate care, and prioritize the needs of all applicants today so they return to reapply tomorrow.”

– Robin D. Richards, CEO, CareerArc


About Future Workplace

Future Workplace is an HR executive network and research firm on the future of learning and working. The firm operates the Future Workplace Network, a consortium of Fortune 1000 global member organizations who use Future Workplace research and insights to future proof their learning and talent strategies.” Visit

About CareerArc

CareerArc is the leading HR technology company helping business leaders recruit and transition the modern workforce. Our social recruiting and modern outplacement solutions help thousands of organizations, including many of the Fortune 500, maximize their return on employer branding. By leveraging the cloud, running on world-class infrastructure, and combining web, mobile and social media applications, we help companies gain a competitive edge in recruitment, employment branding, and benefits.

About Beyond

Beyond, The Career Network, helps millions of professionals find jobs and advance their careers, while also serving as the premier destination for companies in need of top talent. Founded in 1998, Beyond gives its members a central location to search for millions of jobs and engage with original and curated career content from over 1,400 sources. Beyond’s network of 500+ talent communities use integrated social features to help members discover relevant career news, advice and resources. Beyond was included in Inc. Magazine’s ‘Inc. 500’ list and is a Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE: SFE) portfolio company. For more information, please visit: