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As hiring booms, HR survey raises warning for recruiters

Job candidates will reject a job offer if the employer makes missteps in the recruiting process, a new HR survey reports.

The U.S. labor market data Friday, which showed a gain of 266,000 jobs, called out a few areas as high growth. It cited "notable job gains" in healthcare and professional and technical services. They are two areas that pose big challenges for recruiters, according to a new HR survey.

Professional services firm PwC surveyed 10,000 U.S. workers -- all professionals -- either in the workforce or looking for work. A key finding in the HR survey data was this: Almost half, 49%, of the professionals surveyed have turned down an offer due to a bad recruiting experience.

They identified themselves as prospective candidates who were made offers but still rejected the job, the HR survey reported.

There are reasons for the high rejection rate, according to Bhushan Sethi, the global people and organization leader at PwC. It could be the result of a lengthy recruiting process, inconsistencies in the attitudes of the people prospective employees met with, or repeated requests for documentation, such as work authorizations.

Sethi said that candidate experience is often thought of as a technology problem. But it's the more human elements, such as a timely follow-up with candidates, that could be the source of the blame. Candidates, especially those who "probably have multiple choices for their future employment," want human interaction throughout the recruiting process, Sethi said.

Professional jobs see large gains

Will there be a sector of the workforce that will trade their transparency -- so you understand everything about them -- for a better opportunity?
Bhushan SethiGlobal people and organization leader, PwC

The government labor report said that employment in professional and technical services increased by 31,000 last month and by 278,000 over the last 12 months. The labor category comprises workers who perform professional, scientific and technical activities for others. It includes accounting, architectural and engineering services, as well as computer design services, among others.

Sethi said organizations need consistent and transparent recruiting processes.

Separately, 62% of professionals want to work at firms committed to improving workplace diversity and inclusion. Social issues, such as climate change, are part of this, and employee activism has been on the rise, publicly and internally.

Candidates are willing to sacrifice higher pay for opportunities like these, Sethi said. They are "willing to trade salary for good work experience and a place that aligns with their own values." This includes upskilling or training opportunities.

Candidates are willing to make tradeoffs

A surprising finding in the HR survey data is the willingness of candidates to share social media data, if it helps get a good job. Just over 60% said they would give a prospective employer access to social media data now kept private.

"Will there be a sector of the workforce that will trade their transparency -- so you understand everything about them -- for a better opportunity?" Sethi said. The survey suggested candidates might be willing to make that tradeoff, but few firms are asking for social media access, he said.

Companies that invest in virtual reality as part of the candidate experience may see a payoff. The survey indicated that 62% "say they're more likely to consider taking a role if they had a chance to experience the actual job through technology."

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