Job Seekers Are Now in the Driver’s Seat and Expect Next-Gen Recruiting and New Hire Experiences, Survey Finds

Published On: October 30, 2018
  • SilkRoad and CareerBuilder survey finds that one-in-five employees gives less than 10 minutes to a job application, or two to three pages on a mobile device, before dropping off
  • Nearly 10 percent of employees have left a company because of a poor new hire experience


CHICAGO, Ill.October 30Low unemployment and high demand for talent is feeding a recruiting environment where job seekers and new employees are in control. Today, CareerBuilder and SilkRoad released the results of a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll identifying job seekers’ and new employees’ expectations for hiring and onboarding.

Candidates today have higher expectations for communication, logistics and new hire onboarding during their job search process68 percent of employees believe their experience as a job candidate reflects how the company treats its people. Prospects today are evaluating a future employer from the first page of the job application. These findings suggest that job seekers are accustomed to the environment they experience as consumers online, where everything is at their fingertips with a digital, mobile-friendly and engaging process.

“The survey results confirm a significant shift of power from employers to candidates – largely fueled by sustained low unemployment and widening skills gaps that are making it more and more difficult for employers to find and keep the talent they need to compete,” said Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder. “Nearly one-half of employers said it’s taking them longer to fill jobs today than in any other period in the post-industrial era – which not only costs money, but has an impact on productivity and speed to market.”

“The fight for talent is only going to become more intense for U.S. companies, and employers need to deliver on job seekers’ continuously-evolving expectations to attract the best candidates. This starts with streamlining the entire hiring process, from the first candidate engagement to new hire onboarding, which can be achieved through the technological innovation and more intuitive, mobile-friendly experiences we’re creating at CareerBuilder,” Novoselsky said. “70 percent of our audience is searching for opportunities on mobile, and employers have to meet these in-demand candidates where they are. This is one of the reasons that we’ve been investing in new technologies and AI to create the next generation of hiring experiences – including our new mobile app that makes it easy for candidates to discover who’s hiring near them, build a mobile resume with a few simple clicks and soon, acquire new skills right in the app.”

CareerBuilder and SilkRoad commissioned the survey that was conducted by The Harris Poll, and it is one of the only surveys to focus on the candidate recruitment experience as well as their onboarding and transition to full time employees. The national online survey was conducted from June 21 to July 16, 2018 and included a representative sample of 1,114 full-time employees and 1,138 employers across industries and company sizes who were asked about expectations in the hiring process, frequency of communication, online application preferences and importance of the onboarding process, once hired.

Not only has power shifted to the job seeker but the current employee as well—newly hired or tenured. When job seekers test the waters simultaneously, 51 percent report they’ve looked for other jobs even when an offer has been extended and the background check is in process—a tech-enabled offer and signature process that can happen fast is pivotal. Approximately 67 percent of employers report almost a quarter of new hires not showing up after accepting a position. Convenience and speed of the organization in confirming a new hire could impact how many show up on the first day.

“Technology is playing an increasingly critical role in enabling touchpoints along the recruitment and new hire journey to facilitate human interactions. Keeping prospects and new hires engaged over what can often be a multi-week or multi-month process is paramount. We see Strategic Onboarding as a vehicle for continuous engagement, retention and talent transitions over an employee’s entire career,” said Robert Dvorak, CEO of SilkRoad, global leader in strategic enterprise onboarding and talent activation. “We realize the customer’s journey doesn’t end with a purchase, nor does the employee’s end with an offer. By using technology throughout the entire employment journey, employers can intentionally onboard candidates and employees, keeping them engaged at key points over time.”

When both candidates and newly hired employees have higher expectations for how they’re being treated by employers, that experience can make or break a company’s ability to attract and keep top talent. Candidates, as well as employees, are consumers and they expect to have a seamless, clear and mutually beneficial type of experience with employers. The employer enjoys the benefit in the long-runa strong pipeline of candidates, filled positions and an engaged workforce that leads to lower turnover. As well, positive experiences in recruiting and onboarding enhances the ability to gain referrals from satisfied and engaged new hires, which can lower recruiting costs.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • Employers are feeling the impact of the tight labor market. 60 percent of employers across industries see positions becoming longer to fill in the last year due directly to a tough hiring environment.
    • Nearly a fourth of employers (23 percent) have seen delays in filled positions up to three weeks or more.
  • Candidates expect proactive, transparent and frequent communications from employers. Given the current hiring environment, 43 percent of employees say they have higher expectations for how employers will treat them as a candidate.
    • 36 percent of employees expect to speak to a recruiter at a company they are interested in before they even apply to a job.
    • 31 percent expect customized messages from employers who reach out to them with job opportunities. They expect employers to come to them and they don’t want spam.
    • 82 percent of employees expect employers to provide a clear timeline for the hiring process and keep them updated throughout the process when they apply for a job.
  • The candidate experience speaks volumes about the employee experience. 68 percent of employees believe their experience as a candidate reflects how the company treats its people.
  • Candidates are not willing to wait. When applying to a job, more than half of employees (55 percent) will give up and move on if they haven’t heard from an employer within two weeks of applying.
  • Candidates expect a fast and easy application experience. Job seekers today are not willing to fill out multiple application pages, especially on a mobile device. If they do start one, they may not return on their desktop and won’t likely get past three to five pages.
    • One-in-five candidates give less than 10 minutes to a job application (20 percent), or two to three pages on a mobile device (21 percent), otherwise they drop off.
    • Approximately 43 percent of employees have applied for a position via a mobile device.
  • Candidates keep looking for other jobs even when they accept an offer. 51 percent of employees continue looking for other jobs when an offer has been extended and they’re going through the background check process.
    • Employers say, on average, one in seven candidates (14 percent) walk away after they accepted the offer.
  • Successful onboarding for a new hire is critical for their long-term vision of culture and career potential at the new company. 93 percent of employers agree a good onboarding experience is critical to influence a new hire’s decision in staying with the organization, yet 29 percent of employees don’t think their organization did the right things in onboarding to help them prepare and begin their new role.
    • Onboarding can help or hurt: Nearly one in ten employees (nine percent) have left a company because of a poor onboarding experience, and 37 percent of employees didn’t think their manager played a critical role in supporting their onboarding experience.
    • Nearly one in five employees (19 percent) want to receive feedback on their performance once a month or more often. And, when asked about the onboarding experience they had at the first 60 days of their company, 72 percent say they are likely to refer a friend to the same organization.
    • 51 percent of employees expect HR to check in with them regularly throughout their first year of employment.
    • On a scale of one to 10, 27 percent rated their most recent onboarding experience a five or worse. The same percentage said the same for picking out benefits.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder and SilkRoad among 1,138 hiring managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed) and 1,114 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed) between June 21 and July 16, 2018. Data for employers were weighted where necessary by company size and job level and data for employees were weighted where necessary by gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, income, education, and industry to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

About CareerBuilder®

CareerBuilder is a global technology company that provides end-to-end solutions designed to help employers find, hire and onboard great talent, and job seekers build progressive careers as the modern world of work changes. A known disruptor for nearly 25 years, CareerBuilder is the only company that offers both software and services to cover every step of the “hello to hire™” process – enabling its customers to free up valuable resources across their HR tech supply chain to drive their business forward. Specializing in talent acquisition and engagement, managed services, including award-winning employment screening, and talent management software, CareerBuilder is the largest provider of AI-powered hiring solutions serving the majority of the Fortune 500 across five specialized markets. CareerBuilder is majority-owned by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC and operates in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit
CareerBuilder. Work Can Work.

About SilkRoad

SilkRoad is the world’s leader in strategic onboarding for talent activation, helping organizations win the war for retention by engaging people with personalized world-class onboarding to keep talent engaged and connected to business goals throughout their employment journeys. SilkRoad has helped thousands of companies around the world create highly scalable personalized experiences that activate and retain people. For more information, visit, follow on Twitter @SilkRoadTweets or call 866–329–3363 (U.S. toll free) or +1–312–574–3700.

About The Harris Poll:

The Harris Poll is one of the longest-running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first- century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please visit


Media Contacts:

Amanda Kelley – CareerBuilder

Kathleen Porter – SilkRoad