Going short and long to attract job candidates

In an economy of full employment, you must lure workers away from their existing jobs with something new or substantially more.

A survey released on July 25, 2018, by Harris Poll (in collaboration with Glassdoor), identifies the priorities job seekers look for when examining job ads.[i] The survey shows:

  • Sixty-seven percent look at salaries.
  • Sixty-three percent look at benefits.
  • Fifty-nine percent look at worksite location.
  • Forty-three percent look at commute time.

Job seekers today, at first, want to see transparency about pay, benefits and how long a commute time will be. The pay and benefits need to be competitive in your industry and region. This is the “short” game of the job search.

However, there is also a “long” game. Will the new company be able to offer them a long-term career and a better work culture than their current employer?

The 2018 Harris Poll Survey went on to ask job seekers what they were looking for in terms of long-term potential. The answers, which are below, start out the same with transparency on pay and benefits, and then change.

  • Forty-four percent want company transparency on pay and benefits.
  • Thirty-nine percent want long-term career potential. That is, the job seeker is looking for an explanation from employers about how they can grow within the company after joining. The company explanation is more effective if current employees of the company provide their own testimony on the career site, via podcast, about how their careers have progressed.
  • Thirty-seven percent want a company with a track record for promoting from within; to them, this signifies a company with long-term potential.

While competitive pay and benefits, and commute time will lure job interest, job candidates tired of job hopping are looking for employers who will offer long term career growth.

Finally, once on the job, culture and values are the biggest drivers of employee satisfaction, followed by career opportunities, flexible hours, and  senior leadership.[ii]

What about Millennials? This group has now replaced Generation X as the largest generation in the workforce. The latest research shows that this generation is entering adulthood and they want the benefits of adulthood. Millennials are now beginning to buy their own homes, enter long-term relationships, and have children. As a result, they will want competitive pay and benefits.[iii] While they like having free breakfast bars at work and other perks, it will no longer attract them.

Millennials are also preferring work environments like those desired by older generations, with more work-life balance, flexible workplace systems, paid family leaves for both sexes, subsidized and comprehensive medical benefits, and subsidized retirement benefits. Their desires are borne out by recent surveys of millennials on benefits.[iv]

The Harris Poll  finding confirms the long-standing research of Frederick Herzberg, who reported in the 1960s that competitive pay and benefits are a hygiene factor.[v] That is, employees expect it and will be attracted to it. But good pay and benefits do not drive loyalty or discretionary effort.

Instead, in Herzberg’s model, what drives loyalty and discretionary effort are motivational factors. Motivational factors are the long game. They include issues such as challenging work, a sense of achievement, growth and development, recognition, and more responsibility. While people work for money and benefits and will keep their jobs for good money and benefits, it is the motivational factors that drive discretionary effort—the good things like innovation and extraordinary effort.

What are you doing for the short and long game to win in the tight talent economy?

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting. Today’s blog is an excerpt from his new book: Hack Recruiting: the Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization. You can buy it online at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Archway Publishing.

Those who buy Hack Recruiting before October 1, 2019, will have access to his new, valuable video podcast series with leading HR technologists and practitioners. Send me a copy of your book purchase receipt to VA@VictorHRConsultant.com with the subject line. “Enroll me in the new video podcasts series!”


[i] “Salary and Benefits Are Most Important for US Workers and Job Seekers Looking at Job Ads, according to Glassdoor Survey,” Glassdoor Press Center/Press Release (July 25, 2018); https://www.glassdoor.com/press/


[ii] Mario Nunez, “Does Money Buy Happiness? The Link between Salary and Employee Satisfaction,” Glassdoor Economic Research Blog (June 18, 2015); https://www.glassdoor.com/research/does-money-buy-happiness-the-link-between-salary-and-employee-satisfaction/.

[iii] Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, and Morgan Smart, “Why Do Workers Quit? The Factors That Predict Employee Turnover,” Glassdoor. https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/why-do-workers-quit/.

[iv] “Employee Retention: What Makes Employees Stay or Leave,” Paychex (August 19, 2016); https://www.paychex.com/articles/human-resources/employee-retention-what-makes-employees-stay-leave.

[v] Frederick Herzberg, “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?,” Harvard Business Review 46 (1) (January–February 1968): 53–62, OCLC219963337.

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