Market Research In The Recruitment Industry

Market Research, Peopleimages, iStock December 2014
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Recruitment is a sector that can benefit from investing in survey sampling to help build insight into search habits, industry-specific preferences and employee behaviours.  To date, the majority of research conducted around recruitment is done by and about employers, but what about the voice of the candidate and understanding their drive and desires?

Whether it’s human resources managers who are looking to retain valuable staff and source new talent, or recruitment consultants who require insights into attracting new candidates, understanding seasonal trends and behaviours can provide valuable insight into the mindset of candidates.

Understanding Behaviours

Developing an awareness of how different people seek employment helps to support targeting within advertising campaigns. Recent studies have shown that men are more likely to gain employment through networking, whilst female candidates are more successful in securing positions through published job opportunities. From coordinating networking events to advertising jobs on the most appropriate outlets, using online panels or surveys to identify how people like to search for opportunities can be key to reaching the right candidates.

As the job market continues to improve, companies with a firm grasp of what matters to employees will be in the best position to attract the strongest candidates. Exploring how people respond to changes in employment legislation can support the development of recruitment strategies. For instance, last year’s extension of flexible working rights has had a significant effect on what motivates candidates. Research shows that over 77% of employees surveyed said that flexible working options are one of their top 5 benefits, with a third overall putting it in their top 2. Understanding this shift has allowed organisations to engage and retain great staff – 51% of employers said they already offered flexible working and 30% said they are planning to build flexible working options into retention and motivation programmes.

Gaining Reliable Insights

There are plenty of statistics and reports on recruitment behaviours, but taking the time to gather relevant, targeted data can offer a far deeper understanding of what candidates (or potential employees) are looking for. Using market research tools to improve insight into the nuances of a specific industry will equip human resources managers and recruitment consultants with a far more accurate understanding of their target audience. Investing in independent studies negates the inaccurate results that can be generated by internal surveys. Despite the promise of anonymity, candidates and existing employees are likely to have reservations about documenting anything that could compromise their position. Additionally, there is a risk that subjects could be tempted to embellish answers to support a personal agenda.

Staff Retention

A recent study by LinkedIn and Altimeter showed that an engaged employee is 20% more likely to stay at a company. Keeping employees invested in where they work is easier to achieve if you have an insight into their values and motivations. For example, organisations that demonstrate a commitment to corporate sustainability often cite social policy as a reason why their employees are happy in their position. Developing strategies to keep your team happy helps to sustain an engaged and productive workforce. According to a number of estimates, losing and replacing a valuable worker can cost companies as much as 200% of an employee’s annual salary.


Market research helps to train your instincts so that you’re hiring efficiently, smartly, and effectively and providing human resources services to existing employees from a place of real understanding.

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