Data-Driven Series: Half of candidates' questions are left unanswered.

Welcome to the first of a series of five insights, answering the question: what’s on candidate’s minds?

Around 2 months ago, we decided to produce original research on exactly what candidates have been asking employers in the past three years – on our platform. We live in a world where you should be able to find the answers to your questions at your fingertips – but what if the answers aren’t there?

Through these blogs, we are offering our research to you, week by week, so that you can put our insights into practice and improve your employer brand content – answering your candidate’s questions before they even have to ask.

How did we conduct this study? We collected 20,116 questions and 2.9 million views across these questions. We then used our AI Models to group the questions and aggregate them into topics. From there, we created visualisations of our data and worked with the entire PathMotion team to identify the top 5 most thought-provoking insights we found.

Throughout the next five weeks, we will be focusing on one insight a week. At the end of these five weeks, we will have a webinar with David Rivel, discussing the insights in more detail, and how you can make the right changes to your content strategy – watch this space!

Excited to see the first insight?

Unsurprisingly, candidates continue to ask questions about specific roles and for information on the company. This is worrying as they are amongst the top topics candidates have questions on, indicating that career sites could be failing to address them sufficiently, and candidates have to go elsewhere to find this information.

Whilst topics like role description and company information hold the highest volume of questions, this equates to only half of the questions candidates are asking. The other half is spread across a huge variety of topics such as work-life balance, diversity, and challenges experienced within the company/role.

So, what does this actually mean? You need to ensure that your candidates aren’t leaving your career site without the answers they were searching for. How? You need to create sufficient content on specific roles and company information but also, it is prevalent that you need to create content on work-life balance, diversity and challenges experienced within the role.

We asked our intern Karadai Mckie-Malcolm what her experience was like looking for her placement role, within her sandwich course at university.

Want to hear about Karadai’s experience?

‘I made the risky decision to take a year out from university and gain experience. This was the best decision I could have made because I am now prepared for the experience of searching for my graduate job and the hiring process post-application.

It was an uphill battle looking for an internship which is traditionally for learning purposes because most still require you to have experience. A lot of people I know, who wanted to get a work placement within their degree – despite their great grades – due to having little experience they had to return to university, as they were unable to secure a placement.

During the process of finding a placement, trying to navigate career sites and find the answers to my questions was a draining ordeal. I often just filled out the application and made a list of my questions to ask directly at the interview because many sites didn’t answer a lot of the questions that I wanted answers to. I was interested to know how the company employs a good work-life balance for their employees. In addition, what was the culture at the company like, especially after seeing employee reviews on other websites when certain companies had several very negative employee reviews. Of course, a hot topic right now that everyone asks about; does the company value diversity? Looking through the majority, if not all career sites these were questions I had to wait to ask in person.

Trying to find any information that was not generic like the job description, company information, etc. should not be as hard as it was. I ended up on LinkedIn spending a lot of time seeing if I could find employees to connect with and get any answers to my questions. Most career sites didn’t have a chat option either, which would have made it a lot easier and more likely that I would have applied to more companies than I did. An option to chat with employees shows the company takes pride in their employer brand and making sure they get quality hires. I’m sure you’ve gone through the job search journey and had a headache navigating a career site as well, and that’s before you’ve even filled out the lengthy application.

As a Gen Z, it is extremely important to know that I’ll be happy and valued in a company. I’m sure it has been shown that Gen Z and Millenials have no problem leaving a job we aren’t happy in and won’t apply to a company if we don’t have the impression they value their employees. Two topics most important to me are whether the company values diversity and allows internal mobility. This is because I want to learn as much as possible. Will I be able to progress in my role as my intention of getting a placement was to hopefully have a graduate Job already secured before I finished my degree. I think you can agree that one of the most frustrating things is to know you have the potential but you are constantly being overlooked, despite proving to have the skill.

Moving through the hiring process, companies did not seem to be as accommodating to internships/placements as much as their full-time roles. However, I was able to find a placement at Pathmotion, they took pride in their hiring process and ensured interns stayed long enough to get real value out of their time spent with the company. PathMotion’s career site allowed me to communicate directly with employees. This encouraged me to apply because I could read discussions on the questions I had, and I was able to ask an employee my question; “What are the core values and how are they shown in the company’s day to day”. When I received my answer, I loved the core values, which were: Family, Fun, Hard-work, and Passion.’

Update: ‘I have currently been in my placement for 4 months and I’ve already learned so much.’

So what’s next?

This is the best time, if any, to focus on getting the right content on your career site but, what format should this content take?

Alon Laniado, our cofounder, will discuss this in our upcoming webinar on the 14th April at 4 pm GMT, alongside the hidden topics within the pie chart. We will also be interviewing Charlotte Marshall and Bryan Adams on their newly launched book ‘Give and Get Employer Branding’. If you aren’t free to listen live, register anyway – we’ll send you the recording!