How to create tailored content for information-hungry candidates

HR leaders know that salaries and career opportunities are no longer the only concerns for candidates; every study on this subject clearly shows that issues like work/life balance and being intellectually challenged are now top of the list. The question is, do you cover these increasingly important issues, and critically, do you cover them exhaustively?

Here, we focus on how to meet the increasing demand for sector and candidate level content, according to market research and our own research tracking over 1,000,000 candidates a year on our discussion platforms.

Candidates’ information requirements are complex and constantly evolving

In the “war for talent”, our research shows that providing candidates with sufficient information is the number one factor for a great candidate experience. For 90% of those interviewed, their candidate experience could change their mind about taking a role with a company.  

HR professionals know that jobseekers have certain types of common concerns (e.g. work/life balance, a friendly working environment), and that it’s important to ensure these key issues for candidates are covered in their communications. However, our research also shows that this isn’t enough on its own – to attract top talent, HR needs to go further, addressing sector-level and candidate-level issues as well. Because the questions asked by candidates don’t always fall into fixed categories, meaning that critical information will be missing from communications. 

The leaderboard of candidate concerns varies significantly from one sector to another, even though there are common themes. Looking at three concrete examples – banking, law, and information technology (IT) – you can see how candidates’ expectations vary in nature and ranking depending on sector.

  • In the banking sector, candidates want to have, in order of importance: intellectual and competitive challenges, a good work/life balance, and the opportunity for an international career 
  • In the legal sector (in the UK), candidates want to feel proud to work at their chosen organisation, get time off when they need it, and like to feel informed about what’s happening in the organisation
  • And in IT, candidates give priority to pay and benefits, long-term job security second, and then atmosphere at work third.

It’s also worth remembering that the candidates you’re looking for may come from unexpected places. And if they come from a different sector, they may have some preconceptions about what working for you will be like. For example, if a woman holds a high-tech degree, she may not consider going into finance, a sector currently known for gender inequality and poor work/life balance. Similarly, an accounting student may not be initially interested in the legal sector, where 95% of employees report severe or even extreme stress.   

Candidates also look for very specific information on their own circumstances. These can relate to academic eligibility, as shown by a question on Deloitte’s platform from Prafulla P., “Hi there, I am PhD student in Offshore Wind Energy at Newcastle University, are there any opportunities for me?”. Candidates also ask questions related to possible complications in the process: Max J. submitted a question to Citi’s PathMotion platform, “Is dyslexia classed as a disability? I don’t consider myself to be disabled. But is it something I need to disclose in my application?” His question would not have been addressed in more general content about applications on the careers site. 

These concerns are also not fixed: they evolve over the course of the candidate journey. Applicants ask questions later in the process that they weren’t thinking about at the beginning. The topics discussed change and progress from day to day, and not always in a predictable way. A question may arise after an interview – either with your company or a competitor. Here is an example of this in action on the EY PathMotion platform from candidate Konstantinos T.:

The solution: customise information to ensure comprehensiveness

Recent years have seen the development of recruitment methods, particularly digital and social approaches. Careers sites offer rich information and regularly publish testimonials that can give candidates an idea of what a typical day is like. FAQs have become complete and more accurate, covering a large number of topics, such as the requirements to apply. These tools are part of a good recruitment strategy, but they’re also only the beginning. Developing excellent content to fully meet the increasing demand for ever more specific and individual candidate concerns will set you apart from the competition. 

While an up-to-date and modern careers site is something Millennials and Gen Z candidates are looking for, you shouldn’t stop at a redesign. That will only address part of the problem. To attract the best of the best, you need to go a step farther, providing exhaustive and tailored content.

What content, how to produce it, and where to place it?

As mentioned above, the information requirements of candidates are:

  • Specific to each sector
  • Specific to each type of profile
  • Personal and case-by-case
  • Progressive, changing over the course of the candidate experience

These requirements should inform how you produce and distribute content. It should cover all the issues that may be raised, at both sector and candidate level. One solution is to provide a platform for candidates to submit their questions and read the questions and answers others have asked previously. As for the answers, who better than your employees to provide them? 53% of respondents from an Edelman survey consider employees to be the most credible spokespeople to talk about the company and its mission.

In addition, you also need somewhere to store all of this information, while still allowing candidates to browse the content that interests them throughout their application process, and it needs to be sustainably updated with new information.

Your website is the main intermediary between you and your various stakeholders, so it is essential to develop a real content strategy for your site as well as your social networks.

The new generation of careers site offers candidates all the information they are looking for through three main methods:

  • The constant addition of content, including videos shot by employees themselves and/or embedded social media news feeds
  • Talent management tools, designed to promote special information to candidates
  • Discussion platforms where employees can directly answer questions from candidates

For more insights on how to improve candidate experience, and how to create tailored content, download our ebook “Content is King – Human is Ace: The Truth About Candidate Experience”.