In a tight hiring market, it’s essential that companies and recruiters provide candidates with a positive experience. If the hiring process is smooth and efficient, candidates are more likely to accept a job offer and recommend the company to their peers. 

But when does the candidate experience begin? For many applicants, it’s when they read the job advertisement. There and then, candidates form a strong first impression of the company that will influence their decision about whether to apply for the position.

To discover more about how candidates react to job ads, we surveyed 1,857 job applicants in the UAE from late September to mid-December 2021. Read on to discover more about the pivotal role job advertisements play in the candidate experience.

UAE how job adverts impact job applications

What is regarded as the most important element in job ads? 

We asked candidates what they regarded as the most important information contained in job ads, and one element stood out: job title. Almost six in 10 (59%) of those polled said job title is the key piece of data in any job posting, followed by salary (58%) and job location (39%).

Other pieces of information that candidates focus on include:

  • Company name (36%)
  • Position seniority (25%)
  • Publication date of the job ad (15%)

Candidates like to read!

In this busy world, it may surprise you to learn that 62% of candidates in our survey said they read the whole job advertisement. The remainder said they read 80-90% of the content.  
This preference for reading the whole ad may be linked to accessibility. 36% of those polled said they mainly use mobile devices to read job ads, and 33% use the same devices to apply for the position. And (27%) of candidates still use mainly desktop or laptop computers to submit the application. 

Form can be as important as content

Some recruiters are experimenting with original and creative formats for job ads. But the candidates we polled have different priorities. More than half (53%) said they prefer a professional, detailed format. Around 45% like having short and concise job advertisements, while 29% appreciate an ad that has subgroups with proper structure. 

Candidates want more information

Sometimes, candidates notice what isn’t included in job advertisements as much as what is. For example, almost nine in 10 (92%) of respondents think that job ads should include salary range.

A similar proportion (91%) like to see information about company culture, while 75% say there are interested in learning more about the organisation’s benefits and perks. 
Using job ads for benchmarking

Not all candidates read job advertisements because they’re interested in applying for the position. Some simply use the information to benchmark the salary and job description of the advertised role against their own terms of employment. However, only 22% of those surveyed say they use job ads to benchmark regularly (at least once a year), while 31% do it every 2-3 years. A large majority (47%) of respondents say they never use job ads for benchmarking.
Other sources of information

Even the most comprehensive job advertisement only tells the candidate a fraction of what they need to know about a company before accepting a position. Most candidates (92%) polled in our survey also look at the company website. 77% use online reviews on sites like Glassdoor to help them make an assessment while a lower proportion (72%) look at the organisation’s social media channels. Interestingly, about half (52%) of the respondents say they try to contact current or former employees to get inside information on the company.

To apply or not to apply?

Of course, not all candidates who read a job ad apply for the position. So, what are the factors that lead them to reject the opportunity?

For our survey respondents, the most important filter is qualifications. Almost half (46%) of the respondents say they don’t apply for a position if they feel over- or under-qualified for the role.

An equally important factor is regarding if the job ad was posted long ago. 46% of our respondents also say they wouldn’t apply for a position if the job ad was posted long time ago. 
Other criteria include salary (a determining factor for 44% of respondents), poor company reputation (38%) and inconsistencies or unclear job ad (33%). Recruiters and hiring managers should note that a full 22% of respondents say they wouldn’t apply for a position if it involved filling out long forms.

Key learnings for recruiters

Hiring managers and talent acquisition teams can learn the following from our survey data:

  • Candidates consider the job title as the top piece of information they look for before they apply. Employers should ensure the job titles are reflective of the skills and experience required from the role.
  • Candidates like job ads that are comprehensive and professional in both form and content. You risk missing out on top candidates if your ads are difficult to read or contain inconsistent information.
  • E-reputation and employer branding are vital! Before they apply, candidates will assess you and your company culture based on your corporate website, social media channels and employee review sites.

Towards a better candidate experience
Michael Page is committed to providing candidates with the best possible experience, for the benefit of both job seekers and employers. Our recruiters can connect you with top talent in your industry and location, so if you’re looking to hire, contact us today. If you’re looking for a job – and a great candidate experience – please visit our Candidate Help Centre.

Contact us today to learn how Michael Page can help you position yourself to attract the talent you need in the Middle East. 

Get in touch

If you are an employer and would like to talk to us about your current recruitment needs, or learn about the salary benchmarks and skills in demand, then please fill in the form below, and one of our consultants will call you back.

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