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 500 UAE National job applicants from late September to mid-December 2021. Read on to discover more about the pivotal role job advertisements play in the candidate experience.

Emiratisation Survey Job Application and Candidate Experience

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 (57%) and job location (41%).

Other pieces of information that candidates focus on include:

  • Company name (35%)
  • Position seniority (23%)
  • Publication date (15%)

Candidates like to read!

It may surprise you to learn that 61% 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. Many candidates now view job postings on their mobile devices. Over one-third (43%) of those polled said they mainly use mobile devices to read job ads, and 42% use the same devices to apply for the position. And (19%) 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 24% appreciate an ad that has subgroups. 

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%) like to see information about company culture.  A similar proportion (90%) of respondents think that job ads should include salary range, while 77% 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 20% of those surveyed say they use job ads to benchmark regularly (at least once a year), while 33% do it every 2-3 years. A large majority (48%) 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. The vast majority of candidates (92%) polled in our survey also look at the company website. 81% use online reviews on sites like Glassdoor to help them make an assessment and a lower proportion (76%) look at the organisation’s social media channels. Interestingly, about half (56%) 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. 39% of the respondents say they don’t apply for a position if they feel over- or under-qualified for the role. 

The second most important factor is job ad posted long ago. 35% of our respondents say they wouldn’t apply for a position if the job ad was posted long time ago. 
Other criteria include poor company reputation (30%), salary (a determining factor for 29% of respondents) and inconsistent job ad (25%). Recruiters and hiring managers should note that a full 19% 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:

  • UAE National candidates weigh heavily on the job title when deciding to proceed to applying for the job after reading the job ad. Employers should ensure the job title is reflective of the experience and skills expected from the candidate and this should be prominently displayed in the ad.
  • You risk missing out on top candidates if your ads are unstructured, 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, learn more about our Emiratisation recruitment services and contact us today. If you’re looking for a job – and a great candidate experience! – please visit our job search board.

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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