The high skill-set requirements of the life sciences industry often means that employers are trying to find the perfect match to their organisation from an increasingly limited pool of candidates. Making a job role stand out from the crowd has never been more important, but our latest research in the Hays What Workers Want 2018 report shows that many employers are missing out on talent as a result of avoidable obstacles in their job application processes. 63% of candidates tell us they have at some time been deterred from completing job applications as a result of a negative experience with an employer’s application process – something that employers need to take action to fix if they want to keep their advantage in the competition for talent.
In our new report, we look at the ideal applicant journey through four stages: Search, Apply, Decide and Join. Our report shows a sizeable gap between an employer’s perception of the quality of the applicant experience they provide, and the reality experienced by life sciences job applicants.
One of the keystones of this application journey is the job advert itself, yet these are often overlooked. Our research shows that misleading job advert content is one of the most common reasons for life sciences professionals to leave a job within the first 12 months; 41% of respondents cite it as a reason. Additional information that life sciences candidates seek when researching potential employers includes working environment/culture information (sought by 64% of candidates) and product and service information (53%). This is not being provided frequently enough by employers, with only 17% and 30% respectively making it available. This disparity could be addressed through the more effective use of job adverts.
So, what do organisations need to include in a job advert to give them the best chance at attracting talent?
1. Avoid ambiguous details
Life sciences candidates could be deterred by an advert that omits critical information or is vague on details. The majority (90%) want a detailed description of the role itself, with a further 73% saying that detailed role requirements are important. It is therefore critical to provide sufficient detail on exactly what your vision is for this job, and what they will need to successfully apply. If this information is incomplete it can not only deter candidates from applying at all, but also lead to recruiting applicants with mismatched expectations to yours, who may not stay long with your organisation.
2. Anticipate what candidates want to see
When preparing your job adverts it’s also important to recognise that whether they are applying via a recruitment agency website, careers portal, job board, or social network, candidates will be filtering their search results. The top two criteria for life sciences candidates when conducting a job search were location (73%) and salary (58%). However, only 33% of employers always include salary information in job adverts, potentially missing out on candidates who will not consider applying without this information. It is important that this information is accurate and aids candidates in their search, otherwise the risk is that they simply will not apply.
3. Be clear at every stage
Your job advert may be the first thing an applicant sees, but the content you provide about your organisation needs to be consistent at every touchpoint of the applicant journey. Ensure your recruiters and interviewers are able to talk about all aspects of the job description and advert. You should also consider what is being said about you on employee review sites, and if necessary take steps where these reviews may contradict the image you are portraying through your own channels.
For more detailed insights into how employers can hone their application process to attract top talent, you can request your copy of the Hays What Workers Want 2018 report here.