The Disconnect Between Job Seekers and Human Resources

John Krautzel
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Although technology makes a job search and application process easier for job seekers, a survey conducted in 2016 shows a wide gap and disconnect on the human resources side of the job search equation. The survey, called the "Active Job Seeker Dilemma" provides an interesting look at how management views certain aspects of the process versus candidates. The results point to ways both sides can find common ground.

What the Survey Found

The survey discovered that 80 percent of human resources professionals prefer to find talent who is not currently looking for other employment. This passive job search occurs when HR staffers look through LinkedIn, recruiting agency files and social media to find people who are open to new opportunities. These people aren't necessarily active job seekers because they are happy in their current positions, but they keep their options open when companies come calling.

HR pros believe these passive job seekers have better experience, more valuable skills and a serious attitude regarding their careers. HR pros also look for soft skills beyond these three basic ones.

What Skills You Need

Job seekers should focus on several skills to impress the people responsible for hiring them, according to the nationwide survey. Great communication skills top the list for both candidates and employers. The second most-wanted skill for employers includes adaptability. Third is the ability to get results and accomplish goals.

Employees, on the other hand, think leadership ability and in-person collaboration skills come after fantastic communication. Teamwork also plays an important part in what job seekers think employers want. Based on these results, candidates feel a certain skill set serves them better compared to what HR staffers want from new hires.

What Employees Want

Employees want very specific things when it comes to rewards from employers. Staffers want bonuses and promotions above anything else, as they want to be rewarded for their hard work. HR pros who took the survey said recognition in front of co-workers comes first followed by bonuses and promotions. The benefit most favored by HR doesn't cost any money, whereas the bonuses and promotions earn employees higher salaries.

What About Flexibility?

Another disconnect between HR and employees comes with job satisfaction. In a study, 67 percent of employers felt as if their workers had a satisfactory balance between their work and personal lives. Unfortunately, only 45 percent of employees felt they had a good work-life balance. As many as one out of five employees said they spent up to 20 hours per week of personal time working on work-related tasks. Employees also felt workplace flexibility was a top benefit 75 percent of the time, while only 50 percent of HR professionals felt the same way.

Both employees and HR have the same goals regarding making the company better and working hard, but both sides seem to reach those goals differently. HR must balance finding top talent while saving money, while candidates must learn to say what they want from their employers without making HR seek out a less expensive candidate.

When HR knows what job seekers want and vice versa, they can adapt their methods to reach an understanding from day one. When that happens, companies have happier hires who remain engaged with employers.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Keith E thanks for your comment. Maybe that's true. However, HR is very involved in the hiring process - starting from the first moment when the need for a new position becomes apparent - or when they know that a current position is going to be vacant. They work with the hiring manager to create the job posting; to determine the qualifications of the perfect candidate as well as determine the salary. As resumes come in, they are in the forefront to be able to quickly review them, based upon the criteria, and get them to the hiring manager. Yes, this is after ATS has screened out all of the not qualified applicants. Then they are responsible for contacting references, doing background checks and writing up the offer. So they may have more of an idea what is needed than you might think.

  • Keith E.
    Keith E.

    A major part of the problem is that often HR is not really in the best position to identify the best prospective candidates; all they have is a general conceptual framework of the job requirements; often they cannot even relate to inquiries from prospective employees regarding specifics relating to the opening. In truth HR dies not really care what a prospective employee may want; all that they truly know is that someone in the firm expects them to fill a need for another body!

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