Candidate Experience Recruitment Marketing

10 Takeaways from the 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia

Candidate expectations are changing post-COVID-19. We took a look at Jobvite’s 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report and found 10 key takeaways and actionable tips to help focus your Recruitment Marketing strategy.

10 Takeaways from the 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report
5 (100%) 6 votes

Talent acquisition strategy is changing quickly as a result of COVID-19, with unemployment levels at a record high and remote work now mainstream. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s become an employer’s job market. Job seeker perceptions and behaviors are shifting quickly too. That’s why it’s important for us to stay informed on the latest industry data and recruiting trends.

So, we dug into this year’s 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report from Jobvite to learn how candidate expectations are changing so that we can focus our Recruitment Marketing strategy post-COVID-19. To help you make the most of these insights, we’ve gone through the report and identified 10 key Recruitment Marketing takeaways. We’ve also paired these takeaways alongside actionable tips that you can put into practice in the coming months. We hope this information is helpful as you continue to optimize your candidate experience and talent acquisition strategy in 2020.

The methodology for the Job Seeker Nation Report this year is unique as it was conducted in two waves. In February 2020, 1,500 employed adults and job seekers in the U.S. were surveyed. However, because the job hunting and employment landscape has changed so much as a result of COVID-19, Jobvite sent out a second round of surveys to another 1,500 job seekers in early April 2020. We believe this second round of surveys makes the following takeaways from this year’s report particularly relevant and useful to consider from a Recruitment Marketing perspective.

Lead with employer brand webinar from RallyFwd

Takeaway 1: People are craving longevity and stability

While many workers are changing jobs every few years, the Jobvite data also shows that employees of all ages are actually craving longevity when it comes to their employment options. And that trend is likely to increase as a result of COVID-19.

What this means for recruitment marketing:

Since people are prioritizing longevity and stability right now, it’s a good idea to create collateral along your candidate journey that showcases the stability of your organization. This will help to reassure candidates that your organization is a safe bet for their career.

You might consider developing content that showcases how your company is positioned to thrive (or at least carry on) despite the economic downturn. You can then share this content on social media, on your careers site and use it as the basis for an FAQ document that you share with your hiring team so they can comfortably answer candidate questions.

You might also think about ways that you can show candidates that a specific role they’re considering is important and not likely to be eliminated in the coming months. A few ideas for how to do this include reworking your job descriptions to explain the importance of each role and prepping hiring managers on how to address this in interviews.

Takeaway 2: A multi-channel approach is essential for talent attraction today

This year’s report reaffirmed that candidates find out about employment opportunities through a range of channels. There is no one place that stands out as the top spot to build awareness about your employer brand or a specific opportunity.

Candidates are instead learning about your jobs through a range of sources, including:

  • Online job boards (69%)
  • Friends (45%)
  • Social media (42%) (this is a 10% boost from last year’s survey!)
  • Professional connections (31%)

According to Jobvite’s 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report, online job boards are still the most popular way for posting job openings, with more modern methods quickly advancing.

What this means for Recruitment Marketing:

We need to continue to invest in a multi-channel approach when it comes to communicating our organization’s employer brand and attracting quality candidates.

To do this, you might consider conducting a candidate journey mapping exercise to identify all the questions a candidate might have throughout their experience (if you’re not sure how to approach this, here’s a guide and template we created).

From there, you’ll want to think about ways that you can provide content that answers candidate questions along each of your touchpoints so that job seekers can make informed decisions about whether your environment is the right fit for them.

Takeaway 3: Desktop job applications are still important

There has been a lot of coverage around the rise of mobile job applications in recent years. As a result, many organizations have focused a lot of time on improving their mobile candidate experience.

That’s great, but it doesn’t mean that desktop job applications are a thing of the past. In fact, the majority of job seekers (54%) are still submitting applications from their desktop computers. This number also increases slightly to 58% when the applicant is college educated.

Desktop job applications are still going strong, with the majority of job seekers still using this method over mobile. Source: Jobvite

What this means for Recruitment Marketing:

If you’ve spent the past couple of years focusing on improving your mobile experience, it might be time now to revisit your desktop experience too to ensure it’s staying up to speed with modern candidate expectations.

To get started here, it can be helpful to conduct an audit of your current desktop experience. This involves going through your end-to-end application experience yourself and submitting a mock application. Take notes of the spots that feel poorly branded, frustrating or overly time consuming, and then work to address and improve these in partnership with your job application technology vendor. You can learn more about whether or not the candidate experience lives up to what you say, where the disconnect may lie, and how to fix it with the Rally How to Guide: 6 Unbreakable Employer Brand Promises.

Takeaway 4: SEO is a critical marketing strategy for recruiting

When beginning their job hunt, candidates often rely on search engines like Google (56%) and free job search databases like Glassdoor and Indeed (60%).

What this means for Recruitment Marketing:

Talent acquisition teams need to be as skilled in SEO as their marketing peers. To stay competitive in recruiting, you’ll need to develop a Recruitment Marketing SEO strategy to ensure that your job ads are performing at their best.

If you’re currently sponsoring job ads on sites like Indeed or Glassdoor, you can work with your account managers to get some help on how to position your jobs to receive more views. Together you can review how your jobs have been performing historically and how you might improve this performance by modifying job titles, structure and word count. Glassdoor’s Courtney Bristow explains how to manage your employer brand reputation on Glassdoor and how to use the platform to recruit candidates for the Rally community. Watch the Video: Branded Employer Profiles, featuring Glassdoor.

It’s also important for every recruitment marketer to understand Google for Jobs (Workable has a good comprehensive resource on this). While many modern ATS and CRM vendors optimize your job postings for Google for Jobs automatically, you should check with your vendor to see if you’re covered or not as some still don’t take this into account. If you’re not covered by your tech partner, this article by Search Engine Land provides pretty thorough coverage on how to optimize your postings for Google.

Takeaway 5: The quality of your communications define your candidate experience

At Rally, we’ve been shouting from the rooftops that the better your candidate communications are, the better your candidate experience will be. You can improve your communications and forge deeper connections with your candidates with this checklist on 11 improvements to humanize your candidate experience.

The 2020 Job Seeker Nation Survey backs up this advice. 58% of candidates list good communications as the top factor that lead them to say they had a positive candidate experience. Likewise, it’s also the number one reason why candidates say they would define their candidate experience negatively.

58% of candidates list good communications as the top factor that lead them to say they had a positive candidate experience. Source: Jobvite

What this means for Recruitment Marketing:

Look for ways to modernize and improve your communication approach with candidates. Ask yourself if you’re taking advantage of modern technologies like email automation, text recruiting and chatbots to provide timely and consistent communications across the entirety of your hiring process.

In addition, assess the quality of your individual communications to ensure what you’re saying is compelling, engaging and appropriate in light of the current environment. Have you examined your automated ATS or CRM messaging since COVID-19? Do you need to create new communications to reflect your updated hiring process?

Takeaway 6: Texting is a must-have in recruiting

While we’re on the topic of communications, this year’s survey cements that text recruiting is here to stay. This is a communications method that many talent segments prefer over email — and the 98% response rates (vs. 20% by email) certainly reflect this!

What this means for recruitment marketers:

Find out if your ATS or CRM already has text recruiting functionality that your team can take advantage of. If there is no text functionality available within your ATS or CRM, there are a range of vendors that offer excellent services here including:, Grayscale, Mya,, iCIMS, TextRecruit and

You can use text recruiting to do initial reach outs to candidates, keep candidates in your talent pipeline warm, communicate updates in their hiring status and more. In addition, many HR teams are using text recruiting now to keep their employee base engaged and informed during the current public health crisis. Chloé Rada’s walked RallyFwd attendees through a text campaign about keeping tens of thousands of candidates employees updated during COVID-19 at this year’s virtual conference. You can watch a replay of the RallyFwd event here, including Chloé’s session, #WeAreInThisTogether: Crisis Communications with Impact.

If you’d like to learn more about ways to use text recruiting as part of your hiring process, you can take a look at the Rally How to Guide: Four Ways to Text the Modern Candidate.

Takeaway 7: Candidates are missing in-person interviews

This year’s Job Seeker Nation Report surveyed candidates right as the pandemic was breaking, and asked what their preferred interview method is given COVID-19. In those early days of the pandemic, 77% of people said they still would prefer in-person interviews over video, phone or other types of interviews.

This is likely because many candidates just aren’t as familiar with video interviews, but also potentially that no one was sure at the time what changes would be necessary to job seeking.

The report also revealed that only 50% of candidates under the age of 40 are comfortable with video interviews. And amongst an older demographic, of candidates aged 40 and up, only 39% feel comfortable.

In-person interviews are still the preferred method, even in the current COVID-19 job market. Source: Jobvite

What this means for Recruitment Marketing:

To address this, and to gain another opportunity to communicate your culture, you might consider creating a Virtual Interview Guide. This is a resource that provides detailed instructions on how to excel in a virtual interview. Ashley Walls from Arcadia recently penned a great piece for the Rally blog explaining how to develop this type of resource: How to Create a Virtual Interview Guide for Remote Hiring.

Takeaway 8: Company culture is a top consideration for candidates

81% of workers think company culture is somewhat or very important in the decision to apply for a job.

81% of workers think company culture is somewhat or very important in the decision to apply for a job. Source: Jobvite

What this means for Recruitment Marketing:

According to our own poll of RallyFwd attendees, 81% said that company culture will change as a result of the pandemic. It’s crazy that the same percentage of candidates said that company culture is important! So we need to continue to find ways to communicate our company culture across all of our candidate touchpoints to encourage quality candidate conversions.

This is even more essential for organizations who have gone completely remote because of COVID-19, or who are moving to a contactless hiring process. While candidates typically learn about your culture digitally through the first series of interactions and touchpoints they have with you, they are often able to confirm that this is your authentic culture through their in-person interviews and onsite visits.

In-person interviews provide a sense of the employee experience and the teams they’ll be working with. Since candidates are now missing out on these inputs, we need to find ways to still provide that information to them. For example, perhaps you can develop content that provides an overview of what your current remote culture looks like? Or you can share a video office tour so that the candidate has a good sense for the environment they may be working in when it’s safe to be back in office.

Takeaway 9: Internal candidates may not be hearing about your opportunities

According to the report, 65% of employees never or rarely check their company’s internal job postings. 19% checked in on internal opportunities at least once a week pre-COVID, which only increased to 25% post COVID.

The majority of your employees probably aren’t checking your company’s internal job postings. Source: Jobvite

What this means for Recruitment Marketing:

Our current employee base represents an extremely important talent segment. By marketing opportunities to our current workforce, we can help to keep them engaged, ensure talent remains with our organization over the long term and support new candidate attraction efforts too (since candidates want to work at a place where they can experience career growth!).

Think about ways that you can leverage different internal channels to market opportunities to your current employees. According to the report, people want to hear about new opportunities from their managers most, versus relying on channels like Slack or your company intranet.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to re-recruit your workforce effectively, you can also take a look at this Rally blog post: 3 Ways Your Employer Brand Can Re-Recruit Your Employees, by Charlotte Marshall from Danaher.

Takeaway 10: Now is a good time to engage your employees as advocates for your employer brand

The Job Seeker Nation Report identifies, given the current climate, that more employees are open to sharing job openings from your organization on social media now than before. The survey found that 33% of workers today are ‘very likely’ or ‘pretty likely’ to share job openings at their companies via social media, compared to 26% prior to COVID.

In addition, 38% of employees say their organizations don’t make it easy for employees to share job opportunities and another 23% aren’t sure how easy it is (which means it’s probably not that easy!).

What this means for Recruitment Marketing:

This could be a great time to build an employee advocacy program as organizations pull together to get through this crisis, but be sure it’s the right time at your company.

You can start small. If your organization has only a few roles open, your action might be as straightforward as sending out a weekly email or Slack to all of your staff with open roles and shareable links.

If you have a larger organization and a higher volume of roles, it may make more sense to invest in a proper employee advocacy platform if you have the budget. A few platforms that we know of here include Everyone Social, Post Beyond, Bambu by Sprout Social and Hootsuite Amplify (but there are many others!).

You can also use these tools or internal channels to encourage employees to share branded content about your organization, culture and EVP, alongside specific job descriptions. A #lifeat[company] hashtag is another great way to activate your team.

We hope our breakdown of this report — plus our actionable tips — provide you with some new insight to use to refresh your recruiting strategy and communicate more effectively with candidates. If you’d like to find out more and see the data for yourself, you can take a look at the full 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report here.

Lead with employer brand webinar from RallyFwd

10 Takeaways from the 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report
5 (100%) 6 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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