2016 Talent Attraction Study: How Top Performers Search for Jobs

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1 2016 Talent Attraction Study: How Top Performers Search for Jobs

2 Nearly everyone is actively looking for jobs, including top performers We ve all heard stories about how top performers create an abnormal distribution of impact in the workplace. One study finds 10% of productivity comes from the top 1%, and 26% of output derives from the top 5% that s 4X (or 400%) more than the average worker 1. There s no question this level of impact can be transformational to your business. But who are these candidates and how do they search for jobs? To find out, we surveyed 1,000 hiring managers and 4,000 job seekers about the most critical attributes associated with top performance and how people with these attributes find opportunity. We learned: Problem solving, drive, initiative, strategic thinking and self-direction are the most important attributes associated with top performance. 92% of top performers say they search for job opportunities at least a few times a year. 96% of top performers hired within the past year took an action to find a job 6 months prior to being hired. These insights confirm the majority of the workforce still actively pursues jobs, suggesting no one is passive about their career anymore. What s more, top performers who in the past may have been assumed to be passive candidates are equally active in their job search. Talent acquisition teams that embrace these trends will be better equipped to attract transformational talent to their organizations. Tara M. Sinclair, PhD Chief Economist, Indeed 1 THE BEST AND THE REST: REVISITING THE NORM OF NORMALITY OF 2 INDIVIDUAL IndeedPERFORMANCE, Personnel Psychology,

3 We identified 5 leading attributes of top performers Top performance can be defined differently by different people. In the most generic sense, based on our research, top performers have wellrounded personalities. They are quick learners, personable, helpful and efficient in their day-to-day work. But they also go beyond what is required of them, work well with others and communicate effectively. They listen to others, are open to feedback and criticism and have a strong desire to learn. For the purposes of this study, we conducted intensive one-on-one interviews with hiring managers about the people on their teams, asking them to identify the top performers and the attributes most associated with them. To identify the value of these attributes at scale, we surveyed 1,000 more hiring managers to pinpoint the most important attributes that indicate top performance. Think about the most impressive top performer you ve worked with at your current company or a previous company. What is the #1 attribute this person exemplified? Problem solving Drive Self-direction Strategic thinking Initiative Communication Adaptability Passion Ownership Collaboration Coachability Influence 36% 33% 29% 28% 27% 24% 21% 21% 19% 17% 13% 12% Source: Indeed employer study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: all respondents, N=1000) 3

4 Self-direction Self-starter, someone who initiates new assignments and challenges Strategic thinking Creative thinking, thinking outside of the box Initiative Seeks out ways to contribute, willingness to contribute but desire to lead Problem solving Ability to define a problem and then determine and implement a solution Drive Desire to succeed, goes above and beyond what is asked of them Source: Indeed employer study conducted by 4 Decipher/FocusVision Indeed (Base: all respondents, N=1000) 4

5 Hiring managers believe some of these traits are innate and others have to be learned Employers surveyed are more likely to believe drive, self-direction and initiative are innate traits identified in top performers, while problem solving and strategic thinking are more likely to be gained through experience. Which attributes do you believe are innate traits, and which ones do you believe can be mostly picked up on the job? Passion Innate Learned 71% 29% Drive 69% 31% Self-direction 68% 32% Intellectual curiosity 64% 36% Initiative 62% 38% Ownership 56% 44% Adaptability 54% 46% Strategic thinking 53% 47% Problem solving 50% 50% Coachability 47% 53% Communication 44% 56% Collaboration 41% 59% Source: Indeed employer study conducted by Decipher/ FocusVision (Base: all respondents, N=1000) 5

6 What makes this combination of attributes transformational in the workplace Drive, self-direction and initiative are attributes that would suggest an employee possesses the innate ability to take action, such as with a project at work or to actively engage in a job search. Problem solving and strategic thinking are complementary learned attributes. These would indicate an individual has successfully gained experience in these areas and applied them effectively on the job. Drive, self-direction and initiative Problem solving and strategic thinking Indicate effort and an innate bias toward action Indicate experience and the capability to learn how to do things effectively 6 Indeed 6

7 Almost all top performers actively seek new career opportunities Based on our findings, three of the top five attributes of top performance (drive, selfdirection and initiative) indicate an innate bias to action. This would suggest top performers are more likely to take an action to find a job, rather than wait to be pursued by a recruiter. Our research confirmed this idea by revealing more people are active in their job search today. This includes top performers, who are equally active. All job seekers 91 % 76 % say they look for job opportunities at least a few times a year look at new jobs monthly Top performers 92 % 77 % say they look for job opportunities at least a few times a year look at new jobs monthly Source: Indeed job seeker study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: employed adults, N1=2,678; employed adults self-identifying as being recognized for top performer attributes, N2=1,805) 7

8 Visiting an online job site is the #1 job search activity for top performers hired 96% used of top performers hired within the past year took an action to find a job 6 months prior to being hired. The majority of them online job sites to find opportunity. Prior to being hired at your current job, which actions did you take to look for job opportunities? Visited online job sites Subscribed to job alerts or notifications from online job sites Used a mobile job search app Looked at job opportunities on company career websites Asked friends/family for a referral Visited an online professional networking site Attended a career fair Accepted help from a recruiter 55% 54% 48% 45% 35% 25% 22% 19% Source: Indeed job seeker study conducted by Decipher/w (Base: employed adults recently hired and self-identifying as being recognized for top performer attributes, N=461) 8

9 Top performers are more confident in the jobs they find themselves, rather than jobs presented by a recruiter 62 % 56 % Agree Agree I would feel more confident a job is the right fit for me when I pick the company and apply rather than being contacted by an external party for the position. I think I would be more successful in a job I found and got on my own versus a job which I got through an external party (friend, recruiter, etc). Source: Indeed job seeker study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: employed adults self-identifying as being recognized for top performer attributes, N=1,805) 9

10 Aside from pay and benefits, most top performers choose a job based on work/life balance and location Other than competitive pay and health benefits, which of the following would most attract you to a new job? Good life/work balance 51% Good location 42% Other perks such as fitness benefits, commuter benefits, etc. 25% Clear path for advancement 22% Company mission/reputation 12% Source: Indeed job seeker study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: employed adults self-identifying as being recognized for top performer attributes, N=1,805) 10

11 Top performers are more likely than others to choose a new job based on company reputation and more challenging work They are more likely to They be attracted are more likely by: to be attracted by: 14 % 47 % Better work/life balance Better work/team environment 46 % 29 % Better company reputation More interesting, challenging work And they re 10% less likely to be attracted to a new job for better compensation or benefits Source: Indeed job seeker study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: employed adults self-identifying as being recognized for top performer attributes, N=1,805) 11

12 3 ways to attract more transformational talent Optimize inbound sources to reach more quality candidates Our research shows more people are using inbound channels to search for jobs and get hired, including top performers. To find more people with top performer attributes, optimize the recruitment channels they use most to search for jobs: online job sites, notifications and mobile. Use your employer brand to appeal to top performers Top talent are more likely than others to accept a new job for more challenging work, work/ life balance and a positive work environment. If these leading motivators align with your employer brand, integrate them into your job content, career site and recruiting process. Make it easy for top talent to apply to your jobs Many companies work hard to inspire talented applicants, only to turn them off during the application process. To avoid eliminating potentially transformational candidates early in the recruiting process, ensure your apply process is simple, mobile friendly and not overly complex. 12

13 Methodology Employer study Indeed conducted 15 in-depth 1:1 interviews with mid-level to senior managers within the United States and who had at least five direct reports. The objective of the study was to understand how managers perceive top performers, what attributes they believe top performers typically possess and what they believe are the most important attributes. The interviews were conducted online through the Revelation platform provided by FocusVision in February to March Following the interview phase, Indeed conducted an online survey with a sample of 1,000 mid-level to senior managers with at least five direct reports and from various industries across the United States. The survey respondents were asked to identify the top attributes most important in top performers and then asked to rank those attributes. The survey was hosted and fielded by the Decipher survey platform owned by FocusVision in March-April Job seeker study This survey was fielded online within the United States from March 16-22, 2016, among 4,000 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 2,439 employed and unemployed job seekers (1,439 employed adults and 1,000 unemployed adults) and 1,561 employed adults not currently looking for new opportunities, using the Decipher survey platform owned by FocusVision on behalf of Indeed. We identified top performers as the sample of respondents who are regularly recognized for work contributions and who reported their managers or peers have associated them with any of the attributes identified in our employer research listed on page

14 Definitions of attributes Below are the key attributes and definitions used throughout this study Drive Problem solving Initiative Self-direction Passion Ownership Strategic thinking Communication Adaptability Collaboration Coachability Intellectual curiosity Desire to succeed, goes above and beyond what is asked of them Ability to define a problem and then determine and implement a solution Seeks out ways to contribute most, but a desire to lead Self-starter, someone who initiates new assignments and challenges Enthusiasm or excitement for something, demonstrated passion, passion with substance Accepts ownership for their work Creative thinking, thinking outside of the box Communicates well with others Has the ability to be flexible in a changing environment, take on new tasks Works effectively in groups and with others, open to feedback from others Takes feedback and criticism and implements it Seeks self-improvement in areas that impact the business 14

15 About Indeed Hiring Lab The Indeed Hiring Lab is a global research institute committed to advancing the knowledge of human resource and talent management professionals worldwide. Led by Tara M. Sinclair, PhD, Indeed s Chief Economist and associate professor of economics and international affairs at The George Washington University, the Indeed Hiring Lab research agenda includes large-scale research projects, ongoing tracking and analysis of employment trends, and surveys of industry professionals. Indeed More people find jobs on Indeed than anywhere else. Job seekers can search millions of jobs on the web or mobile in over 50 countries. Each month, more than 180 million people search for jobs, post resumes and research companies on Indeed, and Indeed is the #1 source of external hires for thousands of companies. For more information, visit indeed.com/hire. hiring lab

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