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5 Things Job-Seekers Want in 2014

By Val Matta

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (TheStreet) -- You probably know what you want out of a potential employee. Someone who has a great reputation. Someone who creates results. Someone who's in it for the long run. While these are all good qualities, have you stopped to think about what job-seekers want? Reports indicate that a great brand, responsiveness and reputation all factor into candidate perception. But, with the majority of job-seekers still pessimistic about the job market, are you a contributing factor to the job search blues?

It's no secret the job search is pretty brutal -- for candidates and employers. But a lot of the discontent job-seekers feel comes down to how they navigate through the job search process. Failing to understand their needs could take away great candidates.

Remember that you're in as much of a job interview as the job-seeker. With that in mind, take a peek at what job-seekers want in 2014:

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Open communication

A recent survey indicated that 75% of workers who applied to jobs using various resources in the past year never heard back from the employer. Although you may be busy, failing to respond to candidates is not acceptable. Other than being bad practice, it's not good for your brand, either: 22% would tell others not to work there.

In 2014: Respond to every candidate. Give them a point of contact, as well. Even if this needs to be automated, keeping job-seekers informed on their status helps them plan their searches better while opening the lines of communication.

Better job descriptions

Here's a startling statistic: 43% of job-seekers found out during the interview that the job didn't match what was written in the ad. If you're not creating awesome job descriptions, you're going to get the wrong candidates. Plain and simple. This wastes your time, wastes the job-seekers' time and creates a whole slew of inefficiencies.

In 2014: Create job descriptions with as much detail as possible, from what the employee would do on a day-to-day basis to salary information to how you measure success. You can also point them to your career site, which can house items such as current employee testimonials and client videos.

Mobile accessibility

The world has gone mobile. Isn't it time you caught up? Reports indicate that two in five candidates say their perception of a company is hurt if a company career site is not optimized for mobile. You could lose out on some quality candidates who would rather apply to a company that is up to speed with the latest technologies.

In 2014: Create a mobile career site and ensure all your job postings are mobile friendly. It's particularly important if you're posting jobs on social media channels, since many job-seekers use their smartphones or tablets to navigate through them.

Knowledgeable leaders

Imagine if you were in an interview and the hiring manager had no idea what was going on. You'd be pretty put off, right? Well, it happens: 34% of professionals reported that a company representative didn't present a positive work experience, and an additional 30% believed the company representative didn't seem to be knowledgeable. If you don't know what you're talking about, how can you expect quality candidates to pursue the opportunity?

In 2014: Read up on the job! In addition, meet with your team and ask them exactly what they're looking for. This can help you to understand the job a little better and communicate goals more effectively.

Flexible work environments

Flexible work environments, which include remote or telecommuting options, make life more manageable. While it may not be something you offer just yet, job-seekers are into it. Nearly three-quarters of Americans say flexibility is one of the most important factors they consider when looking for a job or deciding what company to work for. This is up more than 10% from last year.

In 2014: If you can't offer complete flexible work environments, communicate that you strive to make the workplace as efficient as possible, which can include telecommuting options if an employee is sick; as a reward; or as a once-a-week offering.

What do you think? What are some other things job-seekers want in 2014?

Val Matta is vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job-seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.

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