Looking for a job can be a difficult, lengthy journey, but so can the hiring process.

LinkedIn’s new report, based on a survey of more than 14,000 professionals across 28 countries, explores how and why candidates look for jobs, and what they expect throughout the process.

Below are four insights and advice from the social media giant on how to properly reach out to people and successfully hire for a job:

Candidates want to hear from you, and especially your hiring manager

According to LinkedIn, career FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing, meaning that the majority of candidates are afraid of losing out on a dream job opportunity and are therefore willing to hear you out. Recruiters with senior or executive titles tend to inspire more authority, however, so just as you’d rather take medical advice from a certified doctor, 56 per cent of survey respondents say they would be more likely to respond to a message coming from a company’s hiring manager.

And when it comes to reaching out, details about the position, salary range, and a company overview were ranked as the top content priorities for a first message. So while holding back some enticing information can add intrigue, recruiters should keep in mind what candidates want.

LinkedIn’s study also found that personalization and sounding human are also key aspects to a good first message.

Your website is your strongest resource, but social media also plays a key role

Candidates spend a lot of time gathering information before applying for a position, and subsequently, before an interview, with the majority pointing to a company’s website as their main source of information. Investing in a visually appealing site with an attractive layout, images, and print has been proven to drive more traffic, and having sections featuring authentic employee stories and real photos can inspire more trust in potential candidates. Having honest job descriptions with optimized titles and/or keywords can also increase visibility during Google searches, and possibly lead to more applications.

In addition, the survey notes that as social media continues to explode – not to mention the rising number of millennials entering the workforce – it will play an increasingly key role in attracting applications as well. Candidates expect companies to be on multiple social media platforms, and have working accounts that educate, entertain, and provide relevant information. Having a lot of followers gives the impression a company is doing something right, and having existing employees active on social media can also be a benefit.

Understand the candidate and their goals

To be successful at hiring, understanding the candidate and what they want is crucial. Compensation is the main reason people switch jobs, but finding a better fit, more growth opportunities, and more challenging work are also important factors. The report cautions those hiring to not rely solely on salary to hook candidates, but talk about company culture and impact to inspire more loyal employees. Professionals stay at their jobs because of good opportunities for growth and upward movement, so presenting such prospects at the hiring stage can be beneficial.

The interview process should be brief and you should come prepared, too

LinkedIn’s survey found that it generally takes two to three months for a candidate to move from application to hire, and this timeframe should be the benchmark for most hiring processes. A candidate is more likely to take the first of two equal job offers to avoid the risk of losing both, so a company has a better shot at a hire by being the first to offer.

And just as speed is important, so too is the number of interviews. Fewer keeps candidates fresh and excited about a company, rather than drained or left with a feeling of incompetence. Three interviews seems to be the magic number for majority of the study’s respondents.

While interviews are meant to see whether a candidate is a good fit, there’s a flipside to them as well. The company hiring is also being evaluated, and therefore needs to be prepared. LinkedIn advises that interviewers know their company’s mission and vision by heart, and leave room for questions. Candidates not only want to know more about the role they applied for, but also about the company itself and its culture, the team they could be working with, and any advancement opportunities.

Offering a behind the scenes look through office tours and meet ‘n’ greets with other employees, as well as the company’s leadership team, puts a personal touch on a candidate’s experience that could make all the difference. Providing feedback after an interview is also important, as many candidates want to know how they performed and value follow-ups.

You can read the rest of the report here.

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