The Talent Scout Episode 36: Scout Talent Candidate Survey 2020
4 minutes | Posted 03 November, 2020

Once again, we’ve completed our Annual Candidate Survey. We shared the core of our findings on our recent webinar. You can watch that here.

Who did we survey

In terms of who we surveyed, Scout Talent works with clients across Canada, Australia, and on occasion the United States, and the United Kingdom. We help these clients fill open roles by supporting their recruitment efforts, and really becoming an extension of their respective teams, by managing as much or as little of their recruitment process as they need.

For our Candidate Attraction Survey, our Canadian team reached out to all of the candidates we had attracted as part of our recruitment efforts for our clients since January 1st 2020. In terms of a statistical breakdown, 375 candidates responded with their feedback which was 5.5% of the total survey group of 6819. 80.9% of respondents were from across Canada.  The remainder were either from the United States, the United Kingdom, or preferred to keep their location anonymous. Responses were from candidates across all industries and at all levels of seniority because that is how we work as an organization. In terms of age and gender, we had a diverse population of responses.

How are candidates approaching recruitment in the current pandemic

The first thing that we used this data to assess was how are candidates approaching recruitment in the current pandemic. I think a lot of us have a gut feeling on the sentiment of candidates in this pandemic and recession and to a certain extent the data supports this, but there were some curveballs:

  • 6% of candidates have been looking for a new role for more than 2 months and 23.7% of candidates are applying for 10 roles a month. It’s likely these groups of candidates that are putting a lot of pressure on our current recruitment processes.
  • Though it’s worth noting this does not reflect on all candidates or all roles. Roles that were hard to fill before the pandemic likely still are and this is reflected in the 29% of candidates that applying for two roles or less.
  • Interestingly 53.1% of candidates expect their earning potential to increase within the next 12 months.
  • While 36.6% of candidates would consider changing industries as a result of COVID-19

There are a couple of key takeaways here, and for me these are:

  • First and foremost that while there are indeed more candidates in the market for a number of roles, this does not apply to all roles and it does not mean there are more quality candidates available.
  • As more than half of candidates are expecting their earning to increase within the next 12 months it is pretty safe to assume that this sentiment is reflected among the employed workforce as well. This information needs to be used to guide people strategies going forward so that you don’t hemorrhage top talent down the line when vacancies become more plentiful again.
  • Finally, when looking at COVID specifically, 72.9% of candidates stated that how an organization treated its staff during this pandemic would influence their decision to work there. This means that you need to make a case study of how you’ve navigated the pandemic and use this information as part of your recruitment collateral going forward. Equally, if you’ve not been supporting your people during this pandemic then now is the time to change course. It’s not going to be forgotten and the war for future top talent could be lost by poor treatment of your people today.

What factors are important to candidates when applying

We also asked our respondents to tell us what was most important to them when it came to whether they would apply for a role or not. Before I get into it I really want to labour the point that these are factors that would sway whether a candidate applies for a role or not, they aren’t factors that are important to an individual when they are within a role and shouldn’t be confused as such. With that said, the top 5 most important factors to candidates when it came to deciding whether to apply for a role or not were:

  1. Doing work that utilizes my skills and talents
  2. Good leadership team
  3. Salary
  4. Training & Development Offered
  5. Benefits

This may all seem exceptionally obvious to you, and yet I have to ask the question – how visible is this information in your job description? If this is the information that is going to sway a candidate to apply then it should be a cornerstone of your job description, careers page, and employer branding. It shouldn’t be hard for candidates to find this information. Yet judging by what I see on LinkedIn and Indeed, these factors are seldom included in a job description and when they are it is just lip service.

As well as all of this we invited our respondents to free text respond with information around the pain points that they are currently experiencing in the recruitment process.

After reading through all of the responses the themes of issues that jumped out at me were around Communication, Flexibility with Qualifications, Recruitment Process Length, & Feedback.

I don’t think any of these issues are overly shocking to any of us. In the case of Flexibility with Qualifications, many candidates felt that their years of experience were being overlooked because of a lacking education or designation.

In the case of Communication, Feedback, and Recruitment Process Length these issues are relatively self-explanatory and while they can’t be solved by a robust ATS they can certainly be mitigated by the right ATS.


Candidates are ultimately tired of feeling like a number in a machine and investing energy in an organization that they never hear from again. Instead of treating your candidates like a number you can use your ATS’s automation in order to give them moments of joy and make them feel like a human.

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just a couple of well crafted automated messages triggered by a status change in order to allow your candidates to know where they are in the process and feel respected by your organization. This will also give you more time and leeway before candidates feel like a recruitment process has been going on for too long.

If you’d like to see how Scout Talent can help you to achieve the recruitment success that you want, please feel free to reach out to us via email at or by phone at 1 866 474 3140