Employer Branding

What Candidates REALLY Look for in a New Job

All things being equal job seekers prefer to choose a new role not on the basis of salary or job title but for the sake of the employer brand and organisational culture. A Korn Ferry study found 73 per cent of respondents claim their number one driver at work is doing a job that has meaning and purpose, while only 3 per cent say pay is the top driver.

It’s important to understand what motivates each employee – their values, strengths and drivers – so as to engage, develop and retain the brightest and best in the organisation.

Identifying the great workplace

Gallup researchers have found that the best candidates approach their careers and places of work in similar ways:

  • They choose to work where there is an alignment with who they are, their values and belief system.
  • They are more likely to choose organisations that offer opportunities to apply their skills and optimise their potential.
  • They are attracted to jobs that offer challenges and opportunities to make a difference to others.
  • They enjoy intellectual or creative challenges and enjoy their work because it makes a difference to other people.
  • They consider which companies they will apply to and the company’s status within the sector; the best candidates do their homework and pay attention to “great workplace” lists and are more likely to apply to those that have won great workplace awards.
  • High-quality applicants are more likely to prefer roles that provide opportunities to learn and grow; their ideal job features professional development or growth opportunities.


Gallup points out that an employer brand that portrays a strengths-based culture is instrumental in attracting top talent. A strengths-based employer brand attracts job applicants who are motivated to use and develop their innate abilities, those who demonstrate energy and commitment to high performance and thrive in a demanding work environment.

Job seekers increasingly use social media as part of their search strategy and they’ll check Twitter and LinkedIn for insight into organisational culture and values. They will also use sites such as Glassdoor and Facebook in a sort of ‘reverse reference check’; Glassdoor found that the majority of job seekers read at least 6 reviews before forming an opinion of a company.

Improving recruitment

Research by consulting firm CEB found that through effective employer branding, businesses can improve the quality of candidates they interview and hire. They suggest some tactics to improve recruitment strategy:

  • One size does not fit all candidates, so tailor recruiting appropriately by considering which aspects of the organisation’s brand appeals to respective candidate segments and customise your approach for maximum appeal and outcome.
  • Help candidates to understand whether they will make a good fit with your organisation’s ways of working. If they aren’t a good fit, they’ll respect you more for helping them opt out early in the recruitment process.
  • Employees showcase your brand so create an internal network of brand ambassadors who understand the brand proposition and encourage them to promote the brand inside and outside the organisation.
  • Remember that a negative candidate experience will be widely shared. The majority of people who’ve had a bad experience during the application and recruitment process will tell at least three of their friends, and a significant number will tell considerably more and discourage others from applying.
  • Employer brand significantly affects organisational ability to attract, recruit and retain top talent in a dynamic and competitive marketplace so make sure it reflects your overall brand reputation and employee value proposition.

By Liz Sebag-Montefiore

Liz Sebag-Montefiore is a Co-Founder and Director of 10Eighty. With over 10yrs of business experience, I have an extensive and impressive blue chip client base. I have worked with numerous firms working in partnership with the client to understand their needs.

My current role involves managing relationships with clients, developing new business, and coaching individuals in their career. I really enjoy meeting new people and have strong client relationship and networking skills.