Voice of the Candidate: Remote Work is Here to Stay

Since 2020, PandoLogic and Tracey Parsons, CEO of Parsons Strategic Consulting, have partnered together to research the Voice of the Candidate. This quarterly study leverages social listening tactics to understand what candidates think, feel, and do during the job search. In our latest installation, we unveil the most important takeaways from our Q3 2022 findings in a conversation with Tracey and Jenny Cotie Kangas (JCK), Director of Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding and Awareness at PandoLogic. Together, they discuss the first of 5 key takeaways: remote work. They reveal what the demand for remote work means for employers and how they can cater to these changing needs and tailor their hiring strategies for the candidate. Listen or read below to learn more.

TRACEY (TP): Hey, JCK. How are you today?

JENNY (JCK): I’m doing great. Tracey. I am repeating that. I’m excited aspect because I’m so excited for our conversation and just the ability to be able to chat on these topics today.

TP: I know, lean into that too because I’m feeling it as well like I’m just pumped like normally. So context for everybody joining us today for the first time. This is our first in a series of videos where we’re talking about the Voice of the Candidate research that my firm has been doing with PandoLogic for the last, I don’t know, 18 months or change. And so we’ve been doing these written reports and JCK and I just started working together on. I was like, what if we did video and she was like, yeah to video. So that’s what we are doing today, everybody.

JCK: And we’re so excited about it and so just to kinda frame this up, what we’re doing is we’re taking data from PandoLogic. So, I’m Jenny, JCK Codie Kangas. I am the director of Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding and Awareness at PandoLogic. And PandoLogic is a company that helps you move from your gut instincts with the top of your funnel in terms of how you’re building your Talent Acquisition strategy to true data insights. And so, one of the powers that we have at our disposal is copious amounts of data about… how job advertisements are performing in the market. And so what we’re going to do today is actually just kinda bring the research that I’ve got on my side along with the research that she’s got on her side. If Tracey just wants to give a little bit of a quick intro to what that research is.

TP: Absolutely. And again, if you don’t know me, I’m Tracey Parsons. I’m the CEO of Parsons Strategic Consulting and joyful partner of PandoLogic. And we’ve been partnering on this content and it’s called “Voice of the Candidate.” So, what are the candidates saying? A, and what we started doing about a year and a half ago was broad-scale social listening. And if you’re not familiar with the idea of social listening, but you are already on LinkedIn and you are posting things to the public about your job and about your work and about what you’re doing. There is software out there that’s listening to everything that you’re saying online in a public forum. And so what we…

Catch Up On The Latest Voice of the Candidate Reports

JCK: Like why would I need to listen? What’s the value in that?

TP: Well, to your earlier statement, JCK, we have been doing a lot of work in recruiting and Talent Acquisition that is very focused on what we think we know about the audience and the gut reaction that we have to. Well, what are the candidates doing? Well? This is what they’re doing. I’m just here to tell you that we don’t know and we’ve never known until we really started listening to it. And I wanna very strongly delineate there’s two types of listening there is listening to respond, which is what we have historically been doing. And then there is listening to understand. So if you listen to understand, you’re gonna hear what the candidates actually need, want, desire, think, feel and do when it comes to this very nebulous concept of a candidate experience.

JCK: I love that answer. Sorry to just pause you there to make sure that we’re able to level set that. I think it’s so important as we’re jumping into these conversations to not assume that people understand the definitions of these concepts that we often can drop without, you know, calibrating to make sure that there’s alignment and what I call something and what you call something, right? So thank you so much for taking a moment to do that. And I will let you keep going back to your response.

TP: Well, and so, really what we’re trying to do is all of those public conversations that are happening on the internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week across the globe, we’re indexing all of those conversations and making sense of them, and kind of diving into very specific conversations that job seekers are having. So when I say a conversation, when somebody posts a tweet about their job search, we’re indexing that we’re looking at the sentiment, we’re looking at the passion intensity. We’re looking at the volume. And if you don’t know what, at all, what I’m talking about and don’t think this is a big conversation. It is insanely huge conversation. It is bigger than the super bowl. It is bigger than the askers, it is bigger than the world cup. It is bigger than all of these conversations because it is a very human experience, right? I, and we’ve all seen the job market. So what is interesting to me is watching this happen over the last maybe 10 years since I’ve been looking at candidate conversations is that it has grown because our audience has grown a much more comfortable expressing their opinion and their ideas and what they’re looking for than ever before.

JCK: Amazing. Amazing.

TP: So, I think one of the things that we pulled out of the Q3 data. So what we’re going to be talking about on this series is different insights that we pulled from the queue three report on the voice of the candidate. So all of that social listening, there are five key insights. And today we’re going to be talking about the first one which is the demand around remote, right? And if you look at all of the news reports and you look at all the things that people are talking about, they’re like back to office, everyone we’re going back to work, we’re going hybrid. And what we have found is that your job seekers, they’re looking for remote. In fact, that conversation grew in Q3 from Q2 by a 34 percent. So it doubled plus the.

JCK: Yeah. And how did the, how was the net sentiment of that conversation? Just like before we move into that? If you could just kinda give us a bit of a definition in Tracey words like Tracey speak, right?

TP: Yeah. So, net sentiment is the percentage of conversations that are positive versus negative, right? So if it’s a positive. And again, this is doing machine learning and natural language processing to understand where there’s positive intent or negative intent. It’s doing it’s. Starting to do more around sarcasm which I think is really interesting on the internet. They’re getting a little bit better than that. So, net sentiment is looking at how positive or negative the conversation is. And the other thing that we’re looking at is how passionate is the conversation? And passionate intensity is marked by love and hate, right? So the more love-hate conversations we have during like dislike, makes it a more passionate conversation, right? So if something has a very low net sentiment and a very high passion intensity, they… angry.

JCK: Great, right? Yes.

TP: And you can see it like we see it in the word clouds. We see it across the board, what they’re mad about. So diving into this remote conversation, if you compare it to the overall conversation, remote is 37 percent more positive than the overall conversation. So they like this, they like this a lot, right? And it’s an important and growing conversation. So we see the volume of this conversation really increasing. We’re seeing strong net sentiment around it and it’s growing. It’s a really important conversation to, for us to be tracking and continually tracking because it’s what they want. But the question that I have for the PandoLogic team is, you know, are we struggling to deliver?

JCK: It’s a great question. In Q3 that our job titles with work from home in that our data show that job titles would work from home in the title performed better. So jobs with of age as an acronym because we love acronyms and HR had a much higher conversion rate. And when we talk about conversion, it’s that ability to take it from high. So somebody’s looking at this and then the conversion to the desired action, which the desired action here is either going to be that click or it’s going to be that apply, right? So we’re seeing a higher conversion rate at 23 percent increase in conversion for jobs that had that work from home in the title, right? Which is really important. And it’s an important signal to make sure that we’re helping to share with all of you who are out there and trying to impact your Talent strategies as you go into 2023.

TP: Which is really interesting because for me, like as a researcher as somebody who deeply cares about what candidates want and what we can deliver. What I heard you say is just so I can fast food this for everybody is what I heard JCK say is that I’m telling you that candidates want remote and when they are delivered remote opportunities, they convert at a higher rate. So when we listen and deliver, they do what we want them to do. A shock; get out of here.

JCK: Here is to take that, what are candidates saying they want? And what are candidates actually doing? And bring those together into one conversation. This is like a Yin and Yang here, right? Like as you’re building your strategies, you want to be listening to what your population is asking for. And then you also want to be matching that with the performance of what we’re seeing in the data. And it is through kind of like taking those two pieces together where we start to really, you know, get Talent Acquisition, right? And so one important thing to note is that jobs with work from home and the title, it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
And what I mean by that is, you know, it’s really important to remember that foundationally the way that search has been set up has been anchored right on location. So now all of a sudden we have this concept of remote being work from anywhere within, you know, within some guard rails typically like the us, right? But our infrastructure requires that zip code usually in order to geofence where that’s going. And that’s just again to give a definition to ensure that job gets to the right location. So, eyes of people who are in that different location, I’m gonna pause there and ask if Tracey has any questions as I, as I’ve seen this up, well.

TP: And what I think is fascinating about this concept, JCK is that… you hit the nail on the head for me that we are dealing with a historical infrastructure that is not set up today for modern work, right? And I think back to my earliest days working with job boards and placing inter ads on the internet for work. And it was, you were coming to a specific location. So when you were putting that job add up, you know, back in the day, I was going to use net groups because I’m that old and posting it on the location, use that group because the location mattered and we just stopped evolving when it came to location, right? And when I think about like the experiences that I have with my customers and they’re talking about remote and then they’re like, no, no, no, we’ve got to call it Talent work because there’s a remote location called remote Oregon and it’s gonna in back, right? So, there are infrastructural challenges to what the candidates are asking for, right? And how are we going to overcome those? That’s one of the things that I keep trying to like racking my brain for solutions like when you go to indeed or any job board or any Google search, or any search at all, and you’re looking for remote… how do we get the data there, right?And this is a bigger problem than candidate listening and PandoLogic, like, this is an industry-wide challenge. I really believe because we are really working with some data infrastructure and concepts like not everybody works at an office anymore, as you can see by our office.

JCK: We are at our homes right now. Your window into our actual lives, no Zoom backgrounds. This is just truly where we work, right? Such an important piece. So there’s one thing that like Tracey just shared, I just wanna make sure to double-click on it. There’s a place called Remote, Oregon. So how do you overcome that with your own strategies? How are you going to optimize being that our underlying infrastructures do not track right to what user demand is requiring? So like, how can you overcome that? So like what one of the things that we do at handle logic, we’re the partner that can help make sure what is the problem, what are you trying to achieve? And then we’ve got almost like data brokers essentially in the back end or like stock brokers that are gonna make sure that job gets in that place. So we’re taking that manual aspect of having to put it in all these different places. Sometimes we’re expanding it, right? When expanding means like I might have that job anchored in one place, but I’m also gonna make sure it’s going to Austin or to Denver or to la or to wherever we’ve got populations of candidates of my specific persona that I’m trying to hire. And I’m using a lot of big words here. So I’m gonna pause before I get too passionate. So Tracy could ask me any questions as it relates to that answer that I just gave.

TP: How, like if you think historically like how are we overcoming this? And one question I think I read asked that, but how are we overcoming it? But like if I think about the technology that is available, is it an opportunity for us to say, my goodness, we’re getting a tremendous amount of traction on this job that’s worked from anywhere in this specific location. Let’s double down there. Is that possible?

JCK: 100%, 100%. So that like post and pray like spread the peanut butter methodology that we’ve historically had in Talent acquisition, we don’t necessarily have to do that. What I mean by that, if you think about like your investment strategies to like how you invest in stocks, right? Tracey, like I don’t wanna take let’s say 10,000 dollars and just spread that evenly over every different like stock that’s out there, right? I wanna make sure that the dollars that I’m spending are where there has been performance. That same concept translates to Talent acquisition that’s a programmatic job advertising is really instead of going off of your gut instinct. So I give you 1,000 dollars and you, hey, and say, like, hey go put this where you think there’s candidates. Often people have a bias for where they think those candidates live, right? So instead of driving by that bias that says, like my candidates might live on indeed or my candidates might live on ZipRecruiter, or conversely like my candidates can’t live on ZipRecruiter, we’ve had bad performance there, right? Instead of that, it’s making sure that we are letting the data right? The performance data for what we’re actually seeing out there direct where we’re putting those dollars. And then additionally for the performance aspect to your point is one specific marketer area is performing better. Let’s drift and shift those funds to ensure that we’re putting those dollars for the moment that truly matter where we’re seeing a strong ROI.

TP: Yeah. And it goes again, taking this back to the remote conversation. What we just told you is that they want remote work. And if you have an opportunity to provide remote work, promote it and they’ll convert. If you don’t have that opportunity again, not every job can be remote, right? I need teachers in schools, generally speaking, not every job is remote, but if there is an opportunity to make a job remote, open your pool up, you may find better talent outside specific markets. But one of the things that I love so much about this particular match of data like this is what they’re saying they’re gonna do and what they want. And this is what they’re actually doing is not like my desire to eat less sugar and then drink a milkshake, right? So we, what they’re saying they want, they’re actually delivering against and it’s performing that way, which for me tells me that this is actually a real thing that we need to double down in TA.

TP: So tune in for the next episode because we are going to talk about Easy Apply.

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