Candidate Research: The Critical Information that You Must Know about Your Recruiting Targets

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Today, while most companies are busy with customer research, there is also an increasing need to understand that it is equally important to conduct candidate research to find the best candidates for your team.

Our hiring processes currently do not involve gathering intel on candidates, which prevents us from tapping into many potential hires. This leads us to question how vital candidate research is and what information we should gather on our candidates when we hire them.

What Is Candidate Research?

It is crucial to see recruiting in the same light as selling your product as you are selling your company to the candidates. If you do not have the essential information to understand your recruits, it can hurt your recruiting results. Your company will know how to curate job descriptions to attract the right talent with candidate research.

If you completely understand just how important candidate research is, you must look at the specific information you must collect from your candidates. The research should be based on data, and you can mimic the approach your marketing or consumer research department does. Use a systematic way to collect information to develop an effective strategy. Believe it or not, 86% of HR professionals agree that recruitment is becoming more and more like marketing. Here are some categories of information that you must collect to ensure all the comprehensive details.

Categories of Gathering Intel on Candidates

1. Gather Information

This category looks at the prospects you wish to get on board. You must convince these Prospects to join your firm, and for that, you must have the correct information about what they are looking for.


One of the most important things you should know is the expectations different prospects may have from the job. For instance, not all options will have the same requirements. Those not actively looking for a job may have other expectations than those currently working somewhere and do not want to switch immediately. Similarly, those at the peak of their careers with a solid work ethic will have different expectations than those who have an average career history. This information will help your research, and if you manage to meet expectations, 92% of people will consider changing their jobs.


Understanding the exact place your prospects come from is essential as it will help you get an idea about the candidates who are best for what role. This information can include details like the zip code and other location-based data.

The Job Search Process

Prospects usually have a job searching process with different steps to get their target jobs. Knowing these steps can help you change your recruitment process and mold it according to their search.

Non-Active Prospects

Not all prospects are actively looking for jobs, but they can be valuable to your team. You must reach out to non-active prospects and reach them where they are. Since they won’t come looking for you, you will have to look for them. Learn where you can connect with these candidates. You may even want to keep a pool of former colleagues.

Selling Point

Your job content needs to grab attention. This is why you must know what grabs the attention of prospective candidates. Consider learning what job, job details, and other content in your job descriptions and posts will attract prospects.

Job Seeking Behaviors

When exactly do your prospects start looking for the job? What time of the day? Is it in the morning or late into the night? Knowing this information can help you understand when your prospects are more active and the ideal time to market your job.

Preferred Communication Channels

Effective communication is crucial in the recruiting process, and for that, you must choose communication lines that your prospects are well acquainted with. With their preferred communication channels, you can communicate effectively and get them on board as soon as possible.

Effective Job Descriptions

Your job description mirrors your company and the job post you have available. You must curate a job description that will develop a sense of interest in the prospects and encourage them to apply. Moreover, you need to learn what type of job descriptions are the most effective. There are several ways you can market a job. For instance, you can use a video or have a short description. Research and carry out experiments to learn what works best.

Here are some pointers that job seekers look for in the job descriptions:

  • Salary – 74%
  • Total Benefits Package – 61%
  • Employee Ratings – 46%
  • Contact Info of Hiring Manager – 40%

2. Candidate Information

After applying to your company, prospects become candidates. It is excellent that you have encouraged them to apply, but you must also encourage them to accept your job proposal. Here are some factors to consider:

Job Acceptance Criteria

One of the most important things to understand is what makes a candidate say yes. Most candidates who are actively looking for a job have many options. The US alone recorded 6 million job openings in 2017, so one can imagine how the number must’ve increased in the coming years. With that many options, your job needs to stand out.

To research the acceptance criteria, you can ask important questions and see what the candidates are looking for. With the new information, you will be able to change your job description or the recruitment process to ensure that candidates are willing to accept your offer. You can ask your candidates to explicitly list their expectations of a job they’d like to have.

Communication Lines

It is challenging to find the right candidate or convince them to join you with poor communication. You must have effective communication, and for that, you need to contact your candidates where they prefer to be contacted. Learn about your candidates’ communication channels and then use them to ensure they are more responsive.

Two-Way Interviews

You are not the only one who needs information. Your candidates may also need it, so you shouldn’t make the interview process one-sided. It is best to satisfy any questions your candidates have. If they do not ask questions themselves, you must encourage them to ask anything on their minds.

If you have a highly qualified candidate coming in for an interview, you can ask them for details such as whom they would prefer to talk to. This can help you understand how the interview should be and who should take it.

Influencing Factors

Candidates consider a lot of factors before they say yes to a job. Knowing the factors that influence candidates to accept a job offer can help you attract the right talent. Effective candidate research can help you learn what characteristics and people influence their decisions and use the information to your benefit.

3. Employee Information

Gathering intel on candidates does not stop once you hire them. There is still a lot of information you can extract from the new employees that will help you improve your recruitment process.

Reasons to Say Yes

Now that the candidate is on board, you can take feedback. Asking your new employee why they said yes to your job offer can highlight important factors other job seekers may be looking for. Ask your employees to list all the reasons they had to say yes to the offer. Once you gather the data, you can improve your recruitment process and ensure more and more candidates say yes.

An average baby boomer changes their job 11.7 times in their career, seeing more lucrative opportunities that cause them to switch. Keeping that in mind, there may be several reasons why a candidate says yes to your job. Learn what they are.

Reasons to Say No

If a candidate declines your job offer, they must have a reason why. Figuring out why they chose another company over yours can help you reflect on what you may be doing incorrectly. Once you learn about the rejection, wait for a day or two and reach out to the candidate.

Ask them follow-up questions and learn why they turned you down. Once you get the answers, reflect on them and see what changes you can make.

Difficulties Faced

Feedback from your candidates can also help you learn all the loopholes or shortcomings of your recruitment process. Once you hire the candidate, you can review the hiring procedure. You can ask them questions like where they faced the most difficulty or the most unnecessary step. You can even ask for the steps that hurt them so that you can revisit them and change the process.

Effective Sources

When carrying out recruitment, recruiters use different sources to get to the candidates. However, it isn’t easy to understand which sources work and which ones don’t. You can get this information when you ask your employees for feedback. They will tell you where they got to find out about your company and the vacant position. This is very helpful as it means you which platforms are the best options to market your job market posts.

Once you get the relevant information, you can improve your recruitment process by focusing more on the sources that yield results.

Candidate Dropouts

You might have candidate dropouts who leave during the hiring procedure and fail to complete it. There can be many reasons why candidates drop out of the recruitment process, and if you identify why, you may be able to work on them and decrease the number of dropouts.

If many candidates are dropping out, there is an evident problem in the recruitment process.

Feedback from Hiring Managers

Recruitment is the joint effort of recruiters and hiring managers. When the hiring process is complete, you must ask hiring managers for feedback to learn if they are satisfied with the experts you bring them. You can ask your hiring manager to rate the new hires once they are accustomed to their job and company culture.

Recruitment may seem simple, but you need to put in a great deal of leg work to get the best experts on board. To have an effective recruitment strategy, recruiters must know who their potential candidates are and everything there is to know about them.

A data-driven approach can take your recruitment strategy to the heights of success you are looking for. Gathering intel on candidates is the right approach to get all the data you need!

To know more about how you can make the most of data-driven recruitment, contact us at


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