Advice for Employers and Recruiters

8 of the most important factors to candidates applying to early career jobs

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Steven Rothberg AvatarSteven Rothberg
June 2, 2023


One of the nice things about my role as the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer for College Recruiter is that I get to have a lot of high-level conversations with a lot of brilliant, wise people from a wide variety of industries, countries, organizations, cultures, and more. And one of the pieces of information that I picked up from a number of them is that there is an emerging consensus that candidates who are deciding what hourly, early career jobs to apply to care almost exclusively about only three factors: job title, location, and pay.

After they apply to your job and probably another dozen, they sit back and wait to hear from employers, and so you’re in a race to contact them first. Why? Because they’re very likely to accept the first, satisfactory job that comes to them. If you’re slow, they’re likely going to ghost you as they’re already working somewhere else.

When you get back to a candidate to express your interest in interviewing them, there are several factors that they often consider important:

  1. Career Development Opportunities: Candidates, especially those at the beginning of their careers, want to ensure that the job will offer them opportunities to learn, grow, and progress in their careers. This can include opportunities for training, skill development, mentorship, and promotions.
  2. Job Security: Job security is a crucial factor. Early career professionals often look for organizations that provide a certain degree of job stability and predictability.
  3. Work Culture: A supportive and positive work culture can play a significant role in a candidate’s decision. They often look for environments where they feel respected, valued, and part of a team.
  4. Salary and Benefits: While compensation might not be the only thing they consider, it’s certainly a critical factor. Early career professionals are often starting to build their lives and perhaps pay off student loans, so competitive pay and benefits can be a deciding factor.
  5. Work-Life Balance: Work-life balance is increasingly important to many workers, including those just starting their careers. They may seek employers that offer flexible hours, remote work options, or other policies that facilitate a balance between work and personal life.
  6. Company Reputation: Candidates often research the reputation of potential employers. They may be interested in how the company treats its employees, its corporate social responsibility efforts, and how it’s viewed in the industry.
  7. Job Satisfaction: Early career job seekers want to find work that is fulfilling and meaningful to them. They may seek roles that align with their interests, passions, or long-term career goals.
  8. Location: The job’s location can be a big factor too, including the commute, the cost of living in the area, and the lifestyle the location allows for.

Remember that what’s most important can vary significantly between individuals. It’s important to have open conversations with potential hires about their needs and wants in a job to ensure a good fit.

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