The job market is more competitive each and every day. Attracting the best talent now requires a flawless and compelling recruiting process. But even as that process is becoming more sophisticated, almost half of all job offers are being rejected.

What are candidates looking for and where are employers falling short?

Our latest report, Talent Attraction Study: What Matters to the Modern Candidate, revealed which factors candidates consider when deciding to accept or reject a job offer. The Indeed survey conducted online by Harris Poll in March and April among over 4,000 U.S. adults revealed that compensation is unsurprisingly the #1 consideration for the majority of employed candidates, but we discovered there are other factors that play an equally important role in candidates’ decisions.

Here’s a closer look at the top three things people evaluate in a job offer:

This chart lists the top three things that employed candidates are looking for in a new job.
This chart lists the top three things that employed candidates are looking for in a new job. 76% of candidates interviewed cited looking for good pay/compensation, while 51% also evaluate a good location and 51% look for flexible hours.

Competitive pay and compensation

While compensation may be the most obvious way to attract in-demand talent, 13% of employed candidates revealed, after they were hired for their current jobs, that they didn’t accept a recent job offer because of poor pay and compensation. 76% of employed candidates claimed pay would most attract them to a new job during their search.

Skilled candidates are in demand and they know it, which is why 28% of people who are actively looking for or open to a new job expect a salary increase of at least 15% before they accept a new job. Along with being compensated for in-demand skill sets, people want to feel valued by their employer, and compensation is often a clear sign of that value.

Location, location, location

When considering a new job, candidates are highly aware of location. 51% of employed candidates reported that an opportunity with a good location would most attract them to a job offer. 7% also rejected their most recent job offer because it wasn’t in the right location. As recruiters and hiring managers, it’s sometimes essential to look outside your geographic location for the talent you need.

Remote options can be another way around this challenge. As Indeed Chief Economist Tara M. Sinclair says, “remote work provides a way for job seekers to move in different career directions without being limited by where that work is done. It also provides options for employers who find it hard to choose one location that will satisfy all of their talent constituencies — something that’s especially important when hiring candidates with in-demand skills.”

Flexibility in work and in life

To attract and retain the best talent, employers have to adapt to candidates’ need for flexibility in the workplace. 50% of employed candidates were attracted to a job because it offered flexible hours.

“One of the most fundamental shifts in the labor market over the past 20 years has been a progression away from a ‘live to work’ mentality to a ‘work to live’ mentality,” says Barb Bidan, VP of global talent acquisition at Indeed. “The very best talent will simply demand better for themselves and will gravitate towards companies, and opportunities that are employee-centric and that have a clear mission to respect the employee as an individual whose life, and interests, extend far beyond the workplace.”

Employers that understand what motivates the modern candidate will be equipped to fully leverage their benefits in a way that attracts top talent to their jobs. Whether it be fantastic pay, an infrastructure for remote work or flexibility in the workplace, listening to the needs and desires of great candidates will give your job offers a leg up, especially when in-demand people are evaluating multiple opportunities.
To read more about our findings on how candidates make decisions today, download your free copy of the Talent Attraction Study: What Matters to the Modern Candidate.


This survey was conducted online within the United States from March 25-30, 2015, among 4,041 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 2,293 employed or unemployed job seekers (1,997 employed adults and 296 unemployed job seekers), by Harris Poll on behalf of Indeed via its Quick Query omnibus product. A second wave was conducted from April 27-30, 2015 among 4,025 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among which 1,761 are employed but not self employed and 461 are employed but not self employed and hired within the past year. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.