Six Candidate Expectations in Today’s Talent Market

Candidate Expectations


What’s Most Important to Candidates in Today’s Talent Market


That’s the crucial question candidates are asking right now. In this competitive talent market full of multiple offer scenarios and counteroffers, candidates are asking themselves “which future is brighter for me? The counteroffer or the new offer?”

Market reality check!

There are many variables that weigh in a candidate’s decision on which opportunity is best for their career, some of which are greatly impacted by inflation:

  • Career advancement plans that are clearly communicated
  • Training and professional growth opportunities
  • Some level of remote or hybrid work environment (where appropriate)
  • Appealing benefits (besides standard health) like gym memberships, PTO, flex schedules, etc.
  • Engaging employee experience and company culture
  • Exciting technologies or projects that offer career growth
  • Shortened commute, if remote or hybrid options are not available
  • If relocation is required, the impact on family/significant other


Here are six common candidate expectations we hear daily from our candidates on what’s most important to them right now:

Hybrid schedule – For those companies requiring employees return to the office, a hybrid schedule is very appealing to maintain the work life balance achieved in the last few years. Some candidates have taken on new family obligations that require a little more flexible work schedule, and often times, candidates are being approached with fully remote opportunities.

Remote work – Remote roles are very appealing to candidates and could be a difference maker in creating a competitive talent acquisition strategy. Additionally, this broadens the talent pool to additional candidates that companies could not have previously considered for their roles.

COVID protocols – With the resurgence of COVID, candidates required to return to the office ask what steps companies have taken to ensure employees return to a safe environment. It’s important that companies communicate their plan and have measures in place prior to employee return.

Salary – Candidates are being approached with multiple offers and can compare opportunities to make the best decision for their career. Remote with lower salary? Or on-site with better benefits and exciting projects? Many factors – as mentioned above – weigh in the candidate’s decision on which offer to take.

Start date – We’re seeing candidates ask for longer periods in between jobs so they can take advantage of time with family, especially during the summer when school is out. Starting availability and expectations should be communicated early in the interview process so everyone is in agreement.

Lag time before offer – The old adage “wait three days before you call” does not apply! If a company takes longer than a few days to extend an offer, it could result in: (1) candidate interest level being damaged, (2) candidate doubts the company’s interest, and (3) candidate receives other offers. If it’s a great match, move quickly, before someone else does.

Still reading? Great! Let’s go back to the question “which future is brighter for me? The counteroffer or the new offer?” It’s important to address counteroffers, as it’s an inevitable part of the recruiting process.


Companies know how expensive it will be to replace a candidate leaving and often will counter instead of replacing. They may also be fearful of project delays or added stress on coworkers covering the workload until a replacement is found.

Example: Engineer makes $80/hour but the market rate is now $100/hour. Engineer asks for a $10/hour raise, is denied, and gives leave notice. Replacing the Engineer will now cost the market rate of $100/hour plus the time to recruit, interview and onboard.

Once a 2 weeks’ notice has been given, the employee/employer bond has been broken. Employer knows the employee is unsatisfied and is looking for a new job, and if given a counteroffer the employee knows that the money or promotion were there the entire time…. So why now? Too little, too late, I’m afraid.

Lesson: make the best offer possible and don’t take advantage of people who are on staff. If you value your people, then look for ways to retain their talent.  Read more about reasons behind counteroffers.


Want to know more about interviewing or how we help our IT and Engineering professionals achieve their career goals? Let’s schedule a brief call so you can learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals!

Connect with us on LinkedIn:           Whitaker IT                                      Whitaker Technical


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