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MyJobMag Survey: What Recruiters Really Want From Job Seekers

Updated on Dec 04, 2020 15568 views
MyJobMag Survey: What Recruiters Really Want From Job Seekers

Can you remember how many job vacancies you have applied for and you are yet to land a job? Well, maybe you have lost count.

It can be quite frustrating as a job seeker to put in your best into your job search and apply for as many jobs as possible, but you still end up being rejected.

If you are currently feeling this way, then you are not alone. According to research, one job posting receives at least 250 CVs, and only 2% of candidates that apply for a position ends up getting the job.

Looking at the data above, it is only logical for a job seeker to ask this question; “what do employers want?”

As frustrating as the job search process can be for job seekers, recruiters and employers are not as insatiable as a majority of job seekers think they are. As it is the goal of every job seeker to land a job, it is also the goal of every recruiter/employer to get the best candidates.

Since it is the dream of a recruiter/employer to hire the best candidate, they often create expectations to make their dream become a reality.

So the question now is; what do employers expect from job candidates?

To provide you with accurate answers to this question, MyJobMag surveyed 305 HR Managers to learn more about their expectations from job seekers.

The essence of the survey is to help job seekers:

  • Understand recruiters’ expectations.
  • Know where and how to position themselves.
  • Know the right tools to use.
  • How to eventually land a job.

Carrying out this survey, we made some interesting findings that you probably have never thought about before. We discovered that:

Job search secrets


Why Many Job Seekers are Unemployed?

From the survey conducted, we discovered that employers turn down these groups of job candidates:

  • lack the requisite skills for the job.
  • use generic cover letters for their application.
  • apply for jobs with CVs that is full of typos and grammatical errors.
  • come for a job interview unprepared.
  • appear over-confident during the interview.
  • display some form of lack of confidence during the interview process.

So, if you have been applying and you are yet to land a job, then maybe one of these factors is responsible.

job search book

What Employers Think About Your Job Search Tools and Strategies

From MyJobMag Survey, we were able to find out what employers think about different job search tools and strategies.

When we talk about job search tools and strategies, we simply mean the things that make it possible for you to apply and eventually get a job. Job search tools and strategies are:

  • Cover letter.
  • CV.
  • Job interviews.
  • Social media profiles and pages.
  • Job search channels. (Job boards, social media, networking, etc.)

We know you have heard and read a lot about CVs, cover letters, job interviews, etc. but in this survey, we are going to look at what employers/recruiters think about these tools. Are you ready? Let go.


What Employers Think About Cover Letters

Candidates ask two key questions about cover letters:

  • Are cover letters important?
  • Can I use one cover letter for all applications?

76% of hiring managers surveyed consider cover letters important and 55.10% of hiring managers consider generic cover letters a turn off.  


Cover letter secrets


What does this mean?

This simply means that if you have been applying without cover letters or have been using a generic cover letter (a cover letter that is not tailored to a particular job), then you have been turning off a majority of employers. Your cover letter should be tailored to the particular job that you are applying for.

What can you do?

You should use a tailored cover letter for all your job applications by simply learning how to write a cover letterIf you find cover letter writing a challenge, you can make use of these cover letter templates.


What Employers Think about CVs

When you think about searching for a job, the first thing that comes to your mind is your CV. Typographical errors on your CV can ruin your chances of getting a job

We surveyed employers’ opinions about CV typos, let’s see what we discovered:


CV statistics


58% of employers that took the survey revealed that CV typos are a big turn off for them. 42% feels that it does not matter much to them. 


If you are writing a CV for the first time, one thing that you may likely find confusing is the length of the CV. You may not be sure of the right length for your CV, but let’s find out what employers think about the length of a CV?

From the survey, we found out that:

  • 27.2% of employers that took the survey feel that a CV with pages or less is perfect
  • 6.9% feel that a CV with more than 2 pages is annoying.
  • 22% feel that the length of a CV is not important.
  • 43.9% feel that the length of a CV is largely dependent on some factors. 

The survey shows that employers in Nigeria are more concerned about the content of your CV rather than the length. While it is important to make sure your CV is as short as possible, you should pay more attention to the content on your CV. See CV templates you can use to create your own


What Employers Think About Job Interviews

We know that when it comes to searching for a job, the outcome of the interview is what determines if you will get the job or not.

When it comes to acing job interviews, a lot of things need to be put into consideration. Asking questions during an interview is one thing that many job seekers are confused about.

We asked employers if not asking a question during an interview is a big turn off for them, see what we discovered:

Job interview Facts


  • 20% of employers that took the survey says is a big turn off when candidates don’t ask questions during the interview.
  • 39.7% revealed that candidates not asking questions during an interview is not a turn off for them. 
  • 40.3% feels that it does not affect the interview outcome. 


Asides asking questions during the interview, another thing that many job seekers find confusing is whether or not they should follow up on the recruiter after the interview. Let’s see what employers have to say:


Interview follow-up


  • 43% feel that following up increases a candidate’s chances.
  • 27% of employers feel that following up doesn’t increase a candidate’s chances.
  • 30% feel that following after the interview doesn’t matter. 

From our survey, we discovered that employers get turned off when job candidates display some of these traits during job interviews:

  • Lack of Preparedness
  • Lies
  • Lack of confidence
  • Overconfidence
  • Poor communication
  • Poor Dressing
  • Not able to answer Questions
  • Asking too many questions
  • Attitudes
  • Poor Hygiene

Practicing common interview questions and answers will help you prepare for your next interview.

Skill Vs Passion: Which do employers and hiring managers consider more important.

We asked hiring managers questions on the age-long argument on skills vs passion.

From the survey, we discovered that:

  • 58.7% of employers revealed that a candidate’s skill is more important than passion.
  • 21.3% feel that passion is the most important thing to consider when making hiring decisions.
  • 20% feel that both skill and passion are equally important when making hiring decisions. 


Where Employers/Hiring managers get their Best Hires

Employers indeed search for candidates just like job seekers search for jobs, but have you ever wondered where employers go to find the best candidates for their positions?

Carrying out this survey, we discovered that 38% of employers that took the survey get their best hires from job boards.

Below are top places where employers get their best hires:


Job search platfprms


From the data above, it is obvious that more employers get their best hires from job boards. So, if you have been passively scrolling through job postings, then consider subscribing to the newsletters and registering on job boards to ensure that you are more active.

Also, referrals stand for 26% of great hires. This means that building your network by attending career events and meet-ups will increase your chances of getting hired.


Shocking hiring facts job seekers don’t know about employers and hiring managers in Nigeria.

If you have been searching for a job for a while now, then you must have gotten used to some job search dos and don’ts. It could be easy for you to think that you have everything figured out since you have been searching for a long time.

You may think you have everything figured out about searching for a job, but do you know what matters and what doesn’t matter to an employer?

In this survey, we discovered things that job seekers take seriously that doesn’t matter to employers. These facts will shock you:


Hiring facts and statistics

  • Many recruiters and employers in Nigeria don’t use ATS for their hiring.

    As popular as the ATS software has become, it could be quite shocking for you to know that many employers in Nigeria still don’t make use of the ATS for hiring. This means that Nigerian employers are more human when hiring.

    This means that you have to be conscious of the fact that it is a human that will read your application, so you can appeal to the person’s emotions.
  • Most employers and recruiters in Nigeria don’t disclose salary to job seekers because they don’t want to scare off potential candidates.

    Have you wondered why many employers don’t disclose the salary for their vacant positions until an offer is made? Many companies especially SME’s may likely not disclose the salary for a vacant position so that they don’t scare potential employees.
  • Only 20% of employers that took the survey feel that not asking a question after the interview is a big turn off.

    From the survey, we discovered that only 20% of the employers that took the survey feel that not asking questions after an interview as a big turn off. This means that it may be safer to decline when you do not have a well thought out question to ask.
  • 43.9% of employers in Nigeria are not particular about the length of a CV.

    This means that employers are more concerned about the skills, qualifications and experience that the job seekers possess from looking at their CV rather than the length of the CV.
    While it is good for you to keep your CV short, you should have it on your mind that employers are more concerned about your education, skills and qualifications.



This survey has helped us understand what employers and recruiters expect from job seekers, as well as things they don’t expect from job candidates. Based on our survey, it is interesting to note that:

  • Making a simple typographical error on your CV can turn a recruiter off.
  • Recruiters can tell if you did not prepare for the interview.
  • A candidate’s skill is one factor that recruiters consider when making hiring decisions.
  • Following-up after an interview increases your chances of getting a job by 43%.

Discovering the expectations of employers from this survey will help job seekers to be more aware of employers’ expectations as well as expose them to job search tools that work.

Even if there are few available jobs and the level of unemployment is low, it is important for you as a job seeker to get the right information that will enable you to gain access to few available jobs.

Thank you to every recruiter who took part in the survey. See all you need to recruit candidates fast.


Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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