04/25/2018  // TALENT TRENDS

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The 2018 Yello Recruiting Study delves into the career aspirations and job search insights from soon-to-be and recent college graduates. The third annual report compares year-over-year responses and shares new data to help talent acquisition professionals continue to adjust recruitment strategies and stay aligned with industry trends. This report highlights thought-provoking statistics and provides actionable takeaways to help talent acquisition teams leverage these insights to make strategic hiring decisions.

Key insights include: 

  • Growth: More than 50% of respondents stated that the most important considerations when accepting a job are career advancement and the type of work they would be doing.
  • Speed: Almost 50% of applicants have multiple offers to consider. Companies no longer have the luxury of believing they are the only offer on the table.
  • Connections: The candidate experience has everything to do with accepting a job. 60% of respondents said the application and interviewing process are the deciding factors behind accepting a job.

You’re reading the abridged version of this report. Access deeper insights to tailor your recruitment strategies by downloading the 2018 Yello Recruiting Study: Demographic Deep Dive.

Salary Expectations: Insight into Compensation Targets

With unemployment rates at 4.1%*, candidates aren’t shy about increasing their salary targets. In the first year post-graduation, 70% of respondents expect to make over $60,000.

Salary expectation breakdown

*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – The Employment Situation – February 2018

Six-figure expectations: Get your copy of the 2018 Yello Recruiting Study: Demographic Deep Dive to find out which roles expect salaries of $100,000.

Job search behavior

Women are more inclined to take an event-centric approach to job searching, whereas men are more likely to network.

Females are ~30% more likely to hear of a new job at a hiring event.

Males are ~60% more likely to hear of a new job via a referral.

Type of role

Women are more likely to accept a business-focused role, whereas men are more likely to accept a tech role.

Almost 40% of females accepted a role in business vs. 15% of males.

Almost 55% of males accepted a role in technology vs. 32% of females.

Salary expectations

Almost twice as many men seek salaries above $85,000.

What demographic group is most likely to accept a technology role? Who leans toward business? Find out in the 2018 Yello Recruiting Study: Demographic Deep Dive.

Job Searching Behavior: Students Leverage On-Campus Resources

Campus recruiting is more important than ever. 92% of respondents started job searching before their graduation date. These students take advantage of their resources: more than half of all respondents use on-campus resources (career center and hiring events) to learn about new positions.

Where else are they searching?

32%   Hiring event (Diversity conference or career fair)

21%   Career center

15%   Referral

15%   Job board (Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn or other third-party site)

8%   By visiting the company’s website directly

2%   Social media

How to Build Your Brand on College Campuses

  • Host information sessions: Partner with career services to schedule a session and market it on social media. Use career center communications to invite high-potential students you met at previous career fairs to upcoming information sessions.

  • Build on-campus relationships: Offer time and resources to student groups or sponsor club events to establish relationships with students who could be potential employees.

  • Make personal connections: Offering a personal touch can differentiate your company and help you stand out among other employers. For example, when the dean’s list is released, use candidate relationship management software to send congratulatory emails to students you met at a previous career fair.

Candidate Experience Is Everything: How to Make or Break Offer Acceptance

The risk of under-performing recruiters

A recruiter’s role in the job search process goes well beyond sourcing, scheduling and extending offers. The interactions between a recruiter and a candidate can make or break the candidate’s likelihood of accepting an offer. The candidate experience has everything to do with accepting a job.

Acceptance factors

Said the recruiter they worked with during the interview process impacted their decision to accept a job

Said the application and interviewing experience impacted their decision to accept a job

3 Ways to Create a Better Candidate Experience

  • Nurture future candidates: Use a talent community to allow future applicants to engage with your organization until a position becomes available. Talent community communication may include company updates, newsletters and customized job alerts.

  • Over-communicate: Throughout the interview process, communicate where candidates stand. Provide frequent updates even if you don’t have any news to report; a brief email letting them know the interview process is still ongoing goes a long way to calm eager candidates’ frayed nerves.

  • Let down gently: Call candidates who aren’t advancing in the process. The courtesy of a phone call to let them know you are moving forward with other candidates demonstrates mutual respect. Candidates who aren’t the right for a current role could be a strong fit for a future position.

Act early. Move fast. (Or risk losing top candidates)

Organizations that lack a focus on candidate experience are at a high risk to lose top candidates to other companies. Almost 50% of applicants have multiple offers to consider. Companies no longer have the luxury of believing they are the only offer on the table. This generation of job seekers is focused on advancement, and they aren’t willing to delay those aspirations by holding out for another offer.

Those who turned down an offer said it was because of the:

Speed at which they received an offer


Application/interview experience

How do we define fast? 3 in 4 suggested the process took 4 weeks or less. 80% indicated this length is just right.

How to Speed Up the Hiring Process

A slow-moving interview experience will lead to lost talent. Use the below strategies to establish a fast interview process from first point-of-contact.

  • Eliminate phone screens: Replace phone screens with pre-recorded video interviews to cut back on first-round interviews and prevent the hiring team from meeting with unqualified candidates.
  • Implement interview scheduling software: Simplify interview scheduling software by enabling candidates to self-schedule interviews.
  • Easily access candidate data: Ensure any recruiting team member, at any point in time, can access all candidate data and understand hiring process status with a candidate relationship management system.

How many students wait until after graduation to start their job search? Learn more here.

Lifelong Learners: Serious Career Goals

What matters most?

For recent and soon-to-be graduates, the opportunity for career growth is the biggest driver in accepting a job. This is followed by the industry of the role, then salary. Attract the best and brightest new graduates by setting them up for future professional success. This demographic wants to be assured there is a set career path, and they will continually be learning.

Most important factors when accepting a job:

Career growth opportunities

1 in 3 ranked as the most important factor


1 in 5 ranked as the most important factor


1 in 7 ranked as the most important factor
(However, 1 in 3 ranked salary as second most important, so it remains a top factor.)

Advancement potential

This demographic is looking to get ahead. Almost 4 in 5 respondent suggest they’ll move on from their current role in less than two years (with most saying the new role would be with their current employer). Almost half plan on staying with their company for 3+ years, suggesting stability is important and job hopping is slowing. Respondents are looking to advance within their organizations. Companies have the opportunity to develop retention programs to promote and develop these employees into the organization’s next generation of leaders.

The most important considerations when accepting a current or upcoming position:

Creating Growth Opportunities

Prior to entry-level employees accepting a job, outline career development plans.

  • Set career paths for entry-level positions
  • Regularly check in on career development progress
  • Offer leadership and mentorship programs
  • Use online learning to help employees grow independently

Candidate Communication: Be Where They Are

Social behavior matters

Social media matters in the job search. Nearly 70% of respondents indicated a company’s social media posts and behavior encourage or dissuade them from applying to a job. Do you have a strategy for engaging with candidates on the platforms they use?

7 in 10 of those with jobs/internships suggested a company’s social behavior could impact their decision to accept a role

Communication preferences

Email remains essential in the interview process. 80% of respondents indicated email is their preferred method of communication with recruiters.

Own the narrative

The number one place candidates are learning about your company is on your website. Does your career site share the story you want to tell? The next place candidates turn is to third-party review sites. If you’re not proactively engaging and responding to reviews and candidate comments on these sites, your applicants will notice.

Where did you find the most helpful company research when interviewing for the position?

39%   The company’s website

29%   Third-party review sites (Glassdoor, The Muse, etc.)

13%   Career center

11%   Insights from referral

Candidate Communication Touchpoints

  • Confirm receipt of every application
  • Let applicants know as soon as possible if they were selected for an interview
  • Post-interview, update candidates on their status in the hiring process
  • Reach out to all candidates as soon as a final offer is accepted

Lagging Technology: Equals Lagging Pipeline

Technology is key in building a candidate pipeline and keeping talent engaged with your organization. 1 in 5 respondents suggested a company’s lack of technology could deter them from joining, and 22% are more likely to not engage with a company due to lack of technology during the interview process.

Role of mobile

Is your career site optimized for mobile? Mobile continues to grow in importance. As this number increases year over year, it is vital to a business’s success to provide a seamless mobile experience. This year, 29% of respondents applied to a job via their mobile device.

Candidates who applied via mobile




Tech breakdown

If your HR tech stack is lacking, your organization will also lack qualified candidates . Top talent will gravitate to the companies who have invested in this important aspect of the candidate experience.

When asked, “Did your current or future employer use any of the following technologies during the interview process?”

6 in 10
Respondents scheduled interviews online

1 in 4
Texted with their future employer during the interview process

1 in 3
Shared that video interviewing was used

How does your organization stack up?

Video interviewing benefits:

  • Minimizes phone screens
  • Streamlines high-volume positions
  • Reduces time-to-hire
  • Saves on travel costs

Scheduling software benefits:

  • Ensures scheduling challenges do not slow the hiring process
  • Reduces back-and-forth communication
  • Facilitates multi-party interview scheduling
  • Automates candidate interview reminders


Whether it’s understanding where job seekers learn about your company, interview process speed or candidate communication preferences, the 2018 Yello Recruiting Study can help organizations develop strategies that help them stand out to new graduates.

Action plan

With respondents suggesting they’ll leave their current role in less than two years, companies need to develop retention programs to retain top employees. Set career paths and provide opportunities for employees to advance within the organization. Offer growth plans to retain high-performing employees, and cultivate these employees into future leaders.

The majority of job seekers expect a hiring process of four weeks or less. Speed hiring by developing an engaged pipeline of candidates already familiar with your company, and use recruitment technology to streamline the scheduling and evaluation process.

Above all, the candidate experience matters. Companies that take steps to improve and simplify the application and interview experience will be rewarded with accepted offers. Make it easy for candidates to apply from a mobile device and ensure they aren’t required to enter repetitive information. Help candidates prepare for the interview and offer training for interview team members so job seekers leave every interview excited about the opportunity.

Download the unabridged study to unlock best-in-class talent acquisition strategies. Get the full study.


Yello surveyed over 700 random students and recent graduates in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. This report aggregates and compiles responses of those respondents who have accepted a full-time position, an internship while still in school or recently entered the workforce. The goal of this report is to provide an easy-to-understand snapshot into millennial job search expectations.

* For the purpose of this survey, we used a qualified question in order to remove individuals who were not employed or had not accepted full-time job or internship offers at the time of the study.




Get your copy of the Demographic Deep Dive for additional data.

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