TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - January 27, 2016) - Even with high demand and a limited supply of talent in many fields, a recent Kelly Services survey of hiring managers reveals that candidates for professional and technical positions had better not overrate their bargaining power or underestimate the importance of nailing the interview quickly.

Conversely, according to other Kelly research, professional and technical talent generally feels highly empowered, with the confidence that they are in high demand and thus in a good bargaining position to secure a similar or better position. While that's often the case, the current study reveals that 37% of hiring managers report most candidates they interview are underqualified for the position. 

These and other findings from the Kelly Services Professional/Technical (PT) Hiring Manager survey reflects the perspectives of more than 1,000 PT hiring managers in the United States and Canada on the current and future talent market, as well as their thoughts on how job candidates can succeed in the hiring process. Respondents broadly represent the accounting/finance, engineering, healthcare, information technology (IT) and science/clinical sectors.

While there is agreement among the hiring managers that talent in these areas is in short supply, the gap is most acute in the engineering and healthcare fields, followed by information technology (IT). 

"Our survey results indicate that almost half the hiring managers perceive a professional and technical talent shortage today with most expecting long-term shortages for the skill sets and disciplines that they hire," said Byrne Luft, General Manager. Canada, Kelly Services. "However, other Kelly research suggests that those with PT skills are feeling highly confident in terms of their demand in the market."

Even with the shortage of talent, hiring managers are still being choosy and are evaluating candidates across many dimensions such as culture fit, with 69% of survey respondents saying that fitting into the culture of the organization is important in their assessment of candidates. (One manager noted, "Your experience is on your resume. I want to know more about you and whether you'll fit with my team.")

"The recent PT Hiring Manager survey also indicates, that in terms of skills, hiring managers are most challenged with finding candidates that have the right mix of hard skills and universal soft skills -- including the ability to listen and comprehend, a sense of personal accountability, and a strong, positive attitude," said Luft. 

And it certainly doesn't hurt to have someone put in the good word. Almost seven out of 10 (60%) of the hiring managers say referrals by a current or former employee or co-worker serve as the best competitive advantage for a candidate.

Whatever the position, candidates are well advised to remember that the clock is ticking and that "the basics" still matter. The survey found that:

  • 65% of hiring managers know within 15 minutes if someone is the right fit or not -- and 14% actually decide within the first five minutes.
  • 73% say being on time, polite and well groomed are essential to putting your best foot forward. As one manager said, "If all candidates are fairly equal, I give the job to the one who seems to want it the most… a candidate (who) shows up looking like he or she wants the job -- on time, dressed in business attire -- has a much better chance."

The hiring managers also urge candidates to hone their "elevator speech" about what they bring to the position and to avoid "deal killers" that would shoot any hopes of landing the job:

  • 74% say candidates need to be able to articulate their personal accomplishments and weaknesses.
  • 85% say acting arrogant or not grateful for an interview would likely prevent a candidate from advancing to the next stage.
  • 82% say inappropriate use of a mobile phone or texting during the interview would likely end a candidate's chances of success.

Two-thirds (66%) of the hiring managers advised candidates to be informed about the company's key products and services to improve their odds of success, and nearly one-half stressed improving both the quality and quantity of the questions candidates ask during the interview process. For additional details, please view the PT Hiring Manager infographic

Survey Methodology

The hiring manager research was conducted by RDA Group on behalf of Kelly Services. Over 1,000 hiring managers in the U.S. and Canada were surveyed to understand their views on the current talent market and to gather opinions on how job candidates can succeed during the hiring process. Survey participants have direct hiring responsibility for professional and technical talent and represent a cross section of industries and career disciplines.

Kelly Services, Inc.

As a global leader in providing workforce solutions, Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA)(NASDAQ: KELYB) and its subsidiaries, offer a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-class staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis. Kelly® has a role in managing employment opportunities for more than one million workers around the globe by employing 550,000 of these individuals directly with the remaining workers engaged through its talent supply chain network of supplier partners. Revenue in 2014 was $5.6 billion. Visit and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Image Available:
Image Available:

Contact Information:

Media Contacts:

Jane Stehney 
Kelly Services, Inc. 

Amy McGahan
Dix & Eaton