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A new study released Wednesday reveals salary isn’t always king when job seekers are interviewing for their next position and that 52% would refuse an attractive job offer with a good salary if they had a negative recruitment experience with that employer.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, a global alliance of recruitment websites, surveyed 90,547 people in 160 countries for their study, “What Job Seekers Wish Employers Knew.” The study found that 66% of those surveyed said that a strong, smooth recruitment process is the No. 1 way for a business to stand out to the people they want to hire.

“Choosing a job is one of the most important personal decisions one can make, with heavy implications on one’s life,” said Kate Kavanagh, co-managing director of The Network, and a coauthor of the study. “Therefore, employers can’t look at recruitment as just another corporate process. Recruitment should be about providing a positive and inspiring experience and making a genuine human connection with the candidate.”

With global unemployment rates remaining low, employers are continuing to find it difficult to recruit talent for in-demand fields. The survey found 74% of employees are approached multiple times a year about new job opportunities. People working in finance, business and sales are most confident about having the upper hand in employment negotiations.

In fact, 69% of job candidates surveyed said they expect prospective employers to demonstrate some openness to negotiating conditions of employment after making an initial offer.

Most respondents (69%) to the survey said that they desire, above all, a stable job with a good work-life balance. This preference is dominant across job roles, regions, and age groups. Career progress at a good company comes second (41%), and working on exciting products, topics, and technologies is third (27%).

Hybrid work remains popular, with 54% of respondents favoring that model—but that result represents an unexpected decline from BCG’s autumn 2020 survey, in which 65% said they wanted a hybrid model that included two to four days of remote work per week.

The survey also looked at respondents by age group. Compensation and work-life balance are the two top priorities regardless of cohort, but deal breakers change significantly with age. Members of the youngest generation of workers care deeply about opportunities for learning and development. Workers who are 30 to 50 years old prioritize job security and flexible work arrangements, and those 60 and older want appreciation and impactful work.