How to Make Your Next Associate Hire

Get data-driven information to help guide you through the hiring process. Then, when you’re ready, post your job to SimplyHired and reach top candidates from all across the web.

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Last updated at 09-15-2020 11:29:46



More than 17,599 companies advertise 153,969 Associate jobs on SimplyHired and its partner sites each year. After analyzing job postings and salary information from these companies, as well as direct job seeker feedback, we’ve compiled a list of insights to show you how to attract and hire your next Associate most efficiently.

Hiring Process

In the past quarter, we’ve seen 47,295 job posts from 7,364 employers in the United States. This is a increase of 17.1% compared to the previous quarter. On average, there are 81 Associate job seekers for every active Associate job, which shows that it is a job seeker's market.

Writing a Job Description

In the past quarter, Customer Service Representative, Warehouse Worker, Retail Sales Associate, Delivery Driver, Receptionist, Sales Associate, Administrative Assistant, Call Center Representative, Front Desk Agent, and Cashier seem to be the most sought after jobs amongst the Associate candidates in the United States. This is pretty consistent compared to the same data in the last 6 quarters. If you use one of these currently popular titles in the job description, you'll likely be able to attract a lot more candidates to apply.

For the Associate candidates who are actively applying to jobs in this same period, we see that 24.0% of the active Associate candidates have less than 3 years of experience, 24.8% have between 3-5 years of experience, 25.8% have 6-10 years of experience, and 25.5% have over 10 years of experience. The average years of experience has shifted from an estimated 5.8 years to 5.5 years. If you're posting a job in today's market, expect candidates with about the same experience level to apply to your job compared to the last 2 quarters.

In the previous quarter, the most popular skills that employers are looking for include customer service, communication skills, English, computer skills, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office, sales, food service, Microsoft Word, and writing skills. Demand for sanitation, optical experience, loan processing, warehouse experience, computer literacy, word processing, food service, assembly, 4g/lte, and merchandising has significantly increased. If you are looking for an Associate with a similar skill set, be sure to follow industry best practices in skill requirements.

Job posts with salary information received about 1.3 as many applies as those without it. In the past quarter, less than 15.9% of the job posts displayed salary information. By adding salary information to your job posting, you could potentially increase the number of applicants by approximately 30.0%.

Example Associate responsibilities

  • Contributing ideas and strategies for the tasks required
  • Helping resolve issues or problems that arise
  • Providing status updates
  • Testing hypotheses
  • Making improvements to the workflow or resolving issues caused by design flaws


Active Recruiting

When reaching out to candidates, it’s best to understand where to look. We’ve identified hiring trends in states as well as companies regularly hiring for Associate positions. This should provide a good place to start looking for qualified candidates. According to our data in the last quarter: California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania are the states that have the highest demand for Associates. California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania are where most job seekers are searching for Associate jobs. If we look at the Associate to job ratio, Michigan, Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio, and Idaho have the lowest number of Associate applicants per job. Nevada, Connecticut, Arkansas, Hawaii, and New York have the most active Associate job seekers per job.

Passive Recruiting

While actively recruiting candidates for your role, you should also post your job to SimplyHired. By posting for free and paying only for the qualified applicants you want, your post will automatically go to a network of job boards to reach millions of qualified candidates. With SimplyHired, it doesn’t end with the post. You can track your applicants throughout the hiring process with our simple and easy to use Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Review Candidates

In the last quarter, we estimate there are 3,838,275 job seekers interested in Associate opportunities in the United States. That’s a 52.9% increase compared to the previous quarter with 2,509,943 active job seekers. Around 24.0% of the active Associate candidates have less than 3 years of experience, over 24.8% have between 3-5 years of experience, 25.8% have 6-10 years of experience, and 25.5% have over 10 years of experience. The average experience level of the available Associate candidates is 5.5 years. Active candidates in the Associate profession most commonly have high school diplomas, followed by bachelor's degrees, associate's degrees, and master's degrees. When setting education requirements for your position, aligning with the industry standard makes it easier to find potential candidates. Application rates indicate that Associate candidates are likely experiencing a market in which applicants have less negotiating power. From an employer perspective, you'll have a greater selection of candidates to choose from and may want to invest in automated screening tools.

Interviewing Candidates

Interview Process

*Self-reported data collected from 46,036 Associates from 1/1/2020 to 6/30/2020, via online employer reviews for companies including Walmart,, Panera Bread, The Home Depot, Old Navy, Kroger Stores, Lowe's, Sam's Club, Kohl's, and In-N-Out Burger.

After analyzing post-interview data from Associate candidates in the last 6 months, we see more than 43.3% of the candidates self-reported being hired within 1 to 2 days. Around 85.3% of the candidates for this job reported being hired within 2 weeks. If your process takes longer than 2 weeks in the recent market, you'll likely lose these candidates to other employers. Most of the Associate candidates are expecting a on-site interview, background check, phone call/screening, and written test. Most employers do not require a problem solving exercises or drug test. If you are trying to hire your next Associate quickly, consider simplifying and streamlining the hiring process. As for the interview experience, more than 66.7% of the candidates had a good or great interview experience, and more than 45% of the candidates thought that the interview leaned more towards easy.

Example Interview Questions

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to work for this Company?
  • Is there anything else you'd like the interviewer to know?

Final Review and Offer

Reference Check

Checking references is a quick and easy way to check for any red flags that didn’t arise to this point in the hiring process. Great insights can be provided by former colleagues and employers.

Crafting an Offer: Salary and Benefits

The average Associate salary offered by employers increased for 4 out of 6 consecutive quarters in the United States. In the last quarter, we see a increase of 5% from $54,742.05 to $57,574.67 compared to the quarter before, which is on par with the past 6 quarters. For Associate positions, the most common benefits job seekers reported being offered by employers include: healthcare insurance by 59.5%, paid time off by 55.7%, discounts by 54.0%, dental insurance by 51.2%, a 401k plan by 47.7%, vision insurance by 45.7%, and stock options/grants by 14.0%. While still relatively rare, more and more employers now offer flexibility benefits, including somewhat remote, sabbaticals, flexible working hours, fully remote, location variety, maternity leave, mostly remote, and paternity leave, to attract and retain Associate candidates to their organization.

Background Check and Drug Test

According to self-reported job seeker feedback, 34.3% of the employers conducted a background check, and 18.7% of the employers conducted a drug test prior to the hiring of their Associate candidates.


When you’re ready to hire an Associate, SimplyHired is here to help with your next steps. Our Human Resources Information System (HRIS) provides onboarding tools and other essential HR tools. From document signing to time off tracking, our HRIS will help you seamlessly move an Associate candidate through the hiring and onboarding process.

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