April 20, 2021

How to Weather the “Perfect Storm” of Recruiting

Alicia Little head shot
alicia little
April 20, 2021

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While recruiting and talent pros have weathered many a storm when it comes to the labor market, there’s never been one quite like this.

The Perfect Storm of 1991, brought to fame by George Clooney etal., was a weather system that encompassed the twelfth and final tropical cyclone, the eighth tropical storm, and fourth hurricane of 1991 – all at once, and wreaked havoc on shores as far south as Puerto Rico and as far north as Nova Scotia, Canada.

In our case, however, the 100-foot waves and 75-mph winds are the surge in job opportunities coming to market, and the seeming plunge of job seeker activity and engagement.

What’s Happening: The Data Behind the Perfect Storm

As described above, the perfect storm was a culmination of factors, a collision of events occurring, so let’s break it down:

Demand for workers is spiking

You’ve seen the headlines – the Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently reported close to a million new jobs in March alone, double the number of jobs added in February. In addition to that, one of the major US job site players showed steady increases in jobs posted to their site. And as if that wasn’t enough to convince you – our data shows staggering increases in the number of companies who are competing for job seeker attention via job advertising.

Supply of candidates has dropped

Technically, both the number of candidates and the willingness of candidates is dropping here. We are seeing a declining recovery of the unemployment rate; many are still in fact out of work but are no longer searching for or applying to jobs. We are seeing Google searches for jobs drop off and an absolute cratering of apply rates (apply rates are the conversion rate on a job ad – of those who click on the job, how many actually apply? Typically, it is represented as a percentage). Ultimately, demand is far outpacing supply in this case.

But why is that? Why, after a year, and as vaccinations continue to be pushed out across the country, are we seeing such reluctance among job seekers?

It’s certainly hard to read the minds of millions of Americans, and while things are absolutely getting better, we surmise that there are a few variables (and likely numerous others) that would be contributing factors: recent public policy changes that may in some cases and some states make it more desirable to not work than to work, low – but increasing confidence – in feeling safe about going back to work in a Covid-19 world, and home education as some areas continue to transition from full remote, to partial remote, to fully in person primary and secondary learning environments.

As you may have guessed or, if you are in recruiting and talent acquisition, as you may have experienced, it is increasingly competitive and extremely difficult to get enough applicants for an ever-growing list of open jobs. 

What does this mean for talent acquisition and recruitment marketing?

  • Fewer applies per job ad placement – especially for blue collar roles.
  • Increased ad expense when you buy on a cost-per-click basis.
  • Increase in cost-per-application (lower apply rates directly impact costs as it’s a drop in the conversion or efficiency of your job ads)
  • Pressure on wage growth (what are you paying versus the market) when you consider who you compete against for talent (for blue collar roles, there is very likely a lot of competition)

Indeed this is a recruiting perfect storm. So, what can you do about it?

How to Continue Driving Recruitment Results in This Environment

First off, focus on what you can control. If we look back to our recruitonomics model, we have to accept there are things we cannot change (we can be better equipped to react!) and that we need to focus on what is in our control:

Here’s a checklist to get started. All of these things can be relatively simple to implement, particularly when they’re prioritized in the face of a challenging hiring market and with the help of data and technology.

  1. Shorten your apply flow. You can increase apply rates by more than 350% if your apply process is less than 5 minutes. Get rid of unnecessary questions for that first phase of engaging the job seeker or at least wait until they’re in the funnel before you continue to ask more questions. At the application phase, it’s cumbersome and adds friction. Applying for a job should not be “survival of the fittest” – you won’t weed out poor candidates, you’re more likely to lose the good ones!
  2. Make your recruiting process more job seeker friendly. Consider changing your recruiting process to move “filtering” tools (like assessments) further down the funnel.
  3. Ensure you are paying enough. Run searches on the major sites. Look for your jobs and your talent competitors. Is your job opportunity (in terms of wages, benefits, etc.) competitive? And furthermore, are you paying (in the job advertising space, we say “bidding”) enough to ensure your job is the first one a job seeker sees?
  4. Consider getting help from Appcast.  I know, I usually don’t include a pitch in my posts but I would be remiss not to mention it in this case. Our solution was built to provide you with the utmost agility and efficiency, especially when the market gets tight! Appcast’s programmatic job ad exchange casts the widest net possible (you can reach candidates on over 10,000 sites) so you leave no stone unturned. Secondly, our data and technology figures out where, when, and what’s the best possible price to get you applicants and takes all that manual guesswork off your hands! Furthermore, we can help you get your jobs in front of a diverse audience (because your diversity hiring goals should not get pushed to a backburner even if you really need candidates now). Lastly, with Appcast Xcelerate, you only pay per applicant. No software or tech fees, no paying for clicks that you can’t hire, which mitigates the risk of poor conversions (a.k.a. apply rates) on your ads. That’s it. That’s the pitch. If it sounds like we could help you out, I invite you to hit the chat here on our site and connect with one of our experts in an instant.

The video excerpts above were taken from our recent webinar, Recruiting News Alert: US Recruiting Market Tightens Materially in Q1. Click HERE to watch the full webinar!

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