Recruiting and the Effects of Low Unemployment

Unemployment rates in July 2019 remain significantly low—3.7%. These rates of unemployment are generally presented as great news, but for employers struggling to fill vacancies, the news is decidedly less rosy.


Source: astel design / Shutterstock

This is because low unemployment means fewer individuals applying for any given job vacancy—there are simply fewer people looking and therefore fewer available to apply. This, in turn, can mean there are fewer people applying who are actually fully qualified for a given role.

Therefore, it becomes more critical for employers to get more qualified applicants and to keep the best-qualified applicants interested and engaged through the recruiting process—and securing a “yes” when an offer is made. Let’s look at some tips to do just that.

Tips for Recruiting in a Low Unemployment Environment

Here are some tips for employers recruiting in a low unemployment environment:

  • Consider groups you may have previously dismissed, such as those with long employment gaps or individuals with a previous criminal conviction (when appropriate).
  • Expand options for working remotely, which can open up the geographic area of your search for new employees. Or, consider offering relocation benefits—and saying so in the job post—if you don’t already. This can encourage people from locations farther away to consider applying.
  • Critically evaluate the details of the salary and benefits on offer and how they compare with other organizations’ offers. It’s frustrating when you find a good match but the individual turns down the offer, so it’s more important than ever to ensure the job offer is good in comparison to candidates’ other options.
  • Ensure that the job posting is accurate and fully explains the work environment, which can help you find better matches.
  • Consider paying to promote job posts—on websites like Indeed or through social media, like Facebook Jobs—to increase visibility.
  • Assess the employment brand. See what’s out there online about the organization and what can be done to address negative information.
  • Review benefits on offer, and compare those with trending benefits available now. Has the organization kept up with current trends and applicant needs?
  • Consider reaching out to candidates who turned down your job offers to see if you can get any feedback on what the organization could do to improve the hiring process.
  • Pay attention to the entire candidate experience. With fewer candidates, keeping applicants engaged in the experience is more critical.
  • Consider reducing the mandatory skill requirements for the job, and instead, provide training on the ones that are missing. This can open up the applicant pool.
  • Don’t overlook current employees. When you have a vacancy, sometimes it may make more sense to try to fill it internally and then fill a lower position externally.
  • Ensure you’re not losing people during the application process. If you’re not working with IT to assess where people are leaving during the application process, consider starting. There may be people who are interested but give up somewhere along the way—if so, find out why and fix it.
  • Consider finding passive candidates proactively. Look for people who may be qualified for the job, and reach out to them instead of waiting for someone to apply.

Is your organization finding there are fewer applicants for any given vacancy? What has your experience been lately?