Another article related to COVID-19? Say it isn’t so! These days, anything and everything we do in the employment world has a direct link to COVID-19. And this should come as no surprise as the pandemic continues to dominate our news cycle and cause mass disruption in all our lives.
One area of mass disruption has been the hiring landscape. The unemployment numbers are at record highs, which means more candidates to sift through to fill your talent pipeline and hire those purple squirrels! We know how bad things are, but when data gets thrown into the mix, it really puts things into perspective.
New survey findings released from iHire reveal the differences between hiring in 2019 vs. hiring in 2020 and while a lot has changed, some things remain the same but for new reasons.
Qualified Talent Remains Scarce
While the pandemic caused many employers to furlough or layoff workers, for those still lucky enough to be hiring, you would think there would be a plethora of qualified jobseekers, but sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
According to iHire’s data, the majority of employers (77.1%) struggle to find qualified talent, with 39.0% of employers saying “receiving unqualified/irrelevant applicants” was their number one challenge when recruiting through an online job board, website, or community
Additionally, “finding qualified candidates in my area” was their main concern, cited by 38.1% of employers. We should note that finding qualified, relevant talent was also the most common employer challenge cited in 2019’s survey. Clearly, a pandemic won’t be solving the nation’s talent shortage anytime soon.
Candidate Communication Is Still Lacking
The pandemic has caused undue hardship for many and for employers who were forced to layoff or furlough workers, this means remaining employees are forced to pick up the slack. Could this be why candidate communication still remains a challenge for recruiters?
According to iHire, 18.8% of candidates were most frustrated by not hearing back from employers after applying and/or interviewing (versus 26.4% in 2019).
Unfortunately, the forthcoming “mass applies” from unemployed professionals eager to find work will amplify this challenge, as keeping up with the volume of candidates and informing each one about their application’s status will be more difficult, predicts iHire.
Candidate Connections on Both Sides
iHire found that both employers and jobseekers are becoming more proactive in their search for one another, saying that perhaps this is one of the more positive effects of the pandemic.
The data also reveal that there has been a rise in passive hiring (13.9% in 2020, versus 9.8% in 2019). This indicates that more recruiters are building candidate pipelines and nurturing talent pools so they may quickly fill positions when they are ready to hire. Similarly, 17.4% of candidates said they were employed but passively searching for a job (up from 11.1% in 2020).
Majority of Businesses Are Hiring
Despite economic concerns, businesses are actively hiring again, finds iHire. When asked which trend would most impact online recruiting in the coming year, 35.2% of employers cited “limitations on hiring in general due to economic downturn.”
However, businesses appear to be on the upswing, as 72.8% of employers said they were actively hiring. With jobseekers’ openness to work remotely (just 13.3% of those surveyed said they preferred to work in an office 100% of the time, given the circumstances), employers have more flexibility in keeping their businesses open and positions filled.
Industry-Focused Approach will Land Top Talent
When it comes to the job search, jobseekers are going beyond the “spray and pray” approach and are instead opting to take a more industry-focused approach to their job searches. iHire found that 21.5% of candidates surveyed said they first go to industry-specific platforms when searching for a new job, up from 17.1% in 2019.
As more jobseekers test the waters of niche talent communities, employers may find qualified applicants faster if they do the same. According to iHire’s survey, 48.8% of employers who said their number one challenge was receiving unqualified/irrelevant applicants turn to a general job board first.
General job boards may cast a wide net, but finding the most qualified applicants often requires cutting through a great deal of noise. Additionally, what you include in your job posting may make all the difference, especially when you know what it is jobseekers are looking for in his or her next employer.
With many workers clamoring to work from home, you would assume the mere mention of remote work in a job ad would entice candidates to apply on the spot, but that’s not the case!
According to iHire’s data, almost half (48.9%) of respondents say that listing the salary range is one of the most important pieces of information in the job ad. Other important features include:
- Location of the job (43.6%),
- Qualifications and requirements for the role (39.9%),
- Specific job duties and responsibilities (32.5%),
- Benefits/health insurance (27.1%),
- Details about what it’s like to work for that employer/company culture info (21.1%),
- Growth opportunities (16.2%),
- Details about next steps in the hiring process (12.2%),
- Financial stability of the company (11.6%), and
- Indication of remote work (2.4%).
What isn’t clear is whether jobseekers/candidates just expect to work remotely until the pandemic passes, therefore it’s not an important feature in the job ad, or if these respondents just aren’t into remote work.
Either way, in order to attract the best fit candidates, your job ads should include many of the features listed above. It also won’t hurt to mention remote working arrangements, especially if you’re trying to attract talent that is only interested in remote roles.
“As recently unemployed professionals flood the job market, employers are poised to experience an applicant overload,” says Steve Flook, President and CEO, iHire. “Although this will intensify the quest for qualified candidates and attribute to the ‘applicant black hole,’ we are optimistic that organizations will continue to make progress in addressing these challenges.”