The pandemic prompted massive layoffs that sent millions of people back into the job market. In just under a month, U.S. unemployment claims reached 26 million, effectively erasing all job gains since the 2008 Great Recession and likely signaling the start of a new historic recession.
However, despite the pandemic and massive layoffs, a majority of companies are starting to look for new talent and are in need of creative recruiting strategies to target top candidates in today’s job market.
The Candidate Shift
The candidate-driven labor market has flipped from one of record-breaking low unemployment rates to now record-breaking highs. Employees at all levels have been impacted, and talent that was once hard to find—and even harder to attract and engage with—is now actively looking for jobs.
Pre-COVID, candidates could rely on the more classic methods of finding a job: applying via websites or job pages, registering on job boards, coordinating in-person interviews, and participating in career-related events in person to make a strong first impression on hiring managers.
Now, everything is about social networks, social marketing, and recruiting. Those who are without work and those who want to make a change (and there are many of them) are using this time to be online now more than ever. According to a survey of U.S. social media users, 29.7% of respondents are using social media an additional 1 to 2 hours per day, and 20% used social media 2 to 3 hours more than usual per day.
While many companies were negatively affected by the pandemic, there are some that have taken advantage of the situation, evaluating and rethinking their operations, strategies, and next steps forward. Recruiters need to shift away from “traditional” ways of recruiting and adapt to an ever-evolving landscape. For companies looking for the right talent, one of the smartest ways to hire is through social recruiting.
Why Social Recruiting?
The term “social recruiting” was coined in 2008, representing a company’s ability to leverage social media platforms and its website to recruit and attract top talent. Twelve years later, social recruiting remains more relevant than ever. Companies that implement social recruiting tactics will attract high-caliber candidates while retaining top talent after hire.
Social media is an excellent way to target both active and passive potential candidates. A whopping 72% of Americans are on social media. If your recruiting strategies include going after active jobseekers and nothing more, you’re limiting your access by excluding potential jobseekers who may consider working for your company in the future.
For example, 70% of the global workforce is passive talent, with the remaining 30% actively looking for a new position. Passive talent includes workers who may not be looking for a new job actively but would consider taking a different job if the opportunity were attractive and presented itself to them.
By implementing social media recruiting into your hiring process, you’ll have the opportunity to showcase your company’s unique strengths while educating passive candidates on what you offer both internally and externally. The top reason people change jobs is for a better career opportunity. Through social media recruiting, you can build connections with potential jobseekers while continuing to bolster your brand.
Why Employer Branding Matters
In today’s uncertain circumstances, at least one thing is clear: Strong employer branding benefits your company in both the short and the long term. A strong company brand helps attract quality talent to fill open positions now and can help retain employees for years to come.
Your employer branding strategy also plays a big part in attracting key talent who may not yet be familiar with your company. More job seekers today are getting savvy about their job search and are doing their research on companies before clicking “apply.” In fact, almost half the respondents to a Software Advice study found that job seekers use Glassdoor as part of their job search.
Even if talent acquisition isn’t the primary focus for your business right now, how businesses treat their employees during this pandemic will be remembered by the public. In addition, employee engagement and retention can suffer if employer branding is neglected. Plus, because building an employer brand requires continuous effort, taking your organization’s focus off of this goal can have a big impact on your overall strategy.
In just the last 6 months, we’ve seen social recruiting companies make amazing improvements to their offerings. Platforms are more intuitive, intelligent, and efficient. Candidates no longer have to trudge through a lengthy and complicated online application, and they can find and upload their résumé on their smartphone or apply with the click of a button through LinkedIn. In-person interviewing is no longer a requirement, nor should it be.
Will any of this change once we get back to “normal”? Who knows, but 2020 is clearly the year of redefining what “normal” is. Some changes will be embraced even after the pandemic is over, but other elements, such as working from an office every day, combing through job boards, time spent on inefficient tasks, long commutes, etc., should be left in the past.
While the effects of this crisis are widespread, companies will have varying talent needs and goals to achieve coming out of the recession. This means they need to act now to minimize turnover risk and hiring costs and maximize potential talent opportunities, even during a downturn. Whether you’ve undergone a hiring surge, a hiring freeze, or even a layoff, you can better position yourself now for your current and future talent acquisition strategy.
Forward-thinking companies are wisely planning ahead as hiring demands increase and are identifying opportunities to also get ahead of the competition by finding high-value, hard-to-find talent first. This is the moment to connect with top talent that is or may soon be on the move.
Debora Roland is the Vice President of Human Resources at CareerArc. Roland has been an HR management professional for over 20 years. She has built her career in dynamic early-stage growth companies and has been a part of the Executive Leadership Teams contributing to their success.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from the University of La Verne. She also attained her certification in Human Resources and Organizational Development from UCLA. She achieved the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification (SPHR) from the Society of Human Resources Management in 2001.