The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed last Friday that employers added 253,000 jobs in April which exceeded experts’ predictions. However, these findings come at the heels of a few months of slower growth, indicating that the significant growth we saw in 2022 might finally be slowing somewhat. The unemployment rate ticked down to the lowest we’ve seen in decades at 3.4%, a 0.1% drop from March.
In April, professional and business services led job growth with 43,000 roles added, followed by healthcare with 40,000 new jobs and leisure and hospitality with 31,000. In the last few years, industries that require skilled workers have continued to drive job growth mainly due to lagging employment numbers compared to the pre-pandemic era and the fact that the types of workers who would have ordinarily been in these roles have sought higher pay and better benefits elsewhere.
Despite the evident slowdown in job growth, there are still 1.6 jobs available for every job seeker — primarily in the industries that led growth last month. This need for workers could be due to the fact that the recession hasn’t quite hit these markets (and it might never significantly impact them!). Businesses in these sectors, then, need to maintain their focus on attracting and recruiting top talent, which will be especially important as people who are impacted by the rocky economy slowly return to a job market with less and less available roles.
For business owners and hiring managers, this means that some industries may actually see an increase in applicants and you will need to take a slightly different approach to hiring than in previous years. Now, the focus will be on balancing the quality of the application versus the quantity of applicants, something that most employers haven’t prioritized since before the pandemic.
To tackle this new obstacle, your teams will need to build jobs that people want, retail those jobs like the products or services you sell, and execute a fast moving hiring process. There are ways to accomplish this without sacrificing the quality of new hires, however. Instead of wasting time wading through droves of unqualified applicants, HR technology can help you put the right people in the right seats faster.
So what can you do to set your business up for success next month?
Use the right message for the right channel
While there may be an uptick in applicants, one recruitment strategy remains the same: retailing your jobs like the products and services you provide. You’re still selling potential applicants on your company, so it’s critical to write your job descriptions in a way that entices people to apply. Hiring is still a numbers game, you just have to play it correctly in order to have the luxury of being selective of who gets added to your team.
To ensure that you drive the best applicants to your open roles, you need to focus on the channels that drive the best hires. Your hiring team should analyze the insights and analytics available to them; many of the best applicant tracking systems offer these metrics so that you can gauge the effectiveness of your hiring processes so that you can improve over time. Get started by looking at the channels that your best hires came from and drop or decrease your recruiting efforts the channels that aren’t providing the same results.
Sift through high applicant volume with automation
Being bogged down with high applicant volume is a good problem to have, believe it or not — your team just needs tools in place to help handle the situation effectively. By placing some of the responsibilities in the hiring process in the hands of the candidate, you free up your HR team’s time to actually conduct the interviews and move forward with qualified candidates. But how can you do this?
One of the ways you can start automating your hiring process by using an interview scheduling tool. Features like these automatically sync with your hiring managers’ calendars, allowing candidates to choose dates and times for their interviews that work for everyone. So long phone calls trying to arrange times that work for everyone! As a bonus, this helps cut down on the amount of “ghosted” interviews your hiring managers encounter.
Another way to effectively sift through high applicant volume would be with automated screeners. These are surveys that are sent to applicants before a human from your company even interacts with them that can help disqualify people who don’t meet your requirements. You can use these automated screeners with designated “knock out” questions that will disqualify an applicant from moving forward with the hiring process, all without taking up a single second of your hiring team’s time. An example of these screeners in action would be if a home health agency were hiring for a home health aide; they could set up the parameter that the applicant must be certified in CPR. If they answer no, then their application doesn’t move forward in the process to make human capital management that much easier.
Add confidence to your hiring decisions
As your applicant flow begins to pick up, you might be looking for new ways to identify the very best in the pack. One of the ways you can add confidence to your hiring decisions is by incorporating background checks, reference checks, and skills tests to your hiring process. These checks and tests can be a good way to help determine the superstar candidates in your talent pool. When you have a higher applicant volume, you have the luxury of being able to be more selective about the people you add to your team so you can focus more on quality versus quantity. The best part? You can even hire in confidence without sacrificing speed if you have an applicant tracking system that allows you to do these things within the platform (like Hireology does!).
Strike a balance between speed and hiring
With the predicted increase in applicant volume, employers will need to find the balance between hiring speed and quality of candidates that works for them. While there will be more breathing room for careful consideration in the hiring process, that doesn’t mean that you can take a month before making a decision – it may not be a jobseeker’s market, but top talent will always be acquired quickly. The odds are in your favor when it comes to stumbling across top talent in your application pile so you can take the time to run a full gamut of the hiring process, but keep in mind that the faster you work through all of your hiring steps, the more likely you are to add the best candidates to your staff.
With the juxtaposition of slowed job creation with more job seekers entering the job market, employers will need to find ways to sift through high applicant volume while moving quick enough to add the best of the best to their teams. You will still need to market your open roles like products and carefully consider the channels you use to drive applications, but aspects of the hiring process that were previously dismissed due to lack of time can be reintroduced so that your team can focus on the quality of the hire, not the quantity needed. To learn more about how you can gain a competitive edge in recruiting and hiring, download The Future of Hiring 2023 — Hireology’s latest research-based report based on a survey of more than 1,000 employers that hire skilled labor.