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July 2022 BLS Jobs Report — A Surprising Surge in Hiring

The Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report released last Friday revealed that 528,000 jobs were added in July 2022 while the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%. We are officially back to February 2020 employment levels and the historic unemployment rate seen right before the onset of the pandemic.

The workforce participation rate dipped slightly to 62.1% and the labor force has continued to remain stable; both of these factors have changed little month-over-month. Hireology customers have continued to competitively hire in this aggressive market to build the best teams possible. In July, our customers created 23,029 jobs, collected 488,762 applications, and made 12,339 hires. On top of that, they were able to cut the average time-to-hire down to just 19.25 days.

In July, the leisure and hospitality sector added 96,000 roles to lead job creation, with professional and business services coming in second with 89,000 jobs.  Healthcare remained the third fastest growing industry for the second month in a row with 70,000 jobs created.

These findings have surprised nearly everyone monitoring the economic state of the country, with many speculating that it demonstrates that the United States has yet to enter a recession. This surge in hiring was unexpected, but it pushed the hiring market over the edge to finally meeting pre-pandemic levels.

While the increase in hiring is certainly welcome news, it doesn’t mean that it is going to necessarily become easier anytime soon. If anything, hiring managers will need to do even more to stand out amongst the flood of other companies vying for attention in this competitive hiring market. Now more so than before, employers can see that people want to work; the downside is that there are still many open positions that have yet to be filled, like in retail and warehouse industries, that simply aren’t hiring fast enough to meet the demand.

Don’t let this dishearten your company’s search for top talent though — it may seem like an impossible task when everyone is using the same channels and methods to source applicants, but this isn’t the case. This should be seen as an opportunity, not as a hindrance; after all, necessity is the mother of invention. There are ways that businesses can simplify and speed up current hiring processes in order to convert applicants to new hires faster, and thereby avoid losing out on top talent to faster moving competitors. 

With planning and precise action, your business can claim its fair share of talent during this hiring surge. Read on for our suggestions on how to attract job seekers to your open positions and put some hustle into your hiring practices.

Hire quickly to capture talent 

With an abundance of open positions still waiting to be filled, you can’t afford to waste time when it comes to hiring. Time simply isn’t on your side in this market. Our recent applicant study revealed that if your hiring process takes longer than two weeks from initial application submission to job offer, then you’re losing out on nearly a third (31%) of top talent.

Since there are so many open roles, job seekers are no longer forced to wait for extended periods of time back from potential employers — or be subjected to prolonged interviewing processes. In fact, 21% of job seekers expected to hear back initially from a company just 48 hours after submitting their application, while 57% expect a response within a week. Given the current state of hiring, these expectations are reasonably justifiable. 

A simple way to bring some hustle to your hiring process is to either create a step-by-step hiring process for all of your hiring managers to follow or to update your existing one to match current expectations. For example, set a 24 hour turnaround time to respond to interested applicants with a simple phone call, text message, or email to schedule your initial screening. This effort demonstrates that your company values their interest in your role — and their time.

Give job seekers what they want

Your job posts need to stand out amongst the swarm of other companies plying for attention. While there are ways to boost SEO value or sponsor your posts to get them in front of as many potential applicants as possible, you also need to make sure that what you’re presenting motivates those job seekers to actually want to work for your company.

One way to encourage top talent to apply to your roles is to make sure that your company is offering perks and benefits that they’re searching for. First things first: applicants will not apply for a position that is wildly out of their pay range, so while yes, pay is always a major factor in accepting a role, it is no longer the only important one. 

Instead, job seekers are strongly considering flexibility and whether or not the work is meaningful when they accept roles. By this, flexibility can mean the ability to choose their own shifts or consistent scheduling so they can plan their lives outside of the workday; this really allows them to balance their work and life responsibilities in a much more healthy way than ever before. As far as meaningful work goes, this is a broad term that encompasses fulfillment, career growth, and company culture. All of this is to say that people no longer want jobs — they want a lifestyle.

To hook potential applicants from the start, be sure to include these aspects in your job descriptions when posting open roles. In your benefits and perks section, explicitly mention the flexibility you offer to your employees — whether that’s control over their schedule, mid-shift availability, or additional PTO. You should also use the area to highlight your great company culture and available career pathways that employees can take as they continue to grow with the company. To really cover your bases, use testimonials from current employees who find satisfaction with their roles and your company on your careers page to really impress potential candidates.

Make applying a breeze

How easily can your application be filled out on a cell phone? If you haven’t optimized this pivotal part of the attracting and hiring process yet, you’ve potentially lost nearly half of the applicants interested in your position. The latest data has revealed that 42% of job seekers have completely abandoned an application before simply because it was too difficult to fill out on their mobile device.

Another obstacle keeping top talent from applying to your open roles: how long your application is overall. The same survey cited earlier revealed that 59% of respondents have abandoned an application because it took too long to compete. Consider this: if you have up to 6 fields for job seekers to fill out, you’ll receive submitted applications from 36% of those who view the role. If your application has 6 – 10 enterable fields, the completion rate drops to just 1 in 4 — and only decreases from there.

Making your application process a breeze isn’t as complicated as you might think. Begin by optimizing your applications for mobile submission. Secondly, reconsider the information you initially require from job seekers when they’re applying for your open roles. Start out on the right foot by merely sourcing their name and contact information; everything else — including prior work experience, references, and certifications — can be gathered later in the interview process.

Rally your existing employees

While there was certainly a large and unexpected surge in July, there are still a large amount of open roles out there. Your existing employees are likely aware of the current hiring situation and just how many opportunities are available, if they were to choose to leave. As a preventative measure to keep your business from sourcing talent to fill even more roles than you were originally searching for, it’s time to rally your existing employees.

To be clear here: your staff doesn’t want another pizza party — but that doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank in order to keep them satisfied. In fact, there are programs that you can instill internally to keep motivated to stay with your company. If your company offers career pathways or mentorship programs, now would be the perfect time to advertise them. These types of arrangements allow your employees to see that you are invested in them and their future, which means a lot during these uncertain times.

Another way to boost your retention rates is to cultivate not only a great company culture, but an appreciative one. You don’t have to wait until it’s Caregiver Appreciation Week or Administrative Assistant Day to show your staff that you value them; we’d even argue that there’s never a bad time to express your gratitude. Simple and sincere thank you messages, gift cards to local restaurants or chocolatiers, or even additional PTO can all send the clear message that you appreciate your workers for all of their hard work.

Takeaways

July’s jobs report shows that perhaps the recession might not be as near as we think or that it might not be so bad for all industries. While this is good news, the talent pool hasn’t necessarily grown to accommodate these new roles, meaning that businesses still need to be competitive as they hire. While this is a difficult task, it is by no means impossible. Organizations can hire their share of talent by quickly ushering candidates through the hiring process, motivating job seekers to apply in their initial job description, making the application process easier for interested candidates, and focusing on retention rates to keep their existing staff on their team. 

For more details on what applicants are really looking for in their next role, check out The Great Reassessment, where we analyzed the responses from over 6,000 job seekers about their current expectations in this hiring market.  

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