The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that employers added 236,000 jobs to the economy in March — a slight drop from what we saw in February but consistent with expert predictions. The unemployment rate dropped slightly from February’s 3.6% down to 3.5%.
The leisure and hospitality sector led the way in terms of job growth in March with 72,000 jobs added, followed by healthcare with 50,800 new jobs. Industries like these that hire skilled workers have driven job growth consistently over the past several years — largely because these sectors are still behind pre-pandemic employment numbers and workers who may have traditionally taken these jobs have opportunities for higher pay and better benefits elsewhere.
At the same time, the workforce participation rate ticked up to the highest we’ve seen it since before the pandemic — meaning more people who were sidelined from the workforce either voluntarily or involuntarily are now getting back to work. One factor that might be driving this is the ongoing recession and inflation. People who may have been able to afford staying out of the workforce over the last several years are now looking for work.
Overall, fewer jobs are being created while more job seekers enter the market. For most sectors this means that competition may be cooling. But for employers hiring skilled labor, demand is still high. This means you need to do everything you can to stand out and capture new workers entering the market today.
So what can you do to capitalize on this opportunity?
Win job seekers over with non-monetary benefits
Job seekers looking to enter the market for extra cash will be getting all kinds of offers. The key to winning them over is by offering added non-monetary benefits. This might include schedule flexibility, paid time off, or career growth and development opportunities. In other words, give these folks a reason to pick you over someone else offering similar pay.
Of course, it’s equally as important to make sure you’re getting the word out about your added benefits — whether that’s in your job descriptions, any physical signage you may be using, or on social media.
Reach new job seekers via existing relationships
While it’s always important to have a presence on digital channels like job boards, the way we recruit talent today is changing. The best talent often comes from existing relationships — whether that’s people you’ve met through your employees, former candidates, internal candidates, or even previous employees. Keep a database of talent you’ve connected with in the past and reach out to these folks when looking to fill open jobs. In fact, among Hireology customers, 47% of applicants sourced via email outreach to existing databases of relationships turn into hires!
Provide a candidate-friendly application and hiring process
Job seekers entering the workforce for the first time in months or even years are not going to have the patience to navigate complicated application and hiring processes. People have gotten so used to everything being easy — from scheduling doctor’s appointments to ordering groceries for delivery. The job search should be just as simple. And if it isn’t, they have plenty of options for work elsewhere.
So what does an easy and seamless job application process look like? First, your applications should be short and mobile-friendly. Don’t ask people to repeat information that’s on a resume and don’t require dozens of completed fields. And secondly, when it comes to the hiring process itself, make scheduling interviews easy by using automated interview scheduling software and streamline communication with text messaging. Simply put, people don’t want to have to navigate through cluttered email inboxes to respond to your messages or type out lengthy emails to get interviews scheduled.
Reduce the time it takes to go from applicant to hire
If someone is entering the job market to start making money due to the recession, they’re going to want to get hired fast and they’re likely going to take the first job they’re offered. This means for you it’s critical to reduce time-to-hire. If a great applicant comes through, don’t wait — respond to them immediately offering availability for your first round of interviews. From there, keep the process fast and seamless by using some of the same tactics mentioned above — use text messaging and automation tools to make it faster to schedule interviews and move through the hiring steps. And if you can, condense your team’s interviews into one or two meetings with the candidate to ensure the process stays under two weeks.
More people are entering the workforce and job creation is beginning to slow slightly. However, competition remains high in sectors like healthcare where open jobs still outnumber qualified job seekers. To capture your fair share of the talent available in the market today, you need to find ways to stand out. If you’re interested in learning what your peers are doing and identifying opportunities to differentiate, check out 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.