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The April BLS Jobs Report Recap

We had an unexpected month of slow growth as reported in the April Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation. 266,000 jobs were added last month, and the jobless rate rose to 6.1%. This was a surprising result to economists, who had predicted continued growth similar to what we saw in March.

Some industries did well — the leisure and hospitality sector added 331,000 positions, including 187,000 jobs in bars and restaurants — a sign that we are still moving forward. And the labor force is in fact growing, with 430,000 Americans reported working or looking for work in April. This is the opposite situation that we saw following the 2008 recession, but we know it will take time to have everyone feel comfortable returning to work, with continued health concerns and child care responsibilities.

The issue for many employers is not that they aren’t seeing the demand in supplies and services to warrant hiring. Conversely, employers are actually having a difficult time finding talent to fill the open positions they currently have. Job postings on Indeed are 24% higher than they were in February of last year, and the labor shortage has resulted in nearly a 1% increase in average hourly earnings from March to April.

It’s currently unclear if this will be a hiccup on the road to recovery or a lasting slowdown, but if you’re hiring at your organization, you’ve likely felt the effects of the labor shortage. Hireology customers looked to us to help them fill the most open positions our platform has seen since before the pandemic. While it’s a challenging market to navigate, we were able to help them fill over 10,000 open positions with quality candidates.

Now’s not the time to panic, according to Diane Swonk, chief economist for Grant Thornton, who was quoted in the New York Times saying, “A single report with unexpected weakness in job gains is not a cause for concern. Demand is picking up, activity is picking up.” However, now is the time to ensure you’re getting as many eyes as possible on your open roles and attracting qualified candidates to your organization. Here are a few pointers on how to do this. 

Analyze your applicants

Understanding where you’re getting the most qualified applicants is an important first step in optimizing your hiring process. Dive into the data and look at all the avenues from which your candidates come from — including employee referrals, job boards, and your career site — and how many hires you’ve made from those candidates. This will help you identify where you should prioritize posting your open roles and which sources are driving the most ROI.

Looking for an easy and automatic way to view this data? Hireology can help you see these metrics, as well as your hiring velocity and process adherence, from one dashboard so you can make real-time changes as necessary. You can learn more about Hireology’s insights and analytics capabilities here

Prioritize speed

Shaving a few days off your hiring process may seem inconsequential, but even a day can be the difference between a signed offer letter and starting the hiring process over again. And with a shrinking market, you’re not only competing against your direct competitors, but with other industries as well. 
Closely review each step of your hiring process and answer the following questions: 

  • How long is it taking to get an open position posted?
  • How long does it take your team to review applications? 
  • How long does it take your team to schedule an interview?
  • How long is your interview process from start to finish?
  • How long does it take to run background and reference checks?
  • How long does it take to issue an offer letter? 
  • How long is your process from applicant submission to offer letter extension?

The answers to these questions will give you a clear breakdown of where you’re falling behind. If it takes your team a week to review applicants, for example, you can set a goal to respond to applicants within three days of applying. And if your hiring process in total is quick but one segment takes up 75% of the time, you know you can make it an even speedier process by addressing that single time-consuming step.

Here are a few things Hireology customers find helpful in speeding up the hiring process:

  1. Multichannel recruiting to submit your open roles to a variety of sources with ease
  2. Hiring on the go with Hireology’s mobile app
  3. Texting candidates instead of calling them to schedule an interview
  4. In-platform skills testing to help vet candidates upfront
  5. Automated background and reference checks so your team isn’t stuck playing phone tag

Personalize your job postings and career site

While your individual job postings should have some solid details on your open roles, your broader career site should also highlight why working for your company is a better fit for them than going anywhere else.

Make sure you’ve got details about career growth, benefits, and culture. Interview your current employees and add their testimonials to show what they enjoy about working at your organization. Do you offer mentorship programs, commuter benefits, or any other noteworthy perk? Talk about it on your career site.

And as for your job postings, keep the fluffy language to a minimum and be honest with the responsibilities. Touch on your employer brand here, as well, and list a few of the best perks of the job (i.e., flexible hours, great work-life balance, generous PTO) so that each applicant gets a taste of what your organization has to offer. And make sure all your job postings link back to your career site so everyone that clicks on a job posting from any platform can still easily access more detailed information about your company. 

Keep asking for feedback

We mention feedback a lot, but it’s one of the most important elements of hiring. If your current employees aren’t happy with a process or aspect of their job and decide to leave because of it, you’re going to have twice the seats to fill. So address concerns where you can, work to improve current processes, and give your employees a platform to share their opinions. An open-door policy can help you see issues and opportunities where you may unknowingly have blinders on. 

We are closely monitoring the pandemic’s effect on employment, and will continue to address the market changes and how to best tackle them. But we know you may feel frustrated trying to keep up with the “return to normalcy” that you’ve heard about for months while struggling to fill your open roles. We want to remind you that we’re here to help — so whether you’re a Hireology customer or not, we’d love to hear from you regarding your current hiring situation. If you’ve got something to share, email us at info@hireology.com.

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