In the early throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of talk about what job recovery would look like. Would it be V-shaped? U-shaped? Maybe a W?

So far, what we see isn’t a definitive shape at all.

An Industry Out of Balance

In July 2021, PandoLogic noted an uptick of 35 percent in job openings, despite monthly reports indicating underwhelming hiring results throughout the month. That mirrored a trend noted in June (21 percent), May (17 percent), and April (38 percent). From the data collected, coupled with a recent study on the state of the job seeker, it became clear that it’s not a lack of available jobs to blame so much as the continued difficulty of finding and hiring candidates promptly.

Translation: there’s growth happening, but demand outweighs supply.

Of course, what’s going on becomes increasingly complex as you dig into the numbers. There are substantial differences across industries, particularly those critical in responding to the global health crisis, such as transportation, healthcare and supply chain. Then there are those hard-hit verticals working to bounce back and rehire, including hospitality and food service.

It’s a challenging situation and one that’s rife with complications as the virus evolves further.

Moving Forward

So what do you, as an active recruiter, do under these circumstances?

Well, you push forward. That’s what talent acquisition does. It’s what you’ve been doing, and it’s what you’re going to keep doing. But recognizing persistence as a key tenet of hiring success, consider taking a two-fold approach to today’s market.

Here’s what you need to know.

These Aren’t the Same Candidates

No doubt you’ve heard about the Great Resignation or Turnover Tsunami. In addition to those folks, there’s a glut of others who haven’t made their re-entry. And they have a good reason: their perception of work changed. Maybe they don’t want to be on the frontlines in an uncertain world. Perhaps they decided remote work is their new normal. It could be that they’re looking for the right offer – one that tops anything they received in the “before times.” PandoLogic’s recent research with Tracey Parson on the “State of the Job Seeker” reinforced this thinking.

GEM Recruiting AI

Job seekers are ambivalent about the hiring experience. They’re there because they have to be. Jobs are a necessity. As such, many want to understand their baseline needs in our present reality – how much money they need to make, what hours support their lifestyle, and so on. By incorporating salary and shift information into the job description, candidates become more interested almost immediately because right now, the lowest part of the process is the beginning – that initial search.

Knowing that the first step in the candidate journey is so impactful, recruiters have a tremendous opportunity at their doorstep. But as a human, you only have so much time you can devote to each opening. You only have so much time you can spend interacting with each candidate – and that’s a problem in today’s hiring landscape.

Parsons summarized the current candidate sentiment noting, “For companies to make connections with available talent, they will need to understand that the pandemic changed the attitudes of workers. People want to work, but on terms where work is fulfilling, stable and life-sustaining.”

New Thinking Requires New Tactics

Recognizing the shift in candidates, talent acquisition needs to adapt from the top of the funnel on down. Being able to enhance job postings and get in front of the right candidates in the right place is step one. Finding one thousand people for an opening in an hour would require sending out something like 10,000 individual emails. Even a team of thousands would spend hours trying to close a single requisition.

Programmatic technology activates the sourcing stage, applying automation and intelligence to seek out the appropriate candidates. Without going too into the weeds, this type of approach pulls together information from different sources making 7,000 decisions a minute to ensure the postings stay optimized.

In addition to getting relevant posts and the information job seekers want upfront, another factor at play is all the little things that improve the candidate experience. This is where conversational AI enters the chat, bridging the gaps between recruiter and candidate and providing the check-ins and touchpoints that bolster engagement.

Here, you’re moving that flow, connection, communication and interview-like experience up the funnel, increasing the positive vibes on the front end and expanding your data collection in the back end. It also helps to close the black hole, which Parsons found one of the most negative components about recruiting from a candidate perspective.

Embracing the Future

Even with everything that’s happened and everything that continues to happen, recruiters have the power to right the world by tuning into job seekers. To achieve this, leverage what you knew before and what you know now and find ways to bring highly relevant people into the funnel and deliver a personal and engaging experience as you drive them through.

As Parsons put it, “Right now, the candidate experience and everything it entails is the biggest conversation not being heard. Without job seekers, without applicants, without candidates, we have no employees, and without employees, nothing in the world moves forward.”

Jennifer Ravalli

Jennifer Ravalli leads marketing at PandoLogic, where she is responsible for building brand awareness and generating revenue through integrated marketing programs. Jennifer has over 15 years of experience in the HR Technology space. Prior to Pandologic, Jennifer led Planning and Product Marketing at iCIMS where she built the function from scratch, introducing scalable systems around launch planning, integrated campaign planning, and sales enablement. Jennifer also spent eight years at ADP where she held multiple executive roles across marketing and operations.  While at ADP, Jennifer grew their health insurance brokerage business from $4M to $20 in three years, led the most successful product launch in the company’s history, and was the architect of their evolution of work narrative. Passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, she is a member of Chief, a network for women executives focused on connecting and supporting women leaders. Jennifer is a graduate of New York University, where she studied mass media communications and entertainment marketing.