Written by: Morgan McIntosh, SHRM-CP, Tilson HR Generalist
The Job Market is showing signs of slowing. According to the August Jobs Report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s overall unemployment rate increased to 3.8 percent in the month of August. So, what implications does this hold for employers and job seekers?
This is good news for employers struggling to find the right candidates for their open positions, on the heels of the “Great Resignation”. Even with the job market looking like it is going to slow down, the market is still overall very competitive. You may ask, “well, what can we do to attract candidates?”. Let’s dive right into some strategies you should consider when starting your candidate search.
A few things that have remained at the forefront of the job market conversation are wages, flexibility, and the potential for remote/hybrid work.
In the post-pandemic world, remote and hybrid work environments are hot topics, especially with most industries having almost completely brought employees back into the office or having completely changed what their work environment looks like.
Trends are showing that candidates value more flexibility in their work environment more so than in previous years and value the potential for remote/hybrid work environments more than ever. Experts are saying that the importance placed on remote and or hybrid work stems from workers having been able to experience a remote work environment during the pandemic. Many employees realized they can complete either their whole job, or portions of their job remotely. With employers urging employees to come back fully or partially into the office, it has strained employees’ view of their employers and caused many employees to seek alternative employment, especially, after placing more importance on a work-life balance post-pandemic.
You may be thinking, “What can I do as an employer?”. If your line of work allows for remote and hybrid work, you may consider more flexible scheduling regarding in-office and work-from-home days. Even if the opportunity to work from home for one to two days per week is on the table, this has been shown to attract more candidates to open positions. This could give you the potential for a competitive advantage over other employers.
There is also the potential for fully remote employees. A fully remote position expands your talent pool from candidates that are local to your facility to potentially the entire nation. If you look at remote job postings on LinkedIn or Indeed, you can see that the positions that are fully remote have a tremendous number of applicants, versus when the same role is posted as “on-site, or “fully in office” in a localized area. The ability for candidates to be fully remote opens your candidate pool exponentially and allows for a more competitive candidate search. However, it is very important to consider the overall impact that a remote workforce would have on your business including and not limited to compensation, compliance, and benefits.
Another thing to consider when hiring for an open position is analyzing where your compensation strategy measures in comparison to the competition. Even with being few years post-pandemic, sign-on bonuses, and higher wages are still great ways to attract talent. When looking to hire for an open position, it is a good idea to look at what the competition is offering to candidates to make sure that what you are bringing to the table is competitive.
Compensation studies are another great resource for analyzing and determining the market rate for your position. Your human resources professional can certainly provide guidance in these areas. The compensation study can also provide insight into what percentile your wages for the position are, in comparison to national, and localized wages.
The next item to consider is pay transparency. Many states like California, New York, and Illinois have implemented pay transparency laws for hiring. In some states, it is required that the job poster includes the potential salary range for an open position. Pay transparency is still a very controversial topic. However, this can be used as a great tool to help you find candidates that are aligned with your specific budget requirements. Experts also believe that with the growing push for pay transparency, in the future, there is potential this could be a requirement for all postings regardless of the state the position is located in. Resources like the ‘Complying with the Equal Pay Act Checklist‘ offered by Tilson can provide valuable guidance in ensuring your compensation strategies align with legal requirements.
Also, when considering remote work, you will want to make sure that your postings follow the state’s pay transparency laws.
When looking to fill a position, you want to consider how you are sharing your job posting. Are you posting the job on Indeed, LinkedIn or another third-party job board? Are your employees sharing the application link on their social media? How easily accessible is your application? Is your application process user friendly? These are all items to consider when posting an open position as potential candidates do tend to get “user fatigue” when scrolling through job postings.
The likelihood of candidates fully completing and submitting an application is determined by how long the process takes from start to finish. It’s recommended that applications take no longer than 10-15 minutes at most to complete to avoid the “user fatigue” drop-off.
To help avoid user fatigue, consider utilizing “quick apply” or “easy apply” options on job boards. These methods have been shown to increase the number of applications you receive. This is in part because candidates can quickly apply for a job right then and there, versus having to find time to complete a potentially lengthy application.
You can also use a variety of quick applications, with pre-screen questions. It is recommended by experts from Indeed, and other job board platforms, to try to limit the number of pre-screen questions to between three to five questions maximum. This goes back to the “user fatigue” and ease of use items. Say goodbye to the days of lengthy job applications and cover letters. Say hello to easy apply!
The last component of the hiring process to consider that has changed in the post-pandemic job market is how quickly candidates find positions, especially in hot job markets. Candidates are shown to be quickly receiving and fielding multiple job offers. Consequently, this increases the importance of timely responses and declinations from employers. Candidates today are less inclined to tolerate prolonged waiting periods due to sluggish hiring procedures. It is important to be transparent with the hiring process timeline and to touch base with candidates regularly to avoid missing out on potential candidates.
When considering various strategies to attract candidates, keep in mind that utilizing resources like Tilson’s free e-guide on recruiting, which offers insights into modern recruitment practices, can prove instrumental in optimizing your candidate search.
Remember to go slow and do your diligence on the front end of recruiting in order to facilitate a swift hiring process and ensure that you’re bringing the right people on board.