Despite the recent "good" news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- in which 678,000 new jobs were added in February, bringing the unemployment rate down to 3.8% -- hiring managers worldwide have been struggling over the past year to fill positions quickly. It's their biggest issue, according to a February survey conducted by Salt Lake City-based job hiring platform HireVue. The solution for this "time-to-fill" dilemma, or at least a major part of it, has been incorporating job-matching technologies, AI, chatbots and skills-assessment programs to help navigate an increasingly competitive labor market, according to the survey.
The latest HireVue annual global trends report survey reached out to 1,657 hiring managers across the world at companies with more than 500 employees in such industries as finance, retail, construction, healthcare and manufacturing. HireVue asked the managers how they're navigating through the job market challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing recession, and the effects of The Great Resignation.
The survey revealed eight key findings:
The survey revealed that when integrating a combination of job-matching technologies and a blend of in-person and virtual interviewing platforms such as video conferencing, 54% of respondents experienced greater flexibility, as well as 54% reported time-saving benefits. What's more, 43% of respondents said it's easier to identify the best candidates than before, and 42% experienced cost savings, according to the report.
The survey also found that hiring managers who have hired job candidates successfully and quickly have done so because they're flexible towards integrating job-matching technologies in addition to basing their decision on gut instinct. Hiring managers who meet demands quickly and successfully did so by making the following changes last year: 57% integrated job-matching technologies to recruit both internally and externally, while 37% moved to a combination of both in-person and virtual interviews. What's more, 24% implemented AI, chatbots and skills assessments.
Yet 38% of hiring leaders surveyed said they still use the low-tech solution of basing their decisions on gut instinct when hiring a candidate, and another 31% said they hired based on personal connections. While this may seem to be a viable solution to onboard candidates quickly, it doesn't necessarily provide a fair and equitable hiring process and certainly does not meet diversity, equity inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) guidelines, the survey found.
Incorporating more DEI&B practices has helped hiring managers cast a wider net in search of the talent they're looking for. Specifically, of those companies that overhauled the way they evaluate candidates: 45% adopted a skills-first approach, 33% replaced resumes with skills-based assessments, 16% dropped college degree requirements, and 18% prioritized bootcamp certification rather than exclude candidates without degrees.
Not only has the incorporation of new DEI&B practices helped HR managers recruit new job prospects, but the survey revealed that companies that incorporated DEI&B practices and set "impactful goals" in 2021 reported lower attrition. Many talent leaders polled said that when faced with the issue of rampant resignations, companies with lower attrition rates reported doing more to reach DEI&B goals.
The past two years have been arduous for millions of Americans who have experienced disruptions in their employment, be it through layoffs, terminations and job burn-out. As gleaned from the survey results, hiring managers have also felt the brunt of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recession, the Great Resignation and rising inflation. But out of this career chaos comes opportunity, and people looking for work now have a greater advantage at landing quality jobs. "It's hard to see that there's been a better time to be looking for a job than now," says Kevin Parker, executive adviser at HireVue and the company's former CEO, noting that there's such a need and desire for people to work across the entire economy.
"It's a great opportunity, as we've seen, for people to improve their lives economically. Take advantage of this opportunity; if you didn't like being at 'X' for so long (whatever that was), it's time to go try 'Y', and the doors are more open than they've ever been in terms of new experiences and new activities," Parker told ZDNet.
Parker noted that companies are interested more in one's skillsets than past experiences. "In many cases, they've changed job descriptions to open the door wider; they're not asking for 10 years of experience and a PhD, it's more like, 'Can you do this work? That's what I really want to know.' We encourage people to go have a look and see. If you want to try something new, this is the economy to do it, and to have a new experience," he says.
What are the best ways to get out there? Parker says that there are two types of people recruiters are looking out for active talent (job seekers eager to start working) and passive talent (those who aren't actively looking but are keeping their options open). "For passive talent, LinkedIn is where recruiters are going," noting that by keeping one's skills and experiences current, it will make it easier for current workers to move to another job should the opportunity present itself.
As for active job seekers, Parker recommends looking on job boards as there might be interesting opportunities there. For those exploring opportunities in the retail space or just hourly work, Parker sees a growing interest from people wanting to work where they shop. "They have a great consumer experience; it looks like a place they'd like to work, and we see a lot of companies recruiting from their customers to go and join the team."
Companies are also looking for active job seekers on professional online networking sites. Parker noted that a friend recently expressed interest in pursuing a new career in a new industry, migrating from working in K-12 education sales to corporate training and development. "I said just change a few things in your LinkedIn profile, they will find you." Parker's friend added some new experience and focused on the broader training aspects of their experience and a larger perspective on the K-12 background. His friend also reviewed job descriptions for similar roles and added keywords and concepts to their LinkedIn profile that made it clear they fit the role well. "Within a short time, they heard from recruiters searching for those attributes and received calls for interviews because the search engines in LinkedIn were keying in on some of the new experiences and concepts added," Parker said. "They're now in a new job and a new industry starting a new career."
Of course, this is all subjective, as countless many Americans continue to struggle with getting past the first layer where AI software and job bots toss out applications that don't have the right keywords to present a good fit. But should your or professional network profile attract the attention of a recruiter, Parker says to be prepared for a faster turnaround as some recruiters are ditching traditional forms of communication, such as e-mail and in-person interviews and instead of reaching out to more portable, accessible technologies such as the chat function on mobile phones. "The ability to engage with candidates almost 24/7 when they're available is when employers need to be available. And that can be in the form of traditional, on-demand video…but also text and chat engagement. People are looking; you just need to make sure you're ready to be found," Parker said.