"Water, water everywhere - and not a drop to drink". Or, in the case of the recruiting industry: job seekers, job seekers everywhere - but not a one to hire.
We're deep into one of the most interesting recruitment markets in modern memory. With the talent supply chain seeing disruptions and ripples up and down its length, there's been a definite feeling of chaos amongst the recruiting and HR sets. Which is understandable. Hiring has never been a fully straightforward process, because: humans. They tend to be x-factors when it comes to planning. Unfortunately, it's beginning to look like the human-factor may be on the hiring side.
In other words: the call is coming from inside the house.
In a product-related supply chain, while it's complex to work out where the ripples started and what impact they'll have, you're likely to get there eventually. For example, the shortage of cars on dealer parking lots was largely due to shortages in chips. During the lockdown there was a surge in demand for things like video game consoles and toys. So, it appears that the semiconductor manufacturing capacity was initially allocated towards these products, while car companies stopped their orders during the lockdown. Many of us saved money during the pandemic, since we weren’t going on vacations, kids were out of daycare, and there wasn’t a need to buy work clothes. Replacing an old car or an appliance seemed to be a good use of that saved money for many, so demand spiked suddenly. The response will take a bit of time, but it's straightforward enough: build more semiconductor capacity and reallocate the chip making already underway towards autos, since the kids are (largely) back in school.
But... talent supply chains are different. And that has an impact on the aforementioned solves around the movement of goods and services (cars, etc). Beyond COVID-related absences, we have seen labor issues at ports and manufacturing facilities due to “great resignation” or “great reshuffle.” Line operators that were laid off during the lockdown (due to shut-down production lines from lack of sufficient demand) are now hard to hire back, because they got better jobs at firms who have been hiring aggressively - such as warehouse fulfillment jobs at Amazon. Others took advantage of reskilling programs and moved into other careers, such as IT. And then there are Eastern European immigrants who had moved to Western Europe for trucking jobs, and who went back to their homes during the pandemic, and are now not coming back to those jobs. A truck driver shortage is also an issue in the United States, which is contributing to congestion at ports.
So the talent ripple hits the supply chain in unexpected ways. And there's growing evidence that part of the solve lies in our recruitment processes. Because: humans are driving the hiring process. And we're not helping ourselves.
Greenhouse recently released their 2022 Candidate Experience Report, and it points to a disconnect between the "there are not enough candidates" mantra and the reality that there probably are. They're just really really fed up with how they're being treated. The Greenhouse survey - which reached 1,500 employees and job seekers - found that 84% of respondents are looking for, or are open to, a new job in the next six months. Which is huge. That said, good luck landing them.
Tim Sackett, president of HRU Technical Resources, puts it this way: "Now, it's companies who are being interviewed by candidates. From the job application to your website and every communication touchpoint, candidates are making decisions on who they want to work for and companies need to up their game."
Candidates are speaking up. In an article with the Washington Post about the frustrations and brick walls many of them are hitting, Robert Taraschi talked about his struggles. "He tried to track down one vanished job application through a high-ranking personal contact at the organization he had applied to through a jobs site. His friend’s HR department said they never received Taraschi’s application. Taraschi applied again - and again was told HR never received it. Assuming HR was telling the truth, it seems the technology - whether by accident or design - had failed to connect candidate and employer."
In October, Joey Holz of Florida, conducted an experiment after seeing hiring signs all over his county. He wanted some extra work, so he came up with a plan for putting out applications. “Let’s do 30 days, two jobs a day. If I pick something up on the side, great. I’m already employed," said Holz. He sent out 60 applications over the course of the month, all of them for roles paying between minimum wage and $12 per hour. None of the jobs were ones he was not qualified for.
The result? “Sixteen of them responded to me. Four of those went on to a phone call after an email exchange, and then one of those turned into an interview. Zero of them turned into a job that was actually desperate for help," said Holz. That company, however, offered him $8.65 per hour for a job they had advertised as paying $10, and wanted him to have full-time availability for a job that only offered part-time hours.
The Talent Board recently released the first part of their series on the candidate experience in 2021. It only reinforces this narrative. According to their data, 2021 saw the largest increase in candidate dissatisfaction since they started measuring candidate data over a decade again - a 75% rise in North America, and it increased 25% in EMEA.
Jobvite's 2021 Job Seeker Nation report found much of the same:
These numbers and anecdotes have real-world consequences. Consider leisure and hospitality - 3.5 million people have at least temporarily left the U.S. workforce since March 2020. Over one-third of them – 1.2 million – are in the leisure and hospitality industry. A full 81% of sit-down operators in a recent National Restaurant Association survey said they were understaffed. The number was 75% in quick service. It’s led to nearly 70% of restaurants reducing hours of operation over the past three months and 46% cutting back menus. Forty-five percent added they’ve closed on days they’d normally open and a similar number (44%) were forced to reduce seating capacity. So while restrictions, by and large, have loosened up, restaurants find themselves walking a delicate line of demand, value, and experience. Prices in quick service hiked 6.9% in August compared to last year. And supply issues, also tied to labor in many cases, continue to proliferate as costs rise.
Speed matters. Landed, a mobile app that aims to connect hourly workers with employers, reports from their own data that 52% of job seekers are extremely likely to move forward with the interview process if they hear back from the employer within 24 hours. Earlier this week, Home Depot announced a new accelerated hiring process, with the potential for applicants to receive offers within 24 hours of applying.
To solve this dilemma, talent leaders and hiring authorities have to be hyper-focused when it comes to their teams, their processes, and their technologies. Recruitment process mapping and optimization should be at the very top of every employers to-do list - and should be driven from the C-suite. Redundancies and waste need to be eliminated asap, and candidate experience needs to improve rapidly. Without taking steps to address long-ignored complaints from job seekers, the talent supply chain will continue to ripple and impact the broader economy.