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Bracing for Impact: The Job Market is about to Get Hot

The fuse is lit.

After more than a year of uncertainty, the job market is about to get hot. Based on numbers from recent jobs reports, the rebound has already begun. We expect a continued ramp-up for the next few months, followed by the market reaching its boiling point this summer.

This is great news for candidates who’ve been biding their time. However, it’s vital for hiring managers and business leaders to understand the realities of this pivot point.

Competition is increasing.

A relaxed, passive hiring strategy is likely to result in the top people shaking hands with your competitors. Now is the time to get proactive.

By understanding the current landscape, keeping an eye on trends, and streamlining your hiring process, you can be better prepared for the future.

How the Pandemic Impacted the Job Market

Rewind a year. Once the realities of the pandemic set in, many people became hesitant to make career changes.

It’s easy to understand why. Friends and family all over the country lost their jobs. Those who were able to stay employed clung to that current position. It provided a sense of stability when everything else felt up in the air.

However, with widespread access to vaccines, a corner has been turned. People once again feel confident to consider new opportunities. In fact, according to a report by Kaspersky, upwards of 35% of employees are thinking of shifting to a new job in the next 12 months.

Bottom line: Candidates are flipping the switch from passively searching to actively searching.

How the Current Landscape Looks

With the national unemployment rate currently sitting just over 6%, it’s easy to assume there will be plenty of job seekers to choose from. And, although many jobs remain lost, there are strong indicators showing the economy is improving, hiring is surging and that consumer confidence is increasing. Many economists say recent job reports represent a turning point in the labor market’s road back to health.

Let’s take a closer look. When narrowing the focus to professional positions for functions such as Accounting & Finance, Human Resources, and Administrative, the jobless rate is much stronger. In fact, according to BLS data, the unemployment rate in March 2021 for people over 25 with a Bachelor’s degree or higher was 3.6%.

Additionally, as you dive deeper into skill sets, that number can shrink even further. It’s safe to say that the competition for top talent will be more competitive than many people anticipate. The urgency of your hiring process, or the lack thereof, is likely to determine whether or not you fill your open positions.

Closer to home, at Planet Professional, we’ve noticed hiring surges in both Human Resources and Accounting.

Specific in-demand roles within HR include:

  • Talent acquisition professionals like Recruiters, Contact Recruiters, Sourcers and Recruiting Assistants
  • HR Generalists
  • HR Coordinators

Within Accounting, companies have increasing need for:

  • Billing and Accounting Clerks
  • Staff Accountants
  • Accounts Payable professionals
  • Accounts Receivable professionals

Bottom line: If you see a candidate you like, be prepared to make a move before your competitors do.

How to Fine Tune Your Hiring Strategy

The shelf life of top candidates is low. This means that a long, drawn-out, or otherwise inefficient hiring process, is going to hamper you from securing the best candidates.

Now is the time to optimize. All changes must be filtered through your own company’s needs and capabilities, but here are three strategies you can implement:

Offer Panel Interviews
Panel interviews allow you to streamline the process.

For example, instead of the initial conversation consisting of a screening process with Human Resources, invite HR to be on the panel for that first interview. You then walk away with multiple perspectives of that single candidate, which helps you determine whether to proceed.

If a follow-up interview is needed, this could include the ultimate decision maker(s) within your organization.

Reduce the Number of Interviews
People get whiplash as they bounce around from department to department. This can be especially true if they are considering multiple companies at the same time.

Trimming the number of interviews to just the essentials helps everyone save time.

Have the Conversation

Now is not the time to stubbornly wait on a candidate who is perfect on paper. After all, resumes don’t tell the complete story.

If someone checks three out of the five boxes you’re looking for, it may be worthwhile to start a conversation with them. This widens your net and also helps you determine whether or not someone is a culture fit.

Bottom line: Make improvements to your hiring process now so that you’re fully prepared when the job market explodes this summer.

Overall, just remember we are re-entering an employee market. It’s important to be active. However, that doesn’t mean you need to comprise culture for the sake of a quick hire.

Optimizations may be needed and timelines may get trimmed, but this is also a fluid situation. Coming out of a pandemic is uncharted territory for your candidates, your competitors, and yourself. Everyone is learning. Lean into that.

Take advantage of the opportunity to reevaluate your strategies and plan for a hot job market.

Photo credit: markoaliaksandr for 123rf