Through its annual Recruiter Nation Survey, Jobvite aims to provide a complete picture of the recruiting industry, including current challenges, concerns, and emerging trends. It should come as no surprise that this year’s survey reflects the impacts of the pandemic on the job market. 

Recruiting professionals have been busy adapting to new hiring and onboarding methods, shifting job seeker values, and rising stress levels. And many believe the changes they’ve made this year aren’t temporary — they’re shaping the future of the industry.

Hiring amid new challenges and changes

Jobvite’s survey revealed this year’s primary concerns in the hiring process — a lack of qualified candidates (58%) and competition from other employers (47%). However, these worries have lessened compared to three years ago. Heightened recruiter concerns include communication with candidates during the hiring process (25%, up from 20% in 2017) and too many candidates (20%, up from 4% in 2017).

During the hiring process, recruiters have also been fielding more questions from candidates about:

    • Safety: Nearly half (47%) of recruiters have had candidates ask about the hiring company’s COVID-19 safety measures.
    • Remote work: Remote work has grown tremendously this year — 32% of recruiters noted that remote workers fill at least half the open positions at their organization, while 29% said they fill about 25%. Job postings now commonly include schedule flexibility and remote work options, according to 37% of survey respondents. 
    • Diversity: More than three in 10 recruiters reported more questions about company D&I initiatives. And companies have been prioritizing such initiatives this year — most of the surveyed companies have specific diversity hiring goals for race/ethnicity (63%) and gender (54%).

Interviews looked quite a bit different this year, too — 67% of recruiters interviewed candidates via video, and 49% used phone calls. More than half of survey respondents said they’ve been conducting most of their interviews through video, and 40% think this method will become the new default. 

Even so, video interviews aren’t the preferred option for most recruiters. More than 75% said in-person interviews are still most effective, and 69% were comfortable performing such interviews during the pandemic.

Dealing with increased stress

Yet another new challenge recruiters faced this year was added stress. More than 60% of recruiters experienced somewhat increased stress levels since the start of the pandemic, and 19% said their stress levels increased drastically.

Some of that stress stemmed from short staff and decreased hiring — 34% of recruiting organizations reduced their headcount and internal hiring efforts, while just 26% boosted staffing levels and accelerated hiring.

Taking recruitment to the next level

The COVID-19 crisis has driven many industries to adapt to an increasingly digital world. And recruiting agencies are finding that their success depends on how they use new technology and develop new strategies to compete in that world. 

Here are some of the tools recruiters have been employing to save time, do more, and attract more qualified candidates.

    • Text messaging: Text messaging is becoming a more common method of engaging with job seekers — 44% of recruiters reported sourcing candidates via text messaging, and 66% used texting to connect with current applicants.
    • Social media: Nearly half of recruiters said social networks are the most effective tool for building an employer’s brand and attracting candidates, and LinkedIn and Facebook were their most-used social platforms. For 47% of recruiters, social media is a top area in which they plan to invest more in the next 12 months.
    • Software: When asked to choose one technology that would make their job easier, 33% of recruiters said a new applicant tracking system or customer relationship management platform.
    • Artificial intelligence (AI): Recruiters reported using AI and automation to assist with tasks like communicating with candidates (56%), scheduling interviews (56%), and inputting applications (48%). Almost half of staffing agency recruiters said AI makes their job better.

When it comes to measuring the success of strategies like these, 48% of recruiters said quality-of-hire is the most valuable metric, up by 27% from 2017. For more than half of recruiters, improving quality-of-hire is a top priority for the year ahead.

Recognizing the importance of referrals

Nearly 30% of recruiters noted that employee referrals are a top source for high-quality candidates, coming in slightly below internal hires (36%). Referrals were second only to job experience in importance when evaluating candidates, and 36% of recruiters plan to invest more in this strategy over the next 12 months.

To encourage more quality applicants, most organizations (71%) offer employee referral programs, and 88% incentivize referrals. The most common avenues for sharing these referral programs include company newsletters (42%), emails (41%), and social media posts (39%). 

Even though referral programs have become commonplace, Jobvite’s survey found that almost two-thirds of workers have never participated in one. So there’s room for improvement in getting the word out and encouraging participation.

For more survey results, download Jobvite’s full 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey.