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How the Labor Shortage Is Changing the Recruiting Process: 5 Hiring Trends Frontline Managers Need to Know

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Help wanted everywhere. As the war for frontline talent rages on, hiring managers have had to expand and adapt their recruiting strategies to quickly bring on new team members — lots of them. As a result, big changes are taking place that will permanently impact the hiring process for hourly workers. 

As labor shortage challenges continue across nearly every industry, companies are reevaluating practically every element of the employee experience — including the candidate experience and how they hire new team members. 

Meanwhile, frontline and hourly job seekers have come to expect more from both the hiring process and the employee experience overall. Competitive organizations are taking note and making comprehensive improvements to both. It’s a job-seekers market, and the time for meaningful change is now. 

Here are five hiring trends that have impacted how companies find hourly workers as a result of the post-pandemic labor shortage.

1. Relaxed Job Requirements

In an effort to reduce the barrier to entry and find more workers, many industries have reduced or simply eliminated certain job requirements altogether. Previous deal-breakers such as a lack of experience or a minor criminal offense are being reconsidered by hiring teams. 

Here are a few examples of how organizations are rethinking their job requirements for new hires:

  • Many tech firms are no longer requiring applicants to have a college degree
  • Some states now only require a high school diploma to be a substitute teacher
  • Pre-employment drug testing has been eliminated for certain roles
  • More relaxed background check requirements

The manufacturing industry, in particular, has embraced this trend.

According to a recent survey conducted by Ogletree Deakins’ Manufacturing Industry Group: 

  • 32% narrowed the scope of disqualifying criminal convictions
  • 5% eliminated an English comprehension requirement
  • 20% loosened aptitude testing requirements
  • 20% eased required prior experience standards

2. Recruiting Through Social Service Agencies

Many companies are now partnering with their local social service agencies to source hourly candidates for employment. 

This often looks like:

  • Recruiting through work release programs of correctional facilities that focus on rehabilitating non-violent offenders back into the workforce
  • Partnering with local shelters to offer employment to individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Partnering with local agencies to connect at-risk youth with job opportunities

Pro tip: Some companies have even seen dramatic drops in turnover rates after implementing ex-offender hiring programs. 

The company ERI (Electronic Recyclers International) is one example. Before implementing an ex-offender hiring policy, its turnover rate was 25%. After hiring more employees with minor criminal offenses on their records, employee attrition dropped to 11%.

3. Improving the Candidate Experience for Frontline Applicants

Hourly employees often feel frustrated throughout the application and hiring process. One survey found only 27% of hourly candidates were satisfied with the application process, and even fewer were satisfied with interviewing and screening.

Common complaints with the hiring process for hourly workers include:

  • Lengthy application process
  • Being asked irrelevant questions that didn’t directly relate to the job
  • Chatbot catastrophes – oftentimes companies become overly reliant on auto-responses, resulting in answers which are unhelpful, or that simply dump candidates back into an endless loop of legacy systems
  • Impersonal responses – Overly clinical, corporate, and canned responses make for a cold candidate experience 
  • Lack of follow-up – Avoid submission blackholes and follow up with candidates in a timely manner

As companies look to attract and retain more workers in the post-pandemic job market, optimizing both the hiring process and the employee experience will be key to building a successful workforce with a healthy retention rate. 

4. A Surge in Social Media Recruiting

In an effort to find cost-effective solutions to snap up more candidates, hiring managers and recruiters are becoming more social media savvy

TikTok released a resume feature last year to help mega national retailers like Chipotle and Target find new team members. McDonald’s even piloted a program called “Snaplications” on Snapchat, which brought in over 3,000 job applications in just 23 hours. 

Although TikTok resumes have not been considered a huge success, leveraging the viral power of social media can become a  viable long-term recruitment tactic, as companies will continue these digital experiments to crack the ever-elusive Gen Z recruitment code.

Some tips to keep in mind when connecting with applicants on social media:

  • Create short video job postings for  Instagram (posts and stories), and Facebook Reels, and post them on Twitter, TikTok, and on relevant Facebook groups for visibility
  • Consider creating a separate company account to showcase employer branding and promote job openings (see the Under Armour Jobs Twitter account or Taco Bell’s Careers page as epic examples)
  • Post authentic pictures and videos of your team to showcase your company culture
  • Watch out for unconscious bias in social screening

5. More Emphasis on Employee Referral Programs

Employee referrals have long been viewed as the holy grail of hiring. A free, qualified pipeline of candidates who already have personal connections with your current workforce? Priceless. 

Employee referrals are highly coveted by hiring managers for many reasons:

  • 88% of employers claim that their best above-average candidates come through referrals
  • Referrals are 5x more likely to get hired
  • Employee referrals come with a lower cost-per-hire
  • Referred employees are a great tactic if you need to staff up in a hurry. They typically have a shorter time-to-hire period than a cold applicant

Employee referral programs are especially effective at finding hourly and frontline workers who may not be active on professional networking sites like LinkedIn

Pro tip: In order to maximize your employee referral program, allow your team to submit candidate recommendations digitally, on their mobile devices (this is where having a frontline success platform like Beekeeper comes in handy!). 

One of our customers, Wanzek Construction used Beekeeper to boost their referral program offering bonus incentives of $500-$750 to team members for referring an employee who gets hired and stays with the company for 30 days. The result? 525+ referrals in just 3 months

The impact of the current labor shortage has undoubtedly led to permanent changes in how companies attract and retain frontline workers. Brand recognition and employer reputation are more important than ever as hiring managers look to find new ways to optimize the candidate experience. 

But Wait There’s More: Bonus Tip! Don’t Underestimate the Power of an Excellent Employee Experience

The best way to drive down recruiting costs? Modernize and improve the employee experience for your team with a frontline success platform (like Beekeeper!). Getting people in the door is important, but making sure they stick around is ultimately the goal of any manager. 

With new hire ghosting at an all-time high, and “Help Wanted” signs hanging in every window, building employee/brand affinity from day one is crucial. Otherwise, your hiring process becomes a revolving door to your business that drains the time and resources of your team. 

The future of frontline work is digital. Will your organization be a tech trendsetter and attract top talent, or will your team remain dissatisfied and in the dark?

Psst. Want even more tips to reduce recruitment costs? 

Download our Savvy Hiring Managers’ Quick Guide to Slash Recruiting Costs here.