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"How COVID-19 Changed Everything for Hiring Managers" with a graph of unemployment over time

How COVID-19 Changed Everything for Hiring Managers

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, including how we work. The challenges have been unprecedented for hiring managers, especially those relying on hourly workers. As we navigate this new landscape, we must understand the changes and adapt to ensure business success and employee satisfaction. Let’s delve into the unique challenges posed by the pandemic, the lasting impacts we still see today, and how innovative solutions like AI-powered tools can help.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Hiring

The Great Resignation and Labor Shortages

When COVID-19 peaked, unemployment hit its highest point. Dubbed the "Great Resignation," the unemployment rate surged from 3.5% to 14.7% due to health concerns and layoffs. However, this spike was short-lived as the rate plummeted back to 3.5% with a rush of job seekers re-entering the market, a fluctuation greater than that of the Great Depression, all within two years. Despite this seeming progress, job openings surpassed the number of unemployed, leaving the workforce struggling to meet demand. Clearly, a change was necessary.

Candidate Ghosting

Following the Great Resignation, companies urgently sought applicants, prompting HR platforms to streamline the application process with features like one-button apply. This made job applications as quick and easy as “liking” photos on Instagram, leading to a surge in applications. People went from applying to a few jobs daily to dozens of them in mere minutes.

Initially, this seemed to solve the labor shortage, but quickly became problematic. Hiring managers were overwhelmed by the volume of resumes, delaying their ability to identify and contact ideal candidates. By the time they did, applicants had often moved on or lost interest. The reasons for ghosting are varied but usually include better offers elsewhere, dissatisfaction with the hiring process, or a lack of communication from employers.

Changing Candidate Expectations

Additionally, the pandemic altered what job seekers expect from potential employers. There’s a stronger emphasis on communication, job security, health benefits, flexible working conditions, and overall workplace culture. This shift means that businesses must offer competitive wages and create environments where employees feel valued and safe.

The Outdated Hiring Process

Inefficient Screening and Hiring

The traditional hiring process for hourly workers is fraught with inefficiencies. Managers often spend countless hours sifting through resumes, conducting interviews, and onboarding new hires — time that could be better spent on strategic business operations. This inefficiency is exacerbated by the high turnover rate, with many new hires leaving within the first 90 days​​.

The Cost of Turnover

High turnover rates are costly. Estimates suggest that replacing a single hourly employee can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 when factoring in recruitment, training, and lost productivity​​. With annual turnover rates in some industries exceeding 100%, these costs quickly add up, eating into profits and disrupting operations.

The Rise of AI-Powered Solutions

Enter JoJo: The AI Virtual Recruiter

Innovative solutions have emerged in response to these challenges. One such solution is JoJo, an AI-powered virtual recruiter that sources, screens, and schedules interviews with the absolute best applicants for businesses. JoJo engages with candidates via text message from the moment they apply, ensuring a warm and welcoming interaction. This immediate engagement sets a positive tone and reduces the likelihood of candidate ghosting. Plus, JoJo reduces drop-off during the application process by guiding them through each step in a way that’s conversational and personalized to each individual.

Equitable and Efficient Screening

JoJo also excels in equitable screening for applicant quality, ensuring everyone is evaluated fairly and consistently. This AI-driven approach helps eliminate biases that can occur in manual screening processes. By pre-screening and pre-qualifying candidates, JoJo ensures that hiring managers only engage with the most suitable applicants, saving time and increasing efficiency​.

Improved Retention Rates

One of the most significant benefits of using an AI-powered recruiter like JoJo is the improvement in retention rates. Businesses can reduce turnover and associated costs by ensuring that new hires are a good fit from the start. JoJo’s consistent and thorough screening process helps identify candidates more likely to stay longer, enhancing employee retention.

Adapting to the New Normal

Embracing Flexibility

To attract and retain top talent, businesses must adapt to the new expectations of the workforce. These adaptations may include offering flexible working hours, providing comprehensive health benefits, and ensuring a safe working environment. Companies that adapt quickly are better positioned to succeed in the post-pandemic world.

Leveraging Technology

Technology plays a crucial role in modernizing the hiring process. AI-powered tools like JoJo not only streamline recruitment but also provide valuable insights into which candidates are most likely to succeed and stay beyond that crucial 90-day mark. By leveraging these tools, businesses can make data-driven hiring decisions that enhance workplace culture, boost productivity, and improve employee retention.

Focusing on Employee Well-Being

Now, more than ever, job seekers want to know they’ll be working for a company that prioritizes employee well-being. This includes initiatives that support both the physical and mental health of workers. Companies that prioritize the well-being of their employees will see reduced burnout, better engagement, and even fewer call-outs due to health issues. It should extend beyond basic health benefits to include innovative programs that create a supportive and inclusive workplace culture.

The Future of Hiring

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the hiring landscape, presenting both challenges and opportunities for hiring managers, especially those relying on hourly workers. The traditional hiring process is no longer sufficient to meet the demands of today’s labor market. By embracing innovative solutions like AI-powered virtual recruiters and adapting to the new expectations of job seekers, businesses can navigate these changes successfully.

As we move forward, it’s essential to prioritize efficiency, equity, and employee well-being in the hiring process. Doing so will not only help businesses attract and retain top talent but also create a more resilient and satisfied workforce. With tools like JoJo, the future of hiring looks promising, offering a path to a more streamlined, effective, and fair hiring process.


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