COVID19 has changed recruiting strategies. Don’t be short sighted

The pandemic has changed investment priorities for recruiting organizations in 2020. Last year was all about improving the candidate experience. Today, the emphasis is on finding skilled and qualified job candidates. But without a focus on candidate experience and employer brand, recruiting efforts will fail or be ghosted.

According to Jobvite’s 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey Report, many previous recruiting priorities, listed below, have fallen dramatically since 2017, in deference for the priority of finding high quality and skilled job candidates:

  • Improving time-to-hire has fallen from to 22 percent from 52 percent
  • Growing employer brand has fallen to 19 percent from 35 percent
  • Improving candidate experience has fallen to 16 percent from 26 percent
  • Increasing retention rate has fallen to 24 percent from 32 percent

Ghosting. An alarming 61 percent of recruiters from companies with 500 or more employees reported being ghosted by a job candidate, according to Jobvite. (This means the candidate accepted the offer but did not show up to work.) The ghosting number was only 51 percent for companies with fewer than 500 employees, but still a high number.

Hiring skilled and quality candidates requires a broad strategy. I think this change in priority (finding high quality candidates but cutting investments in branding and candidate experience) is a big mistake for recruiters.

Research shows that many quality and skilled employees will ghost a recruiter if the hiring process takes too much time, the company has a poor brand, or their experience is fraught with delays and lapses in communications.  For example, while researching my book, Hack Recruiting, I discovered that three-quarters of job applicants look up how experts rate your employer brand. The experts? They are your employees. Job candidates review how current employees rate your company online before deciding to apply for your job openings.  Data collected by the Talent Board on the experience of job candidates in 2017 shows that more than one-third of all job seekers spend two or more hours researching a single job opening.

Today’s highly skilled and most sought-after job candidates will not tolerate mediocre recruiting practices and poor communications. If you do not show job candidates the love, you will be spinning your wheels in finding and hiring the best ones.

Below is a summary of Jobvite’s 2020 report.

Social Media. In order to find quality candidates during the pandemic, recruiters are most likely to invest in social media. LinkedIn is still the highest used social media channel by recruiters, at 72 percent, but its usage is down from 92 percent in 2017. Instagram has picked up the slack and grown in recruiter usage from 18 percent in 2017 to 37 percent today. Following LinkedIn in popularity in 2020 is Facebook at 60 percent, Twitter at 38 percent, and Glassdoor at 36 percent. For the first time, TikTok is reported as being used by recruiters, at seven percent. LinkedIn is still seen as the social media channel that provides the highest quality candidate.

Employee referral programs remain popular with 71 percent for organizations. Eighty-eight percent of companies with 500 or more employees offer financial incentives for referrals; 61 percent do so in companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Video interviewing. The use of video interviewing has gained significantly since 2017, with 67 percent of recruiters reporting using video interviews and 49 percent report using phone calls. However, 77 percent of recruiters believe that in-person interviews are the most effective way to interview.

Remote Work. One-third of surveyed recruiters report that 50 percent or more of open roles are being hired as remote workers. This matches other research and company announcements.

Text messaging. The use of text messaging to source job candidates is increasing with 52 percent of recruiting in companies with 500 or more employees using text messaging, and 37 percent doing so in  companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Artificial Intelligence. Staffing agencies are using AI much more frequently than in-house recruiters with 54 percent of staffing agencies using it and 23 percent of in-house recruiters doing so. AI is used most to communicate with candidates at 56 percent, schedule interviews at 56 percent, process applications at 48 percent, preform job matching at 32 percent. AI remains unpopular with recruiters. Only 36 percent of recruiters believe AI makes their job better while 23 percent say it makes their jobs worse.

This is an excellent — but extremely limited — use of AI. Artificial Intelligence has much more to offer recruiters as an initial screen and to match job candidates to jobs without bias. Learn more here.

Top benefits. The top benefits asked for by job candidates in 2020 are medical and dental coverage, at 55 percent, work from home and flexible hours at 48 percent and 401(k)s, at 44 percent. It is no surprise that requests about COVID-19 safety concerns sit at 47 percent. Inquiries relating to mental health benefits have also increased, up 43 percent since the pandemic hit. The following benefit requests have risen since 2017:

  • diversity and inclusion initiatives up by one-third
  • family planning, up 17 percent
  • child services up 10 percent from 2017.

If you are struggling with how to shape your recruiting strategies for 2020, I invite you to schedule a complimentary hour of time to discuss recruiting strategies. Email me at

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting, managing partner of InnovationOne, and Sales Advisor to MeBeBot. He works with companies to transform HR, implement remote work, recruit executives, and develop extraordinary leaders, teams, and innovation cultures. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Hack Recruiting: the Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization. Subscribe to his weekly blogs at 


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