Many have been frustrated by the current economic recovery. While Washington continues to say the economy is moving forward, many see and feel differently in their day-to-day lives. Granted the unemployment rate has fallen over the last several quarters, but that has as much if not more to do with people dropping out of the labor force than the number of new jobs being created. One data point that I watch closely is the Gallup’s payroll to population ratio – it has been below 50% for some time and the March reading of 42.7% flies in the face of the “official” unemployment rate. Other data points to a growing use of social media by job seekers to find employment. The Society for Human Resource Management recently shared that more than 75% of companies use social networking sites to recruit job candidate, with recruiters often going beyond sites like LinkedIn to Twitter (TWTR), Facebook and others. The report goes on to show that 66% of recruiters use Facebook for discovering talent, and 54% of recruiters turn to Twitter when vetting candidates.
With that in mind and following the “just okay” March Jobs Report from the Labor Department, I recently spoke with Lindsay Stanton, chief client officer for the Job Search Television Network, as well as digi-me.com, to talk about why she’s upbeat when it comes to the outlook for jobs in the coming months. As Lindsay shares, there has been a robust pickup in activity at staffing firms during the last few months as corporate America scrambles to fill jobs, from IT and financial services to truck drivers, as the housing and construction markets start to rebound. Given the Fortune 1,000 client base that includes Macy’s, McDonald’s, USG (USG), Bank of America, Hartford Financial Services Group and dozens and dozens of others, if jobs are being created out there then Lindsay knows where they are.
How does Job Search Television Network and Digi-Me.com differ from previous ways of employer sharing what job positions they have open and how prospective employees can apply for them?
Historically job seekers have been forced to search through pages of long, wordy job descriptions, first through newspapers and most recently through online job boards. The problem with this approach is that overall comprehension from text alone is low in the first place. Then add to that the fact that most people don’t take the time to read the entire listing anyway, and you get a lot of unqualified applicants, all of which eat-up time and resources on the administrative end.
What we do is allow the employer to bypass the text (and subsequent reader errors associated with it) and literally speak to the job seekers via dynamic video, which is shown to increase content retention by 60%, thereby leading to more qualified candidates. In addition, instead of sifting through pages and pages of job listings, candidates can be exposed to our job videos through social sites, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as mobile devices and client career pages. Plus, each video comes equipped with easy “share” and “apply” buttons, making it fast and simple for candidates to share the jobs with their networks or apply on the spot.
Furthermore, most people are not aware that when you do an online search through Google or Yahoo, video shows up at the top of the results. Therefore, our videos tap-in to this already-in-place search engine optimization, allowing employers’ job videos to populate first for the most relevant candidates.
On the one hand if your business is booming that could mean a pick up in jobs being filled, but it also means corporate America is having a tougher time filling them on their own. What’s the disconnect?
Both are actually true. As the job market gets stronger and we get more level with where we were in 2007 and prior, finding candidates actually becomes more and more of a struggle. We see this throughout our client base, particularly with large Fortune 1000 employers, such as USG Corporation, The Hartford Insurance, and CA Technologies (CA). They have thousands of openings to fill in key areas like sales, IT, and engineering, but in order to get the attention of top talent, they have to stand out from the competition. As a result, these customers enlist our services to showcase their culture and jobs in a way that is engaging to the talent they are trying to reach.
One key factor in winning “the war on talent”, as it has been deemed, is trackability, which is another thing that Digi-Me videos take into account. Each job video generates metrics reports so employers can see the details of the video’s activity, such as where its getting the most “views” and “applies.” This data can then be used to measure results and strategically direct future efforts to attract the most relevant people.
Who are some of the companies you are working with and what are the types of jobs and skill sets they are looking for?
Most of the employers we currently work with are very large names and many are hiring nationally as well as internationally. The skills sets are really core to their business. Kiewit, for instance, is an employer that’s always on the lookout for qualified engineers across the US. Bank of America is constantly searching for call center representatives; USG is looking for truck drivers throughout the nation, and The Hartford Insurance has needs for IT and sales people regularly. You do not necessarily have to have a college degree; education and skill sets vary. Companies are hiring part time and hourly help all the way up to executive level roles.
What are some of the leading indicators you look at for the overall health of the job market and what are they telling you now?
I think consistent growth at the organizational level is important, but one area where we strongly have a pulse on the market is through the volume hiring organizations we work with, including the largest staffing firms in the US. When companies ramp up, they do it through third party resources first, and we are seeing tremendous growth through these key channel partners of Digi-Me.
Are there any particular areas of strength either by industry or geography?
More and more organizations are being flexible with where they require their employees to physically be located in order to attract a broader range of talent. The insurance and financial services industries are strong. Manufacturing is experiencing strong growth as well as construction and trucking industries. For the trucking positions, the job seekers will have to be willing to be away from home but the rewards can be well worth it. Some organizations are paying large sign-on bonuses and salaries can go up to $100,000 annually.
Recent jobs reports have shown that wages are stagnant, are you seeing the same? Is it still an employer’s market?
The answer largely depends on the industry and type of position. There are categories of jobs where the employers literally just cannot find the talent—shortages in healthcare and IT for instance. Where there are shortages, companies have to increase salaries in order to be competitive. As consumer confidence rises and companies increase hiring, the market will continue to swing back to a job seekers market. Companies that are hiring recognize that they need to stand out and are doing so through new technologies as well as salary differentiation in many cases.