April CandE Pulse Results: Strange New Worlds

Deciphering the latest trends in candidate experience.

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May 10, 2023

Just for kicks, I asked OpenAI’s ChatGPT if we’re in a recession. Its response was:

“As an AI language model, I don’t have access to real-time economic data and my training data only goes up until 2021, so I can’t say for sure whether we are currently in a recession or not. However, I can provide you with some general information about what a recession is and how it is typically defined.”

That wasn’t helpful, but whether were in a recession now or not, what is clear was that the hiring market remained strong in April, with U.S. employers adding over 250,000 jobs. The unemployment rate also fell to 3.4% in April from 3.5% in March. Travel, entertainment, and eating out all helped to drive growth.

However, the Fed raised rates again recently in an attempt to further cool inflation and turmoil in the banking industry continues with potentially more failing banks on the way. The confusing economic realities of today are the fallout not only from the pandemic, but from the past decade of cheap money and risky investments.

In our latest CandE Community Pulse results for April, hiring hasn’t cooled as much as we all thought it might. We had over 100 responses from companies big and small across industries (over 40% this time were 2,500-100,000+ in employee size and the most represented industries were technology, healthcare, manufacturing, services, arts & entertainment, construction, education, and finance & insurance).

When we asked employers what their current hiring status was, 75% said “we’re hiring,” which was the same % from March’s CandE Pulse results (see Figure 1). 12% said they’re laying off, which was similar to March, but 50% higher than in February. Those who said they’ve frozen hiring is also up 100% from February. Professional hiring was down 16% from March, and hourly hiring was up 20% from March (see Table 1).

We again asked employers whether they’ve increased or decreased the size of their recruiting team this month, and again there’s been no significant change, positive or negative, since last month (see Figure 2). We hope the layoff hit to recruiting teams continues to stabilize and those who have been laid off are finding jobs.

And while the job requisition load of up to 30 reqs each per recruiter has dropped 11% from March, those carrying up to 50 reqs each increased 29% from March. Of course, we understand that req loads always vary by job type, industry, and employer size, and the fact that recruiting teams are leaner these days, but it is a good sign of hiring resiliency.

As we’ve done over the past few months, we again highlight this month how employers rated their own recruiting and candidate experience. When we compare the April CandE Pulse results to March, those companies that felt like they were competing in their recruiting and hiring practices and their candidate experience is up 10%, but compared to our CandE 2022 Benchmark Research, it’s down 30% (see Figure 3).

Those who felt like they were improving their recruiting and hiring practices and their candidate experience was down 6% from last month, but still up 21% compared to our CandE 2022 Benchmark Research. The good news is that those who felt they were leading increased 17% in April from March.

For now, strange new worlds are upon us and recruiting and hiring is staying warm. Our CandE Pulse data aligns with what we’re seeing in the Labor Department data, and more companies in April felt like they were leading in their recruiting and hiring practices.

Also, according to our April monthly CandE Pulse results, screening and interviewing was the #1 recruiting and hiring initiative for those employers that responded (for the second month in a row). Screening and interviewing are the most critical stages of hiring and where candidates get the most human interaction after applying.

We would argue this is where the greatest positive and negative candidate experience impacts occur based on our annual CandE Benchmark Research. Not surprising, diversity and inclusion and candidate experience were the other top two recruiting and hiring initiatives for April behind screening and interviewing.

However, recruiting budgets are tighter than ever. Leveraging new technologies to meet key recruiting and hiring priorities decreased by 63% from March to April in our CandE Pulse surveying. The exception to this were those who have told us the past few months that candidate and employee survey feedback has helped inform them where recruiting and hiring improvements need to be made.

While the employers that respond to our CandE Pulse survey each month vary, recruiting and hiring while sustaining a quality candidate experience continues to be a work in progress for many. We’ll keep sharing these key Pulse indicators with everyone each month, while all the monthly insights will be shared within our CandE Community. This is another benefit of participating in our benchmark research and you can learn more about all the benefits here.

Until the next monthly CandE Pulse results update, be safe and well.

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