According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 209,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate held steady at 6.2 percent with 9.7 million unemployed persons nationwide. About 3.2 million of these professionals had been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
With statistics like those, it’s easy to see why many Americans are still down on the economy. According to a recent survey conducted by researchers at Rutgers University, 71 percent of Americans think the recession caused permanent damage. About 42 percent of those surveyed reported that they have lower pay and fewer savings than before the recession began. Only 7 percent feel significantly better off.
More jobs should help, but as Federal Research Chair Janet Yellen recently stated, “The labor market has yet to fully recover.” While many factors are undoubtedly at work, some suggest America’s employers may be partially to blame. Are you taking any of the following actions that may be contributing to the slow job market recovery?
1. Using applicant screening software
Software that searches resumes and applications for a programmed set of criteria should make a hiring manager’s job easier. Intended to identify and rank top candidates in much less time than manual screening requires, applicant tracking programs should make hiring more efficient. Unfortunately, they sometimes make it less so. Too many employers set search criteria that are too narrow and arbitrarily eliminate jobseekers with some, but not all, of the attributes they select.
A recent Bloomberg News article postulated that use of such software could explain recent hiring inefficiencies. For example, for every 100,000 new openings post-Great Recession, companies have only hired 48,000 professionals. That’s significantly lower than the 54,000 hires per 100,000 openings following the 2001 recession.
2. Looking for a bargain
Companies slashed budgets during the recession. They let go of thousands of workers, and they made do with less. Now that they’re ready to hire, some are looking for a bargain. It may seem reasonable: after all, with so many unemployed, someone must be willing to work for less than market value. However, offering pay that is less than competitive hurts your company. You continue to overwork your current staff (increasing turnover risks) and productivity suffers.
Wouldn’t it be better to boost your bottom line? The best way to do so is to fill those open positions with professionals paid a fair wage. If you’re unsure what equates to a “fair wage” in your industry, websites such as PayScale can help you make that determination.
3. Warehousing resumes and chasing purple squirrels
Maybe you’re not quite ready to hire, but you think you might be soon. You advertise the job and start collecting resumes, even though you don’t intend to act on them. You think this will give you a head start once you’re actually able to start hiring again. Or you may be holding out for the purple squirrel, the job applicant with exactly the right combination of education, experience and skills. You’re looking for a mythical creature to fill an unfillable job description. Either way, you’re unnecessarily contributing to the poor impression of the job market many Americans have today.