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How to keep up with increased hiring demand in essential industries

Posted by Alexandra Kane on Jun 24, 2020 8:34:09 AM
Alexandra Kane

We’re living in unprecedented times. While many industries are trying to adapt and succeed in the middle of a pandemic, others are seeing unprecedented demand and significant growth.

Those “essential” industries, including home care, healthcare, grocery, retail and construction, among others, are scrambling to keep up with demand by attracting and hiring talent (and onboarding them quickly). Talent is eager to find jobs in a difficult economy, yet similarly feels overwhelmed. Worrying about their health, their families and landing a job is a LOT to have on your plate.

It can be difficult to know where to start, or what to do. But, while each situation is unique, there is one critical theme that essential industries should keep in mind:

Communication is key!

During a time where it feels like there’s so little you can control, communication is one element that you most definitely can control. And your ability to effectively communicate during a difficult time will have a dramatic impact not only on your ability to land talent now, but to retain and attract more talent in the future.

As many teams are working with fewer recruiters and reduced headcount from furloughs and increased demand from candidates, teams are under immense pressure to "do-more with less" it seems. Is it even possible to prioritize things like communication and engagement when it seems like just getting through the key tasks are arduous? The answer is you can - and you must!


To help you prioritize communication and best leverage your communication strategy to better meet today’s changing talent needs, here are some critical pieces of communication advice:

Do not neglect candidate engagement

In many cases, businesses hiring right now will have more (even far more) interest than they have openings. Although the tide has shifted and employers are more in control right now, that doesn’t mean your organization should neglect candidate engagement.

Rather, now is the time to double down and ensure your company has a strong candidate engagement strategy, and a plan for implementing that strategy. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to building a strategy and culture around engagement, check out this post for some inspiration.

Your employer brand is a tremendous asset right now, and how you treat talent during this pandemic can have a dramatic impact on the health of that employer brand.

When thinking about employer brand right now, it’s important to remember that your employees, candidates and clients will all remember not only how they were treated, but how you made them feel, when the world turned upside down.

The simplest but most powerful piece of advice I can give you right now when it comes to candidate engagement is to think about how YOU would want to be treated. Then, do that!

Use technology to your advantage

While that simple advice is critical, there is definitely more advice I can and will give you! And that’s to take advantage of technology to help you prioritize candidate engagement, protect (and even build) your employer brand and to take care of your employees and clients.

When I talk about technology here, I’m talking largely about automation.

Lasering in on the increased hiring demand that is flooding so many essential businesses, automation is essential to adequately invest in candidate engagement and meet all those criteria talent needs right now. With high volume recruiting in particular, it’s nearly impossible for your recruiters to manually send necessary messages to everyone!

But going beyond automation as a standalone, the ability to switch between automation and personal, one-to-one communication is critical when things can change in a second. Using a fully integrated platform (like Sense!) ensures your recruiters have full visibility -- they can see every message sent and when. That means that as situations change, your ops and recruiting teams and scan quickly and easily ensure inappropriate messages are held back.

We’re extremely proud to say that Sense is the only platform that gives you this visibility! And now, more than ever, creating that seamless experience for candidates is especially critical.

Wondering how to get started with automation? Here are some core ways Sense clients are leveraging automation on our platform to effectively manage hiring demand right now:

Identify your core audiences

Automation is a time saver that helps you effectively reach and engage large numbers of people with the right messages. But in order to send the right messages to the right people, you have to identify your core audiences (eg. candidates, contractors, clients, employees -- you can get more granular as needed). You may even want to consider setting up client audiences in advance so that you can communicate any client-wide changes.

If you’re using Sense, you can pre-build those audiences in our platform to make things quick and easy.

Keep key audiences informed

Uncertainty is the word right now for so many people. Keeping members of those audiences you just created informed is essential. This is where your crisis communications chops come in handy! Use empathy where you can -- people want to feel heard and understood right now, and showing some humanity really will go a long way (and can make a major impact on your employer brand moving forward as I mentioned above).

Be sure to offer availability and support where you can as well. Show your audiences you care, rather than simply tell them. The difference is huge.

Think ahead

Rather than responding to situations and changes as necessary (circumstances where automation most definitely is a huge help), try to think ahead where you can. Although there is still so much that is unknown right now, take a critical look at your core audiences. Is there an opportunity coming up to proactively reach out to temp workers or long-term contractors based on patterns you’re seeing? Could re-engaging dormant talent in these audiences help you better ramp up hiring as needed?

Prepare for the unexpected

Everything is in flux for candidates right now. Things can change quickly with health or employment status. Here at Sense, we’ve seen several clients get great results by using automation to touch base with contractors to get confirmation prior to their start dates that they are still taking on the job.


You can use this comm (text is definitely ideal here) to check in on plans to come into work, to notify employees NOT to show up if they have any signs of illness, and to trigger automatic workflows for those candidates who indicate they’re not able to make it to this specific assignment.

The depth of possibilities here, and the potential impact on your staffing firm’s ability to deliver for clients, is huge.

Maximize your database

We’ve talked about this quite a bit pre-COVID (and I touched upon it earlier in this blog), but it’s especially important in today’s landscape. With potentially thousands of candidates in your database, you can (quickly) expand your active candidate pool and reduce job board spend considerably by re-engaging dormant candidates.

And with automation (our platform makes it easy), you can take care of important tasks like creating drip campaigns that track who’s ready for work, building skills-based audiences to easily target with job listings and effectively share benefits and perks -- without adding an additional time-consuming task to your day.

Beyond dormant candidates, automation can also help you improve redeployment rates. Automatically touch base before an assignment ends to set up the next gig, or gauge interest and ability to take on jobs outside of their usual fields. There are so many possibilities! When you work with Sense, your Customer Success Manager (CSM) will work with you to understand where you can leverage our platform to both improve results and save time.

The right partners mean everything right now

With so much uncertainty, having partners you know you can count on is essential. Here at Sense, our team of staffing industry leaders is here for you, constantly looking for ways our technology can help you not only weather the storm, but come out even brighter on the other side of these challenging times. To see our technology in action and learn how we can help you reach your specific goals, schedule a demo with a member of our team today.

Topics: candidate engagement, database marketing, COVID-19, staffing engagement

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