Professional surfer is perfectly pitted deep within a North Shore barrel wave

Turning the Tide on the Incoming Waves of Applicants

Daniel Sines

CEO, Co-Founder | Inspired by human-centered hiring & design | Organizer in Work

Last week I had the chance to catch up with HR leaders from an array of industries as part of Alexander Mann Solutions’ Talent Acquisition video chat series, Staying Connected. One thing was very clear to me -- organizations need to be proactive and prepared for the incoming candidate waves.

Let’s play this out.

Around 32 million* people are unemployed.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that only 50% of them return to the workforce in the coming months. That equals 16 million people looking for work.

If they apply for 5 positions in a month, that’s 80 million applications flooding the market.

Consider the time commitment this will mean for hiring managers. Let’s say it takes about 5 minutes to review each candidate. That’s 400 million minutes.
Over 6.5 million hours.
Over 277,000 days.
Over 750 years worth of review.


During last week’s chat, I heard HR leaders say they think this outlook may even be conservative, though it will play out as multiple waves and vary by industry and region. Not to mention companies have also slashed budgets for TA and recruiting teams. So what do we do with this information?

Our discussion led to two key takeaways that can help control this applicant flow: properly shifting resources and keeping diversity and inclusion in mind.

Properly shifting the allocation of resources

While much of the budget has been slashed, companies are finding some surprising savings they didn’t expect, according to some attendees. General overhead costs like gas and electricity have decreased. As one attendee noted, they have been able to siphon that savings back into job boards and other tactics for recruitment. That’s helpful to remember, as there are some short-term benefits to reallocated resources.

Where companies, and specifically TA teams, strategically reallocate their resources will be of the utmost importance in the coming months. An attendee mentioned that their company is considering the contingent workforce. They may utilize them for isolated projects or short-term tasks that need to be accomplished. This is a creative solution that luckily isn’t completely new. Many tech companies already exist that could provide task-oriented workers. And this also means there’s a large opportunity for gig economy or contingent workforce companies to fill holes for new industries, like restaurants and hospitality.

Overall, this means that companies are impacting their future success when shaping their recruitment and talent acquisition strategies right now. Where will their hiring team’s time and resources be best spent? Attendees agreed that video interviewing and tools to save recruiters’ time have to be part of the plan.

Don’t regress on diversity and inclusion

Another immensely important topic that came up during the discussion was diversity and inclusion. Specifically, an attendee asked how Traitify was thinking about this. To be direct, our views haven’t changed. Traitify prides itself on being a platform focused on accessibility for all job seekers. And it’s now more important than ever that companies focus on incorporating diversity and inclusion into their recruitment strategies.

There is a potential for companies to use current circumstances as an excuse to go back in time, to falter from how far we’ve come towards unbiased recruitment and talent acquisition strategies. But that’s not how we should look at it. Now is the time to keep moving forward. We should take advantage of the need to reallocate our resources, and make sure diversity and inclusion is included in our budgets. We have to remember that this isn’t just a topic, a line item. It’s about people. People that have strengths and abilities to help companies not only survive these tumultuous times, but thrive. It also doesn’t hurt that research has found companies incorporating workers with different backgrounds and perspectives are more likely to be “change-ready” and outperform their peers.

Turning the tide

A tidal wave is pretty unmanageable. Cities and beaches can only prepare by bracing for impact. They can only defensively react, escape farther inland. How can we turn these incoming waves of candidates into the routine rising tide? Better yet, a day of surfing at the beach? Effectively choosing how hiring teams should reallocate resources is going to make or break hiring strategies in the months to come. And utilizing hiring tools that fill in the gaps for hiring managers, and keep the process as unbiased as possible, could turn this challenge into an opportunity.


If you’d like to learn more about how Traitify helps hiring teams quickly find and prioritize the best fit candidates, reach out.

*32 million unemployed is based on May 8, 2020 estimates from NY Times and CNN Business Jobs Report.


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