High Unemployment is Not an Excuse to Avoid Hiring Process Improvement

I’ve seen a lot of change in HR technology over the past decade as well as many employer pitfalls when it comes to leveraging technology to improve the quality of hire and increase the number of job applicants.

Those employer pitfalls have really stuck out like a sore thumb this year, as the global pandemic has had a profound impact on employer recruitment and retention success. Creating a great hiring experience has never been more important to workforce productivity.

The excuses your organization may have made in the past about why you haven’t taken the time to improve your recruiting process must be remedied if you hope to compete for top talent in a post-pandemic world.

This is the first video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

High Unemployment | Hiring Process Improvement

Video Transcript:

Pre-Pandemic Employment – THEN

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and to say that it has been a volatile employment year is a major understatement. Whether your employer has laid off people, or is in a hiring binge, it’s clear the pandemic has shed light on the more troubling excuses we hear employers make about their hiring process.

Before the pandemic began, companies were navigating a candidate-driven market. The job seekers called the shots…and companies couldn’t find enough candidates…fast enough.

At the end of February, nearly 158.8 million US civilians were employed–that was a 10-year high. And, the unemployment rate was at a historic low of 3.5% (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The employment landscape favored job seekers, and while we were in a much better economic position, employers had to rethink their hiring processes to attract and quickly hire top talent. That meant candidates received multiple job offers, employers boosted their total compensation packages and some jobs went unfilled for long periods of time.

Some of those were evergreen jobs…those are the jobs that some industries always have open 24/7, year round. Examples of evergreen jobs might include servers at restaurants, cashiers at retail stores, tellers at banks, direct support professionals with nonprofits…you get the idea. The positions for which multi-location employers, especially, are always hiring.

Pandemic Impact – NOW

Fast forward to now. We’ve made economic improvements and US unemployment has improved to 6.9%…though it’s still almost double what it was in February (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Some jobs are still on hold, and others are at peak demand in an unprecedented way. Like manufacturers of safety equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, e-commerce sites, online meal delivery services and software companies.

And like I said earlier, the excuses employers are making…are more exposed. So, what’s that first one?

A Higher Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Mean Hiring Employees is Easier

Unemployment is still pretty high now, and it’s an employer’s market so I’m not worried about applicant volume.

Not so fast…even though you’ve likely seen an increase in job listing views, application starts and even submissions since the pandemic began, know that some people are still opting out of traditional working arrangements for many reasons.

These reasons may range from a new need to work remotely in order to care for others…to a lack of motivation to work because pandemic-related unemployment resources have exceeded their normal pay rate.

And for people who are underemployed and constricted to a specific schedule of availability due to a short-term part-time job, they aren’t giving your job a second glance if you’re not conveying that your organization is still working hard–even in an employer’s market–to attract and retain good hires.

The Pandemic is Still Impacting Your Job Candidate Pool

According to a Washington Post article referencing Bureau of Labor Statistics data in May of this year, “if you took the official unemployment figure, added in people who wanted a job but were not looking for one, and then included everyone who had been pushed into part-time work, you could say that 26.4 percent of people lost work or work hours in April.

But hey, things are better now than in April, right? Yesss…but let’s recognize that this year more than 1 in 4 workers were hit by the coronavirus fallout.

Navigating that experience had a significant impact on job seekers and that impact has lasting effects…effects that you must consider as an employer.

Strategy: Communicate Your Employment Opportunity Differently

Since there are no guarantees that you’ll convert applicants…even in this job market…you must communicate differently.

And I don’t mean just trying different media to communicate (although that is important), I also mean highlighting your solutions to the pain points that today’s job seekers want to alleviate.

If they’re reluctant to return to work for social distancing reasons and your job can be done remotely, prominently display that in your job description…and even your job title.

If you’re open to flexible working arrangements such as temporary work or variable working hours, mention that, too.

Dedicate a portion of your careers site to spotlight your response to the headlines of this year such as the global pandemic and the fight for social justice and racial equality. Weave your employment brand and core values into every piece of career content with consistency, variety of delivery method and sincerity.

And just like you’re not willing to settle for a warm body in a job seat, while applicants may need jobs…they’re not willing to settle at organizations that don’t have brands or values that align with their own.

Has your organization been doing enough to navigate this volatile employment landscape?

Interested in learning more? Watch this webinar on demand!

Pandemic Hiring Recruiting Webinar | ExactHire

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Hiring Process Improvement | High Unemployment

Introduction to Using Video in Recruiting

ExactHire recently teamed up with Covideo to create a short series of videos highlighting tips for how to use video in the recruitment and hiring process. Check out the video below for a short overview of how to use video in recruiting.Video Recruiting How-To | ExactHire

Video Transcript

There’s no denying that the majority of people prefer to watch an engaging video rather than read text. Not surprisingly, many job seekers have the same preference as they research and engage with potential employers. But, to see why recruiters specifically could benefit from video, we talked to Jessica Stephenson from ExactHire.Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson, and I’m the Vice President of Marketing and Talent for ExactHire. We’re a software firm that develops applications that help employers automate and improve the hiring process.

So, why would a recruiter want to add video to their recruitment process?

From a recruitment standpoint, video is super appealing. I think in the age that we are today, especially with unemployment being low, employers need to do everything they can to stand out in a sea of other employers as they compete for talent. So when you think about assets that you can use to promote your job opportunities, what’s going to stand out more in an email, in a social media stream, and anywhere–it’s going to be video and imagery…not just static text content.

What are some of the places where video can be used during recruitment?

So video can be used in all different aspects of recruiting and the employment life cycle. Starting with recruiting, also in interviewing, in pre-boarding, in onboarding and employee engagement, and even in offboarding.

Video is beneficial to any recruiter out there looking to distinguish themselves to their applicants.

There’s no right or wrong way to use video in the employment life cycle. Do what’s right for your organization based on your unique core values and culture. And, experiment along the way to see what works best for you.Choose Right HR Software | ExactHire

Can I Check the Status of My Employment Application? [VIDEO]

In this age of instant gratification, it’s natural for job applicants to want uber-prompt attention when it comes to knowing whether the employment application they submitted for your company’s position has made it through your screening process. And, even if you pride yourself on being ultra communicative to applicants regarding their fate in your hiring process, it never hurts to make additional strides in the proactive communication category.

In this ExactHire vlog, listen to Jessica Stephenson explain how you can introduce an element of applicant self-service by enabling candidates to check on the status of an employment application by logging into their profile provided by your HireCentric applicant tracking system.

ExactHire Vlog Applicant Status Codes

Video Transcript:

When it comes to screening employment applications, how long is your applicant status code list? Especially if you’re subject to compliance reporting, the list can get very long and specific. For example, noting the exact reasons why each candidate fails to meet minimum basic qualifications…experience, education, etc.

And, while you would want that level of detail for your internal status assignments, you wouldn’t need to share that with candidates externally.

What if you could introduce a self-service component that allows applicants to log into their profile and check on the status of their own job application? Well, you can…and the best part…you get to choose the public-facing label for each of your internal status codes. So, what you know as “Not Selected–Basic Qualifications–Experience” would simply show up as “Not Selected” to the candidate externally.

But think about the positive application of that feature…for what you use as “Sent to Hiring Manager” internally, you could more strategically rename that status code “Screened by HR–Sent to Hiring Manager” to serve as a positive reinforcement to candidates that would otherwise disengage without prompt feedback about their employment application. This tool can be a competitive advantage in this age of immediate feedback…as long as you screen your applications promptly.

If you’re interested in turning on this feature, the ExactHire Client Services team would love to help you. Please email them at support@exacthire.com. Once enabled, Admin users will see a new field when adding or editing status codes called “Status Shown to Applicants.” Likewise, candidates, once they’ve logged into their HireCentric profile, will see a public-facing version of your internal status codes assigned to them.

Thanks, and have a great day!

How Important is Hiring for Company Culture Fit…Really? [VIDEO]

In this ExactHire vlog, listen to ExactHire Co-Founder, Jeff Hallam, explain what we can learn from a high profile sports team employee termination, and offer tips on how to better assess a job candidate’s potential ability to fit in with your corporate culture.


Video Transcript:

Hi, today’s topic is to talk a little bit about culture, and when I talk about culture not so much in terms of what you can do to make your culture better…it’s not really my realm of expertise at all. But more so, to talk about how important keeping your culture in mind is when hiring. This came to light a while back with the GM of the Colts here in Indianapolis being let go despite having a pretty good run over the last four or five years.

Hiring for Culture Lesson Learned from the Colts

And, as much as there have been issues and there have been rumors that have swirled around that, and just because it’s such a high-profile role, what came to light after the fact I think surprised a lot of people, myself included. In essence, despite the success that was had, it became clear that the way this person behaved internally…how they interacted with others…certain things that they did or didn’t do didn’t really line up with the culture that the owner of the Colts had in mind in terms of how they should be functioning day to day. It made me think, a lot of times especially with what’s happened in the candidate space over the last couple of years with the job market really tightening, the candidate pool continuing to seem from an employer perspective like it’s shrinking…there’s a lot of talk about trying to engage candidates better.

All of that’s perfectly valid—that is absolutely critical to try to get people involved and interested in your roles. At the same time, I think once people show that interest there are a couple of things that you can do just as final steps to make sure you’re not skipping through that process too quickly and find yourself in the same situation the Colts did.

Assess Job Candidates’ Potential Company Culture Fit

Getting a good performer, especially in a prominent role, is critical and we all know that–but sometimes in the interest of trying to move past that it’s easy to skip a couple of core things that can maybe help prevent that. So one of those things is the notion of taking the time to do reasonable reference checks. Again, understand you’re not going to do that probably for roles that are paying a little bit less or aren’t going to interact with others as much. But for these roles where people are going to touch others within the organization with their actions, with their words; or, for those who are going to interact frequently with your clients…that reference piece can be pretty significant in terms of making sure you’re getting what you thought you were getting.

So making sure that you have a handful of people who have interacted with that person before, and having a very clear notion of what you’re looking for–what you need to know about that person–can absolutely help raise any potential red flags that otherwise you might not see until later in the process.

Use Social Media to Better Understand Candidate Professionalism

The other thing you can do is…and there are various channels and tools out there to do this…one that I just became aware of recently is called 360social.me. Really powerful and neat little tool, but whether you do that or just visit them on LinkedIn, or look at their Twitter profile…or whether you use this third-party plug in…the notion is look and see how this person conducts themselves via social media. Doesn’t matter what their views on certain things are, etc. But if they’re offering up any kind of inflammatory comments, or they’re sharing views or things that are inappropriate…lots of things that might otherwise again not fly in the face of how you like things to operate within your culture.

Better to know those things upfront…be aware of them, and at that point then you can determine whether it’s based on feedback from the references or what you see on the social media gamut, you can better determine whether those are items that help reinforce your hiring decision or whether those are things to be aware of and perhaps modify with that person once you bring them on board.

Download ExactHire Company Culture E-book

When Should I Buy Applicant Tracking Software? – Whiteboard [VIDEO]

If your organization has never used an applicant tracking system before, you might be curious about the telltale signs that it might be time to buy applicant tracking software. In today’s Whiteboard Chat, Jeff Hallam shares his insight on the most obvious indicators that it may be appropriate for a small- to medium-sized business to implement a recruiting software solution for the first time.

Video Transcript:

Hi there! Today we’re going to take a look at something that comes up quite a bit as I’m out talking with organizations. And that usually kind of revolves around, for those who aren’t already very large…how do I know if I’m large enough; or, how do I know when the time is right for me to need an applicant tracking tool?

And so today is really just designed to give you some helpful things to keep in mind or some considerations so that you’ve got some warning signs to consider as to when might the time be right for your particular company. So, the obvious one is if you are doing more hiring. And there is no set benchmark, there is no set number of hires. If you hire more than this or fewer than that, it is or isn’t right for you. More often what I find is that it’s relative. It’s relative to what we’ve done before, it’s relative to what we’ve done up to this point, and so for everyone there seems to be this line of demarcation that once we cross that, this becomes a lot more problematic than it has been prior.

So as you continue to grow and you have more openings out there, that is almost always going to be a surefire way to help you kind of keep that in mind. Secondly, if you are seeing instances where candidates are applying, and you’re finding yourself kind of scratching your head and saying I think I’ve heard of this person before. Or, I think we considered them before. Or, other people are looking at the resume and saying “oh, we’ve talked to this person prior.” That’s almost always a good sign if you don’t have a ready way to keep track of that, and if you think about an Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft Outlook folders, or worse yet even just a stack of resumes you might be keeping in a file folder somewhere…that becomes really difficult to cross reference when you have more than a handful of those in there. So again, that’s almost always a good way to know that if that’s happening with more frequency, that means you probably have more openings, you’re getting more candidates. It might be time to look for a more effective way to keep track of those folks.

This is one of those things that comes up a lot…this need to involve hiring managers. So, when you find yourself at a point where it’s becoming more cumbersome to let hiring managers weigh in on certain candidates, it’s becoming more difficult to track and log what their feedback is…who we interviewed, who did we not, why do we not want to interview them or why do we want to interview them…again, that’s typically where Outlook spreadsheets, Excel spreadsheets, Outlook subfolders I should say…those types of things become very difficult to share bits and pieces of with hiring managers who are only focused on a certain opening. So, in other words if I have three openings and I only want Manager One to see this list of candidates, Excel and Microsoft Outlook folders aren’t really designed to do that in a very efficient way.

So again, as you’re finding yourself getting to that point, others are getting involved, and you want their input…almost always going to be something that will tip your hand that it might be time to look at a solution like ours. And then finally if your applicants are hearing crickets. And again, just by way of notice, that is a cricket. The idea here as much as we make light of it is that can be problematic at two different levels…so certainly it can be problematic if you have good candidates and you want to move them along in the process but you’re not getting to them quickly enough. Those folks, if they don’t hear a response very quickly, they’re likely moving on to the next opportunity. And you certainly don’t want to lose access to them. So that’s what we mean on the one side of the fence when we talk about them hearing crickets.

On the other side of the fence though, are the people that you are clearly not moving forward with. When you don’t have an automated tool like an applicant tracking software piece available, it becomes very difficult to keep applicants up to date with where they are and communicate with them effectively. And so even though you may not be worried about them as a potential hire, you don’t want to give those folks incentive to speak poorly of you out in the employment marketplace. Certainly we all have a brand to our potential customers, but that branding also extends over to the employment side of things. So, whether you are talking about your better applicants or your not so good applicants, having a ready way of keeping them apprised of where they are, what the next steps are, and where they fall in that process…is going to be very critical to making sure that you maintain a good presence in the employment brand space out there, and avoid giving people incentive to speak poorly about you to others. So again, hopefully this has been a nice help just to give you a few quick indicators. These aren’t the only ones by any means, and they may not be the exact ones for you…but certainly something to keep in mind as you continue to grow and your business gets to points where you might be considering something like this.

For more information about how ExactHire’s HireCentric applicant tracking system, please visit our resources section.

How to Make Sure an Electronic Signature is Valid – Whiteboard [VIDEO]

If you’re trying to determine how you can use technology to make the employee onboarding process paperless, then there are some things you should know about e-signatures. In today’s Whiteboard Chat, Jeff Hallam discusses the elements that are included in a legitimate electronic signature.

Video Transcript:

Hi! Today we’re going to talk about electronic signatures. And this is something that comes up a lot in today’s world as more and more organizations are looking for solutions that can help expedite collecting signatures, and really, the idea today is to make sure that we can help you better understand some of the essential items that have to be there in order for an electronic signature to be as valid as a regular physical signature.

And again as a quick precursor, none of this is meant to be legal advice. If you have more detailed questions, I would always recommend that you seek your attorney of choice. But hopefully this will at least give you a pretty good checklist of things to consider as you go down this path. So really everything starts with a piece of legislation passed back in 2000 called the E-Signature Act. More commonly know as the E-Sign Act. So as you go down this path you’ll probably hear that terminology used and really all that was designed to do was to lay out a common set of protocols that all providers and organizations could use to make sure that key elements of an electronic signature were consistent across the board.

So really, what we’re going to start with are kind of just these four common things that have to be present in order to make sure that you are in compliance from an e-Sign Act perspective.

So the first one is review. As you would expect with any kind of typical physical document, nobody’s going to sign that until they actually have a chance to see what it is that they are signing. The same thing applies with electronic signature. You have to give the person who’s being asked to sign the document access to that document so they can confirm what’s on it, and that they can indicate that they are in agreement with that. Pretty standard, but again, just to make sure that that would be part of what’s offered and to check on that.

Secondly, and this is really more at the core of the technology side of things, is the ability to prove that the signature is unique and verifiable. And, there are different ways to do this and I’m going to hit on more of the best practices approach. Really there are three elements involved in making sure that this signature becomes unique and verifiable. Number one, you have to be able to record something that constitutes a signature. And, that can be anything from checking a box, filling their name into a box of text on a screen, all the way down to an actual mouse pad signature where somebody would attempt to replicate their signature electronically. Whatever approach somebody uses doesn’t really matter at that point as long as that is recorded.

Secondly, you’re typically going to want to make sure that there’s a date and a time stamp to that signature so that it can be found and tied back to when this actually occurred. And then finally, in most instances you’re going to want to record the IP address of the computer or the device where someone was when they issued that signature. And now as you combine all three of those elements, it is very easy to go back and confirm that the person who appeared to sign the document actually did.

Thirdly, we get to consent. If there are documents that are longer, or a little more complicated, and/or those that have repercussions if certain conditions aren’t met or rules aren’t followed, its always a good idea, again best practices-wise, to have a way to make sure that the person is really clear on what that consent means. So, for instance on the I-9 form, which is something we run into very frequently, there are certain penalties that may be imposed if you’re found to have been untruthful in documenting somebody’s citizenship status. Well, as the person being asked to sign off on that, while it is in the document, the I-9 is several pages long. So, what you might do in those instances is look for an opportunity to either highlight those key areas so its very clear to the person and those are called out; or, perhaps even bring a copy of those key elements down into the signature area where they are being asked to sign so that its very clear again that they understand what it is exactly that they are consenting to at that point.

And then finally, access and change. This kind of works both sides of the street – access means the person that we have asked to sign the document has to have the ability after that transaction is complete, to download and access a copy of that for their records. Print, save, whatever it might be. Likewise, on the other side of the street, the group that originated the transaction, is prohibited from making any changes to that signed agreement unless its approved by the person that was asked to sign it in the first place.

And again, nothing different than what you would see in a regular contract or signing arrangement physically, but again, making sure that these four elements are all there, and that those criteria exist, and that whatever vendor or developer you’re working with can prove those items will make sure that you can stay in compliance and that your electronic signatures are every bit as valid as a physical signature. Thanks!

For more information about how ExactHire’s employee onboarding software utilizes e-signatures, please visit our resources section or contact us today.

[VIDEO] Job Requisition Approval Process

Is your organization struggling to get job openings approved by relevant managers across multiple locations in a timely fashion? Do delays in the job requisition approval process cost your company money, time and lost applicants?

If so, then consider incorporating an automated job approval tool into your hiring workflow. In this video, learn how the optional requisition management feature within the HireCentric applicant tracking system can help organizations to better control the time frame and costs involved with the recruiting process.

Schedule a live demonstration to see the job requisition management feature in action.


An easy-to-use job approval process is key to a consistent, controlled approach to managing your hiring efforts and staying within budget.

ExactHire’s applicant tracking software has an optional requisition management feature that allows small and mid-sized companies to digitize the job approval process.

With the flexibility to allow both hiring managers and HR administrators to start new requisitions, companies can customize the approval process by business unit or even by job listing.

It’s easy for hiring managers to access the Requisitions tab and click the green plus icon to start a new request.

Configure user logins to give managers access only to templates within their department.

Then, managers complete the quick and easy form, customized for your company, to capture whatever job info you require…for example, number of openings, salary grade, job board preferences, and budgetary considerations.

The management approval chain can vary by user or job. With HireCentric, HR Admins may pre-configure approval layers for groups of users; or, allow them to choose the appropriate requisition approval layers for themselves.

Once a request is launched, the first recipient logs in to view details and then may simply approve or deny it. Leaving comments is optional.

If declined, the requesting manager receives a notification and may make edits. Once approved by all layers, an HR Administrator receives notice.

Then, with just a few clicks, the HR Admin can push the job to external job boards and social media sites.

Having a paperless job approval process allows your business to streamline hiring…getting jobs posted and applicants sourced more quickly. Forget the pains of paper pushing and waiting for wet signatures – ask ExactHire about requisition management and our applicant tracking system.

To see the HireCentric requisition approval feature in action, please schedule a live demonstration or request a free 14-day trial.

[VIDEO] Social Recruiting Tools

Considering the ever-increasing number of social media users, savvy recruiting and human resources professionals are now, more than ever, pushing job postings to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites in order to generate a larger potential pool of applicants for career opportunities with their organizations. With the right applicant tracking software, reaping the benefits of social recruiting tools can be fast and easy.

In this video, see how ExactHire’s applicant tracking system integrates with social media networks and simplifies the task of promoting your job openings.


Using word of mouth in the recruiting process is one of the most effective and long-standing ways to attract talent. Imagine its power amplified through the use of social media networks.

ExactHire’s applicant tracking software offers many different social recruiting features. There are hundreds of millions of users on Twitter and LinkedIn each month – even over a billion on Facebook. Therefore, leveraging social media in today’s talent acquisition landscape is a must!

Your careers site visitors can easily share your jobs with friends on many different social networks. Encourage your own recruiting staff and employees to regularly visit your Jobs page and share openings, too.

While HireCentric ATS engages your active job seekers with a branded careers portal and job postings optimized for search, passive applicants can also interact with your employment brand over time by subscribing to automated job alerts via email.

Use our Facebook app to install a Jobs tab right on your company page. That way, your Facebook visitors can see all your current openings without leaving Facebook. The fewer clicks applicants must make to get to job info, the more employment applications you will receive.

If you’re spending too much time announcing new jobs on company social media sites, you’ll want to use an integration that automatically posts status updates to your company Facebook wall or Twitter page each time you create a new job listing. Post to personal LinkedIn pages, too.
Choose how often the posts occur and include hashtags to make it easy for job seekers to find your updates.

Social recruiting allows your company to exponentially increase its talent pool with little effort. With the power of social sharing, attract the best talent by improving your odds of reaching people with the right opportunity at the right time.

To see our recruiting software’s social media tools in action, we encourage you to schedule a live demonstration or do a free 14-day trial.

[VIDEO] EEO and OFCCP Reporting – HireCentric ATS

Keeping up with compliance-related EEO and OFCCP reporting tasks is one of the many essential responsibilities for human resource professionals employed by federal contractors today. From assessing whether applicants’ qualifications meet minimum job requirements to including diversity posting sources in your external job board mix to generating applicant flow logs, there are many factors to coordinate for an affirmative action-minded employer.

Finding an effective applicant tracking system to help automate these tasks allows an organization to make HR paperless and reduce overhead costs. In this video, ExactHire shows how the HireCentric ATS can accommodate the reporting needs of a company’s affirmative action plan program.

Are you a federal contractor that would like to evaluate options for automating your compliance reporting efforts? Schedule a live demo with ExactHire.


HireCentric ATS makes it simple to attach minimum qualification questions to jobs, and the system automatically disqualifies any applicants who fail to meet minimum requirements. Then, quickly view the disqualified applicants for a specific job and assign them a reason for non-selection.

Invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify EEO information within your branded portal stating that you are an equal employment opportunity employer. Hiring managers won’t see EEO information as they review applicants…survey answers are kept separate so that only HR Admins can run compliance reports.

It’s simple to assign a reason for non-selection. Save as many disposition status codes as you need to explain the why and when of each applicant’s departure from the hiring process. The ATS records the date and time for each status assignment so that it can be viewed from the applicant’s record as well as on compliance reports.

Automatically maintain an applicant flow log that contains information necessary to perform an adverse impact analysis. Customize the log to include must-have affirmative action info such as EEO-1 category, Job Group, disposition code, race and gender. And, export your reports with the click of a button.

Use our built-in job posting service with tons of external job boards to save time.
And, access a record of your posting history, including diversity sources and local employment agencies.

The HireCentric applicant tracking system is a key part of your compliance toolkit, and will easily meet your EEO & OFCCP reporting requirements, while also maintaining a positive recruitment brand.