While companies have embraced innovations in HR Technology to hire regular full-time employees, contingent labor hiring has been slow to adopt these innovations.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a game changer.

iHire recently published its second annual State of Online Recruiting Report. Survey responses indicate that COVID-19 has intensified the struggle to find qualified talent and heightened candidate frustration with a lack of employer communication.

  • More than three quarters of employers cite the difficulty finding qualified talent
  • Four out of every ten employers stated that receiving unqualified/irrelevant applicants was their No. 1 challenge when recruiting through an online job board, website, or community.  Of these, nearly half turn to a general job board first.
  • The growth in passive hiring (13.9% in 2020, versus 9.8% in 2019) is indicative of more employers building candidate pipelines and nurturing talent pools.
  • 77%, of HR leaders expect the shift toward remote work to continue, even a year after COVID-19 substantially subsides.  These respondents indicated a need for better online tools to source, screen and engage remote workers.

The survey also explored candidate perceptions and online job search activities:

  • 17.4% of candidates said they were employed but passively searching for a job.  This represents a 6% increase from a year ago. 
  • 21.5% of candidates surveyed said they first go to industry-specific platforms when searching for a new job.  This contrasts sharply with employer indications that they start with a general-purpose job board.
  • 18.8% of candidates were most frustrated by not hearing back from employers after applying and/or interviewing.  The increased volume of candidates available due to COVID-19 have exacerbated this issue.

While many of the findings in the iHire research are applicable to both “permanent labor” and the contingent workforce, there are some key differences regarding availability of advancement in technologies that facilitate online recruiting.

The external workforce is increasingly recognized as essential to an organization’s success in the post-pandemic era, providing greater flexibility in uncertain times.  However, companies are reducing their dependency on staffing agencies as a source of talent, adopting newer and less expensive models like direct sourcing to transform their contingent labor programs.

Contingent labor programs are primarily driven by a VMS software that acts as an interface between enterprises and staffing vendors. Today, VMS providers are rethinking their partnership strategies to extend their offering to customers by integrating direct sourcing platforms driven by digital technology.  This will enable enterprises to attract qualified talent from online channels, engage them through text/SMS or email, screen them faster with AI-based screening and retain them by offering a positive candidate experience.

In all cases, the acquisition of new apps will not necessarily achieve digital transformation as it pertains to online recruiting.   Digital transformation requires synchronizing the individual apps (job boards, social media recruitment, career pages, online interviewing, online screening) to help organizations find qualified talent faster at an optimized cost. For contingent workforce programs, this responsibility increasingly rests with the Managed Services Provider.  Innovative enterprises that have already implemented direct sourcing solutions in their contingent workforce programs have optimized spend by 10%.