Unemployment Drops to 5.1%. What Does that Mean for Recruiting?

September 05, 2015 at 8:56 PM
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By: Kim Cole - kimcole@thesaleszone.com


The Department of Labor released its monthly jobs figures on Friday. According to the data, 173,000 non-farm jobs were added and apparently this number did not meet expectations. The expected number of jobs was more in the neighborhood of 225,000 so the actual jobs numbers were met with mixed feelings and the markets responded accordingly. Confusing labor data aside, a declaration of full employment--depending on which economist you ask--is some number that communicates unemployment below 5.4% (ish). As an executive search professional, I know what happens as unemployment continues to drop: recruiting, if it ever was easy, becomes next to impossible.

What can you do about it? Here are four changes you might want to consider:

1.) Extend. Offers. Now. If you are a hiring manager or an HR professional then you need to get busy and make some offers. Hiring season isn’t heating up, it’s already read hot. Companies want their teams ready to go on January 1st. Time kills all deals, so don’t let any candidates get away. If someone is moving along in your hiring process and things are looking good then you should immediately reach out to them to let them know that they are a top contender. Show some enthusiasm for them as a person and a potential member of your team. Let them know why joining your firm will be an excellent career choice for them. Keep them warm while you try to get everything in order to hire them

2.) Streamline your interviewing process. Remove any and all unnecessary steps from your recruiting process. For example, if there are people involved in your interviewing process who are just an extra set of eyes and ears, ask yourself if they really need to be part of the process. Another key step you can take to pick up the pace of hiring is to get the ultimate decision maker involved in interviewing sooner rather than later. If the hiring manager comes at the end of the process, then you have just wasted a lot of people’s time—yours, the candidate’s, the interview team.

3.) Recruit everywhere. It’s a big country so consider the whole thing your talent pool. Wherever possible get rid of the notion that you must recruit within a specific geography. This idea is an especially useful way to think if you are currently restricting yourself to areas where all types of talent are in high demand—areas such as Northern California, Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia (basically the major markets). Instead think in terms of “zones of proximity”.  If you are looking for a highly specific skill set or professional background then your company definitely needs to recruit based on skills in a geographically neutral way.

4.) Hire more remote workers. Technology and the cloud make this a painfully simple concept, enabling employees to do anything from their homes that they would normally be able to do from a corporate office—including meeting with you face-to-face (via Facetime, Skype, Go-to-Meeting, etc.). I know you’ve heard this before, but there are still a surprising number of employers who are unwilling to hire remotely based employees for even the most sought after types of jobs. Now is the time to re-evaluate what positions absolutely need to be attached to a physical office. As you consider this topic, you should know that we’ve recruited for $30 million companies that are entirely virtual.


Technically speaking, The Sales Zone recruits in two main sectors as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statiscs - the Information sector (which encompasses all things high tech) and the Professional and Business Services supersector which includes the following three extremely broad categories:

  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services

I suspect most people reading this post work within one of these sectors. If your company falls into one of these categories then our advice is that you do everything you can to reduce your time-to-hire, increase your capacity to find more candidates, and fill those positions that are crucial to the success of your company as soon as possible. Fourth quarter will be over before you know it!

What are your thoughts on how the new unemployment figures will affect you or your company? We'd love to hear from you! Please e-mail us at informationa@thesaleszone.com