State of Online Recruiting Report

iHire, the online recruitment company, has published its second annual State of Online Recruiting Report, highlighting the results of a survey of 3,184 U.S. employers and job seekers across 56 industries. Survey responses suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the struggle to find qualified talent and heightened candidate frustration with a lack of employer communication.

Key findings detailed in iHire’s State of Online Recruiting 2020 Report include the following:

  • The majority of employers (77.1%) struggle to find qualified talent: 39.0% of employers said “receiving unqualified/irrelevant applicants” was their No. 1 challenge when recruiting through an online job board, website, or community, while 38.1% said “finding qualified candidates in my area” was their main concern. Finding qualified, relevant talent was also the most common employer challenge cited in 2019’s survey.
  • Job seekers crave stronger employer communication: 18.8% of candidates were most frustrated by not hearing back from employers after applying and/or interviewing (versus 26.4% in 2019). Unfortunately, the forthcoming “mass applies” from unemployed professionals eager to find work will amplify this challenge, as keeping up with the volume of candidates and informing each one about their application’s status will be more difficult.
  • Employers and job seekers are becoming more proactive in their search for one another: Perhaps a positive effect of the pandemic, iHire’s survey showed a rise in passive hiring (13.9% in 2020, versus 9.8% in 2019). This indicates that more employers are building candidate pipelines and nurturing talent pools so they may quickly fill positions when they are ready to hire. Similarly, 17.4% of candidates said they were employed but passively searching for a job (up from 11.1% in 2020).
  • Despite economic concerns, businesses are actively hiring again: When asked which trend would most impact online recruiting in the coming year, 35.2% of employers cited “limitations on hiring in general due to economic downturn.” However, businesses appear to be on the upswing, as 72.8% of employers said they were actively hiring. With job seekers’ openness to work remotely (just 13.3% of those surveyed said they preferred to work in an office 100% of the time, given the circumstances), employers have more flexibility in keeping their businesses open and positions filled.
  • Candidates are increasingly taking an industry-focused approach to their job searches: 21.5% of candidates surveyed said they first go to industry-specific platforms when searching for a new job, up from 17.1% in 2019. As more job seekers test the waters of niche talent communities, employers may find qualified applicants faster if they do the same – according to iHire’s survey, 48.8% of employers who said their No. 1 challenge was receiving unqualified/irrelevant applicants turn to a general job board first. General job boards may cast a wide net, but finding the most qualified applicants often requires cutting through a great deal of noise.

“As recently unemployed professionals flood the job market, employers are poised to experience an applicant overload,” said Steve Flook, President and CEO, iHire. “Although this will intensify the quest for qualified candidates and attribute to the ‘applicant black hole,’ we are optimistic that organizations will continue to make progress in addressing these challenges. We hope that our 2020 State of Online Recruiting Report will help keep these issues in the spotlight as business open back up, resume hiring, and look to better connect with great talent.”

A total of3,184 U.S. job seekers (2,841) and employers (343) responded to iHire’s State of Online Recruiting Survey in May and June 2020. Respondents came from iHire’s database of employers and job seekers across 56 industries and of various company sizes.

To download iHire’s 2020 State of Online Recruiting Report, visit:

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