May 18, 2021

A Lightning Round of 2019 Hiring Trends


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Episode Highlights

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Hirewell Partner James Hornick is back with Hirewell Senior Recruiter and Account Manager Ryan Brown to engage in a lightning round of 2019 hiring trends. This is a fun episode as we look back at the past year and ahead to what’s coming in 2020.  

Expect to hear our thoughts on marijuana—in the workplace. We also talk about Illinois’ No Salary History Law and ghosting. And despite Hirewell having its best year ever (following last year’s best year ever), we discuss whether a recession is on the horizon. 

Related Blog Posts

Illinois Bans Employers from Asking Job Seekers About Their Salary History. Here’s What that Means for Your Company.
Vetting on Skill & Cultural Fit (Not Salary History)
Special Halloween Edition – Don’t Be Scared: Put an End to Ghosting Candidates.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Episode Transcript

???? Today’s a little different, it’s gonna be a little bit in a year lightning round. We’ve got the- thought it was nine topics. I mean, we all met eight topics, nine ish, trends and hot topics we’ve seen in 2019 and stuff that’s gonna be interesting for 2020. Joining me is my friend and colleague, host ???? of the Hirewell weekly jobs update also Cleveland Browns super fan,

Ryan Brown. Super fan is correct. Hey, I like that intro, thanks James. So, yeah. We got a lot to get through. I don’t know if we’re going to go really deep on all these topics today, and there’s a lot, there’s a lot to cover, but some of these things are things we’ll be talking more about next year in detail.

But this was basically a collection of some of the things that we saw as an organization, challenge to change this year and things will be interesting for next year. Like I said, so, first off- ???? go, gotta go. Gotta go hard right away, marijuana. So marijuana is now legal in Illinois as of January, or will be January 1st.


So that’s, I’m be interested to see what’s gonna happen both from a hiring, a recruiting and an HR standpoint. So it’s still not legal federally, but it is legal on a state level. So, what’s your take, what hot takes you out on this one? Yeah, I think it’s interesting. I mean, obviously we, you know, Cities like Denver have seen I think a lot of success in bringing on that type of, you know, thing to, to their city.

And a lot of, companies have popped up because of that. I think we’ve seen an increase in, you know, different types of roles and that sort of thing. I think what’s interesting about it most specifically is like what policies are going to be created because of it. Right. And there’s like this kind of gray area between it being legal

on the state side, but federally not. So like how do companies, especially that are spanning more than one state create policies around that that are fair and, you know, really taking into account the different cities that they might be in. Yeah. I know we have even one company to work with that they have operations in Canada

and they had separate policies for the US in Canada because it’s legal in Canada and hasn’t been legal everywhere in the US so I think in the cities where they are like the states they operated and it wasn’t legal, but now the Illinois legal that puts them in kind of a, a spot where they have to figure out do they have the same policy across both countries now?

Because it’s, they’re having an issue where state to state, you know, that kind of inequity there and you add in like another country where it’s legal, it’s not something else. I think from a hiring standpoint, like a recruiting standpoint makes zero difference. If anything, it might make things a little bit easier,

maybe people want to move here. I think the companies that aren’t testing for anything, you know, there’s no real change. I think that the one thing you people have to keep in mind is that companies can set whatever policy they want. I mean, there’s another not to get on another controversial topic, but there are in most states I think in 39 of 50 states, you know, credit checks are legal to do which I can understand that the thought process there, because certain financial regulated industries, you know, they they’re seen that people who might have bad credit or, you know, it could be a risk for bribery or something like that.

Right. Ridiculous. But, getting off the topic is that’s not, you know, there’s no law against having bad credit, but in companies are able to allow to set that policy. So what they decide to do with marijuana is going to be largely up to them. But we do know of quite a few companies that are trying to restructure their policy and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

And I think this will be, you know, come January, February next year we have a better idea of what some companies are doing. It’d be an interesting topic to kind of continue on. Yeah, I agree. I’m also interested to see like where companies are going to start moving in terms of, are we going to see an increase of companies from Denver, maybe opening offices in Chicago because of that?

Well, there’s, there’s so many companies already that it popped up. They may have been around, but it really exploded in terms of the amount of hiring they’re doing, they’re focused in the marijuana industry. So, it’s definitely already had a big impact to Illinois at least.

Yeah. Cool. Well, we’ll see what happens after January. You guys, all right. Next topic. Evolution of candidate communications. And I, we, I think we talk about this as two things, but I kind of want to roll it out. I don’t want to belabor it, but like both in terms of candidate communication and in terms of social media

so they’re very largely intertwined. And I want to think of this both from a standpoint of, you know, third party recruiters, but also internally, like what companies are doing internally to kind of communicate with candidates. So, which there’s actually a lot to cover here, but, anything you want to take a stab at what you thought was the coolest.

Yeah. So I think what’s interesting is like the two years that I’ve been at Hirewell, I’ve seen a pretty big increase in our internal recruiters using texting as a form of communication. I think that there’s, you know, Some policy essentially that you have to put around that, right? Like you’re not going to be talking about like compensation over text or having those really deep, meaningful conversations with your candidates.

But I think it’s a great touch point just to have some type of personal interaction with them, you know, extending your personal cell phone number, kind of creates and deepens that relationship, but also like, “Hey, are you available for a call later today?”. And just opening things up instead of relying on, you know, leaving a voicemail or sending an email. I’ve seen a lot of success with that.

And I think it’s been really instrumental and being able to move process through a little faster than just kind of waiting until the end of the day when someone can check their personal email. I think that from like a third-party recruiting standpoint, what’s interesting is that I think of it kind of in two phases.

So there’s the initial touchpoint phase. And then there’s the ongoing kind of communication with the candidate phase. And I think anybody who’s not using it for in that second phase is kind of missing the boat because it just, it streamlines things so much. Yeah. Like, you know, 10 years ago, like no one was using it, you know, but the first phase is interesting though, too, because I think in some industries like high volume contract, people who are contractors always looking for the next gig, they’re not turned off at all.

Typically like they, you know, someone hits them up out a new job. I can definitely see people in other parts of the industry if their cell phone starts blowing up. So, I can- and there’s also a lot of companies creating new SMS technology that ties in to their systems that I could see it just turning into an absolute, just

awful, you know, what’s happening on the email is gonna start happening on your cell phone with, with SMS messages. I think we’re already seeing that in like other industries, right where we’re ignoring those. So it’s like this fine line between, like, is that gonna be something that you know, is boating well for this part of the industry or not?

And I know personally, like I would, I probably wouldn’t love to receive like these mass Java. I don’t think it’s via text. I hate text messaging in general. It’s not surprising. WhatsApp signal text is very, just antiquated. But even so I guess take them, but taking things internally. I don’t know what you’ve seen on this, but like internal HR and not to get on my least favorite topic of ghosting again, but I don’t think there’s as many companies internally using

text as a way of kind of communicating with candidates and I’m curious that’s going to change. And I bring this onto the ghosting thing because in order for them to, in order for companies internally, to get to using a point where they’re comfortable using SMS to streamline communications, you have to be good at communications to begin with

you know? So like, like there’s so many companies that are the bad at dispositioning candidates, letting them know that didn’t receive the job. I have a hard time seeing those companies being the first to get into doing something like text messaging, just because they’re already so far behind the game.

Yeah. But, yeah. Yeah. We’ll see, I guess. Yeah, it will continue. So, as for the other side of that social media, yeah. I think this, this is also an interesting topic. I mean, obviously, you know, social media in the form of like, Hey, we’re reaching out in that platform. Like we’ve been doing with Hirewell, right?

Like we have an Instagram presence, we utilize LinkedIn all the time. I don’t know necessarily where that’s going to go in terms of like, Candidate outreach in that form. I think right now it’s been more on our side, right? The third-party side, like maybe you’re establishing or deepening your relationships with candidates in that way.

I think that there’s a couple of like LinkedIn has changed a lot I mean since it started, but even the last like five years. So I think that there’s- it has way more value as a social network. I mean, here we are talking on LinkedIn live. It has a lot more value in terms of making new connections and networking than it ever has before. At the same time, too

I think that the direct approach method, InMail’s are getting burned out, people aren’t responding like they used to, everyone’s just getting flooded with them and they show up differently in your, your InMail or your LinkedIn messenger box. Like, you know, right away this is one, I don’t know, it’s probably spam.

Right. So, and that’s been kind of the Mo like how most recruiters internally and externally, I’ve communicated with people in terms of doing outreach. So it’s definitely a step back and people need to retool and think how they’re going to continue to keep people ongoing. But the branding aspect, being able to communicate ideas, connect proactively with people who are kind of in related fields.

And I know that, you know, we mentioned, so we’re in the contemplating session. So RO/ rosanna from our team, like she’s such a big presence on her personal Instagram that like she’s friends with all people she works with, like everyone feels like they get to know her. So I think even when using Instagram or Facebook from a personal.

I don’t even, I don’t know if it’s personal branding, but just a personable standpoint. If you’re recruiting it helps build relationships too, potentially. Especially if you’re very focused in one space where you are- it’s connecting and getting to know people. So, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And this one, actually, I already had a call this morning where this came up, next topic work from home policies.

I love it. Work from home, I think is something that we’ve seen trending over the past, what five years maybe where it’s increasing more and more. And honestly, it’s becoming a big reason. I think for a lot of candidates that are like prompting their job searches, right? Like maybe they’re in a company or an industry where that flexibility just isn’t there and it’s becoming more and more relevant to candidate searches that I think it’s, you know, a big reason why we’re seeing people come to the market in the first place.

Yeah. There’s there’s companies who are straight up losing people because they don’t have a work from home policy. And it’s definitely the, the companies that do are having a pretty decisive advantage in terms of, I almost said the talent war I hate that phrase, in terms of just recruiting in general. I think it’s something that companies need to definitely rethink, especially if they’re having a hard time.

Now I know it’s an age old thing where you, some people are more effective working from home, some people aren’t. And it’s also, I think, the thought that the traditional thinking where a lot of companies didn’t have the same level of trust,it’s very over, that fear is overstated. And I think that most companies that have adopted work from home policies has seen it’s more effective.

It’s more streamlined. It’s overall people are more productive, more work’s getting done. No, there’s always that aspect of, you know, if you have more junior people you need to mentor someone needs someone more senior needs to be there to mentor them. Then also, you know, there might be a lot of people at a certain level that need more day-to-day training.

But I think it’s something company companies are sorting out are figuring out the policies around it, it’s going to continue. And if you’re watching this and your company doesn’t yet and you’re in charge of these types of things it’s something you need to think about, because we’re absolutely seeing people at a rapid pace leaving their company just because there is no work from home.

So, yeah, absolutely. I had something interesting happened earlier this year as well with, a candidate that I was working with and you know, placing in a role that, you know, the company itself didn’t really have a work from home policy and they actually kind of created a bit of flexibility for this person.

Granted, they were a bit more senior in their career. So like, it makes sense that they did that, but it made them more competitive, right? Like the offer itself was already great, but the lack of flexibility that they were going to have, and essentially losing coming from another organization, like that’s the type of thing that you have to start considering and putting into place.

I’m out of coffee, I’m switching to water at this point, so. Good for you. It’s a nine o’clock podcast, the middle of coffee hours. So, all right. No salary history, little recap. I think the biggest thing here is that like the amount of people don’t even know what happened. I don’t think enough people really have paid attention to that being put into a fact because I’m still talking to people and, you know, they’re not aware of it.

There hasn’t been a lot of messaging around it. I mean, we’ve talked about it a lot, but we’re just one tiny firm, you know, with a certain size following.You’ve got the entire state of Illinois has been impacted by something where you’re not allowed to ask people salary history anymore.

It’s still happening. I’ll be interested to see like, if people start getting busted out for it. If there’s penalties for it, you know? I’m nervous about it, it gives me a little bit of anxiety. I feel like this is a topic that like everyone should know, right? Like if your company hasn’t addressed this already, like they’ve already missed the mark.

It .Should have been talked about before it even came into effect. And I don’t think it’s- and I’ve been, I’ve always been a very big proponent or the no salary history law. There is- you can vet candidates just to- you don’t need people’s salary history to know how good they are. You can, there’s lots of ways of kind of using data points, using better assessments, better interviewing, to kind of sort these things out.

And I think that using salary history though, is a really lazy way of going about that. Not to mention fact that it perpetuated bias and whatnot for people who were unfairly compensated previously. But, you know, that being said, I think that it hasn’t been as hard for companies to the ones who have cut that out of their process because they’re aware this is all happening.

I think there were some initial pain points. I don’t think it’s been as bad as a lot of people thought it would be from a trying to evaluate talent standpoint. The bigger issue is that I think that are still not people know what’s happened and there’s still a lot of companies asking those questions and might get in trouble at some points.

Right? Yeah. Well, if you haven’t heard about it, please do your research or get in touch with us because it’s.All right. So another thing, diversity inclusion across the board it’s been hot. Yeah. DNI I think is definitely a trending topic right now. I think that diversity and inclusion for first certain companies might sound like this huge undertaking and it isn’t always right.

Like sometimes it’s just something really small and simple to make your culture, your company a bit more diverse, a bit more inclusive. And it doesn’t always have to be this like massive undertaking, but sometimes it does. Right. You just have to kind of understand where your company is at and how diverse and how inclusive you may already be.

Yeah, I I’ve seen, we have a partner we actually use for this, a holistic, that their focus is actually DNI initiatives and employee retention initiatives. And there focus is very data focused. So what they do is they work with organization, actually take data points from their salary bands, their payroll data, and also lots of anonymous employee surveys

and, really have like multiple points and understanding kind of where a company’s gaps are and where they’re doing well, where they’re not doing well. That way when they talk with them about what steps they can take to kind of improve DNI, one are based on actual facts or about based natural data versus like a broad based plan,

that way the plans are very specific, but also it’s, I think it’s very- we use them for ourselves and it’s been very eye opening in terms of being able to set realistic expectations. If you have certain goals, you know, both for making your buy more inclusive and improving employee retention

how you can start kind of willing away at those things. And I know that holistics business has picked up pretty significantly, like they’re in tons of places. So a lot of companies are talking about this and I think that’s going to continue. And I think that it’s been, it’s pretty proven that companies that have more diverse viewpoints have more innovation

which is just more ideas and whatnot, not to mention it’s just typically ends up being a better nurturing environment for everybody, just by having that kind of on the forefront of mind. So I’ll be curious to see how that continues especially next year. Yeah. And I think it has to continue. Like there’s, there’s no reason for it not to and it’s just so essential and so important and important today that I’m excited to see where things go this next year.

Next big one, the amount of California companies opening offices in Chicago. I think Chicago is becoming like a mini tech hub, right? Like a mini Silicon valley in a way cause we’re seeing Google, Facebook, uber’s here as well. Yeah. And there’s a lot of, I didn’t realize this so 1871 and we have a partnership with I knew they were huge

I didn’t realize they were actually, they were actually the biggest as of – something came out last week, they’re actually the largest private incubator hub in the world. So it just kind of speaks worlds to what’s happened here cause when I first started recruiting in Chicago, that wasn’t the case.

Like we didn’t have this amount of kind of startup and innovation. And then you got companies when rattle a few off, some lesser known places, numerator, we WeConstruct, Affirm , Flexport, these are all California based companies that have seen the amount of talent in Chicago and open kind of satellite offices here.

And it seems to be continuing cause I’m always finding companies that are, you know, based elsewhere, especially on the west coast that are kind of realizing there’s a lot of dev talent, you know, here in Chicago and in wanting to take advantage of it. So, yeah, absolutely. We’ll be curious to see how that one goes, but it’s definitely a trend that, I mean, 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted that at all.

And then I’ll be curious to see where we go in 2020. It’s been cool to watch that, that change here in the market coming up or be on number seven here, online talent assessments. I feel like this could be a longer one. Yeah, I think this one is too. I mean, this is like a, I don’t know. I understand when companies implement using online talent assessments as part of their process for bringing people in.

I think that there’s like a fine line between it being something that’s positive and working, and really essential to that process. And then other times, I don’t know if, You know, companies are necessarily using these assessments in the right way. That’s my take, so they’re becoming, I mean, just to give examples of the disc, the Myers-Briggs ,a C cat, they’re becoming more popular, more companies are using them, but I think a lot of these companies are using them incorrectly.

So it seems like some places we’ve talked to, they get so reliant on them they can’t actually make a hiring decision without one. Right. And they find someone they think is great, but oh, but they didn’t do great on this, this evaluation. But you have to realize how you determined to use one of these evaluations is subjective in the first place.

So to give you, for example, we know one client who uses them very well because when they use the disc assessment, they want to get people with different types of assessment scores, filling out their team. Which I believe is the point of a lot of these things, making sure that people with diverse viewpoints, whereas there’s some organization that, you know, someone sells in the product and says, well if you want type a personalities strong accomplishers, you need to find some with this profile and then they

only hire people with that profile. And then they build a team that’s all exactly the same. And then they have a hard time retaining people because they’re driving each other crazy or there’s lack of innovation or, or whatever. And so it’s, I think a lot of these, these assessments typically do exactly what they’re supposed to do except the execution of it is off. Right. And I think that’s what we kind of seen this past year. So I, I think that we’re going to continue seeing more companies utilize them because like when they are used correctly, they can be effective. But, the other side of it too, is that- the downside is a lot of candidates, especially job seekers, especially they’ve taken these things before they can kind of think they’re stupid. A hundred percent.

Yeah. I think it like becomes, sometimes cumbersome as part of the process, right? Like, Hey, before you even talk to so-and-so, we need you to take this assessment. Sometimes it’s 15 minutes, which isn’t a lot of time, but other times they can be really time consuming. And like when you’re already deep into a process where you’re actively interviewing and having these conversations, and then you’re adding

a test on top of it, it can be a lot. Yeah. And there’s been plenty of places I’ve seen that they’ll have an hour long assessment and they want to do that before they even talked to somebody and they’re like, no, one’s going to take that assessment. Right. Like you’re you’re right away screening,

especially for like in demand skill sets, you’re right away knocking out the best candidates because they have other people calling them who aren’t making them- who have actually had a conversation with them first to tell them what their opportunity is. You aren’t saying, Hey, take this assessment because the last thing you, cause they’re all expecting, okay, I’m gonna take this assessment that I’m going to get ghosted on

or I don’t know what this company is about maybe it sucks. You know what I mean? I mean, we’ve seen kind of people doing it. Well, people not doing it well, one way or another it’s catching on. But, I’ll just be curious because the other side of it too, is that a lot of companies who have an executed it well and have seen it doesn’t really show the results they thought it would.

They’re going to think the whole system is flawed, which isn’t necessarily the case. It’s just their own execution of it. Yeah, a hundred percent. And I think like one of the things that I always try and tell some of the clients that we’re partnered with is if you feel really strongly about someone and they’ve already gone through the process or you’ve talked to them and you see a lot of potential in them, sometimes it’s a good idea to kind of not necessarily overlook these assessments, but if they’re not scoring exactly how you’re anticipating or wanting sometimes it’s okay to take a chance on them.

Absolutely. As we’re coming down to the end here, the question I received more times this year than my entire career, including 2008: are we headed towards a recession? I think in 2008, everyone knew and didn’t have to ask. A hundred percent. It just happened. Boom, no one had any, there was no doubt about it.

I get this question constantly and I have like for most of the year. And it’s strange to me because, well, why don’t you give me your take first. Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t really, I don’t know if we’re heading towards there. We’re definitely not now. Like, I think we’ve seen. This kind of holiday season be one of the busiest seasons we’ve had in quite some time in terms of continued hiring.

But, I mean, how do we really know whether or not we are so that’s the whole thing is nobody knows. Absolutely. Nobody knows. There were a couple of times throughout the year, when I think the media, the news media, the business media, it’s just a story that they like to run every once in a while.

And I mean, the stock market, which is separate from the economy it has been on the 10 year bull run. It’s been nothing but gone up for, for 10 straight years. And so people see that and like, eventually it has to have a downturn. Eventually the economy has to have a downturn, but I thought we might have a downturn for the last four or five years, you know?

And I’ll continue to think that every year, but that is, I don’t know, for any reason, I always said been wrong. And, but eventually I’ll be right. If I keep saying like, we’re going to have a down year, eventually it’s going to happen. If it was that easy to predict, like, you know, We’d be millionaires sitting on piles of cash

cause we’d be thinking what the market’s going to do. I do think it’s media driven though. I mean, I remember specific times throughout the year where I’d see, you know, the CNBCs of the world talking about how are we headed towards a recession and then I’ll see people on LinkedIn just like saying, well, get ready for the recessions coming.

I’m like, guys, there’s no evidence a recession is coming. I can say this, I think the reason why we get this question a lot is because employment’s definitely a leading indicator and like employment’s been, you know, we’re still at all time lows in terms of unemployment. And I can say this and we are not indicative of the entire hiring market, but Hirewell we’re having our best year ever. Last year was our best year ever before that.

So it can, things continue to grow. You know, there’s always times throughout the year, we’re hiring. You know, like you’ll have one month where it unexpectedly dips, but then the next month it picks back up again. So, I haven’t seen anything that would specifically make me believe that we are headed towards a recession.

It’s based upon kind of what we’re doing here, but no one knows anything. That’s kind of the takeaway. So, sorry, we don’t have any answer. There is no answer, no one. Anyone who claims to have the answer just don’t listen to them. Anyways, so anything else you want to talk about? Maybe? Well, Thanksgiving foods.

Yeah. I’m stoked for Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite meals. I think a lot of people hate on Turkey and I think it’s great. It’s garbage. It’s garbage food. I knew you would say that I’m not surprised at all by that. To me, there’s a reason why we only have Turkey once a year and it’s because it isn’t any good.

I think like Thanksgiving, like the whole thing of the girl Scouts is really a cookie company that made, you know what I mean? I think Thanksgiving is just the Turkey industry coming together and trying to peddle they’re awful birds. I’m not mad at him, I’m here for it. I’m stoked. I got steaks, I’m gonna start marinating them today.

Yeah. I think I shared with you that we do a ping pong tournament, so hopefully I’ll come back victorious from that. I’ve actually never made it out of the first round of this. So. It’s definitely not many years. You’re the 16 seed going in against the lender, but they’re betting odds on this. No, but if you want you can’t, I don’t know.

Maybe I’ll pull it out. You mentioned I was a Browns fan, so, crazier things have happened, right? I don’t feel like that’s a great example. Yeah, it’s probably not. I’m a Cleveland fan, so we’ll go with that one instead. Never lose hope anyway. I think that’s all we got for this week. So, I think we’ll be recording another one of these in some time maybe late December, but this was kind of our end of the year

kind of recap. But maybe later in the year we’ll talk about some things that we’re going to do starting out 2020. So,thanks again for listening to the Hirewell recruiting insights podcast. If you like what you heard and want more insights. My recruiting experts visit hire, recruiting dash insights.

And remember to subscribe to the podcast on apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, or YouTube. See you soon!

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