An increase was expected, but it was way higher than predictions.

Non-farm payrolls rose by 528,000 for July and the economy has replaced all of the jobs lost during the pandemic. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%. Wages grew by .5% for July, but are 5.2% higher than a year ago. The jobless rate now matches the rate in February of 2020, just before pandemic lockdowns.

According to the Chief Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab, this is good news for the economy. These gains were the best since February.

There has been talk of a recession and layoffs. But the pandemic has created conditions that don’t follow any previous patterns for the economy. Employees are still planning to leave their jobs for new horizons, with 31% planning to leave in the next six months. Job cuts are not in line with what happened during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. There have been some high-profile layoffs, but generally, the trend is hiring.

Invest in your people

Don’t be tempted to move resources from employee development to talent acquisition. Job seekers are watching how your current employees are treated. Investing in their development makes them more engaged and productive and more likely to recommend the organization to candidates. Job seekers look for companies that invest in their people. That means an investment in employee development is also an investment in talent acquisition.

Candidate experience is key

Make sure the interview process is as streamlined as possible. Candidates will judge the organization by the efficiency of interviews and communication. In a tight labor market, candidates may be entertaining numerous offers and may not wait around for a late response. Keep in mind that these candidates are talking about the experience, and won’t recommend anyone else interview with your company if the experience was cumbersome or if the communication was less than stellar.

Resume gaps aren’t necessarily red flags

Sometimes, advice from the past just doesn’t apply. The pandemic created employment situations like nothing we’ve seen before. Resume gaps can have many reasons, and just because someone wasn’t gainfully employed in their field doesn’t mean they are now an employment risk. Dig deeper into what was going on during gaps. Perhaps someone was gaining expertise in a new field while monitoring children who were schooling at home. Many turned to various forms of entrepreneurship or spent time caring for loved ones who fell ill.

Having a talent acquisition specialist on board is integral when hiring in a full-employment environment. Generalist HR staff are not always equipped to handle the specific requirements of attracting the best candidates to apply.

Acquiring the right talent is always challenging. Attracting quality candidates requires juggling employer branding, cultivation, and outreach to candidate pools and consistent communication with candidates and possible future candidates. The current talent wars just intensify the endeavor.