Why a Low Unemployment Rate is Good News for Talent Acquisition Teams

By Megan McQuade On October 22, 2018

Why a Low Unemployment Rate is Good News for Talent Acquisition Teams

I talk to hiring managers on a weekly basis. The theme surrounding talent is generally the same – it’s hard to find right now. However, I believe the perceived struggle to find talent is largely based on two major factors:

  1. The national unemployment rate is low.

The U.S. Department of Labor published that the unemployment rate declined to 3.7% in September 2018. Additionally, the number of people unemployed decreased by 270,000.

  1. Old recruiting methods aren’t yielding the same results.

The second factor is inferred based on the first and conversations with leaders, HR professionals and recruiters across the nation. The sentiment is the same. “Our job postings are not yielding the same number of applicants as before.” Additionally, “We are having a hard time finding qualified candidates.”  

Proactive Search Techniques

Overall, a low unemployment rate is good news for talent acquisition teams! It allows us to have more engaging and meaningful conversations with a smaller pool of candidates. 

Historically, many talent attraction techniques have been reactive. Ex: postings on the company website, job board advertisements and sharing with respective networks. However, it’s the proactive strategies that allow our talent acquisition teams to be more strategic and efficient with today's labor market.

Below are two proactive search techniques:

  1. Engage the candidates you want to work with. Stop waiting for the candidates you don't want to interact with.
  2. Choose passive candidates who meet your basic requirements. This allows for more soft skill and organizational fit assessment.

Using job postings to attract talent is more time consuming than effective. It takes a recruiting team's time and effort to give each one of these active candidates a positive recruiting experience. Instead of posting, use your internal and external databases to search for qualified talent. Look for the resumes and/or profiles of individuals with the skills and experience you require. LinkedIn Recruiter (external) is a great resource! 

Additionally, passive candidates don’t equal happy employees. These employees may be in roles that are unfulfilling and open to discussing roles with companies that may be better aligned to their skills, interests and passions.

Overall, a low unemployment rate is good news for talent acquisition teams. The shift in the labor market simply calls for a different strategy - a more engaging and targeted people strategy. 


Megan McQuade is TruPath's Community Relations Director. She sits on the Board of SHRMGP and plays an active role in the Greater Phoenix HR community. TruPath is a national recruiting firm that helps organizations find talent. With a customizable process, TruPath recruiters help talent acquisition partners feel comfortable in their search for the right candidate.