Author: amanda

U.S. Jobless Claims at Lowest Level Since Mid-March 2020

With headlines like these, how can hiring managers, HR departments, and recruiters manage? There’s no question that we in the talent acquisition profession are struggling to find and hire good candidates, at all levels. We initially thought this was occurring mostly in high volume roles, such as in healthcare where we have a lot of clients (because of the expanded unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, and pending childcare credits); however, currently not even the most well-known healthcare providers can fill say a home healthcare job, period. While this is somewhat attributable to COVID discouraging workers from entering or returning to that type of role, that is certainly not the entire picture.

Other factors squeezing employers include uncertainty in the job market and in the economy at large. In times like these, people remain hesitant to make any move away from their current employer. Even though the market can be in the candidate’s favor, our view is that people are holding onto their current jobs. Another sign of this is that our own Research Specialists at DoubleStar have been struggling with response rates. Typically, our outreach produces a 10% response rate—and up to a 30% response rate in hot fields. While building a customized candidate pipeline is still important and recommended, an employer should not expect a tremendous response from a passive pool of candidates. Nurses, salespeople, software developers, lending specialists, and laboratory scientists are all in demand, yet many of those same people are staying put. Employers cannot rely on the ‘post and pray’ model.

In a candidate-driven market, you need to have experienced recruiters that know how to take care of candidates and how to advise hiring managers to keep the process moving. This is not the time to have an extended hiring process. Candidates are getting offers within days. You need to keep the communication flowing and the process moving. In fact, our team is excellent at that.

As the market remains challenging for employers looking to hire, they need to take a close look at their interview processes to retain the candidates they have in play.

Top 10 Communications Tips

Here are some recommendations to keep the communication process going when engaging with candidates:

1. Let them know you received their resume and that someone will be reaching out to them soon.

2. Go into your video interviews knowing and communicating the next steps and set expectations regarding when a candidate will hear back from you.

3. Life happens, so if something changes, communicate immediately if you can’t honor your schedule.

4. Find a reason to reach out, if you have a week or more between interviews.

5. You never want candidates to feel that they’re in a black hole. It’s always my goal to reach out first, before they ask me for an update.

6. Don’t bother with multiple rounds of interviews. The more you can condense your process into a few interviews, the better.

7. Whoever is making the hiring decision should be empowered to control and speed the hiring process.

8. A lot of interviews occur over video, but people are still human. Don’t keep someone on a Zoom call for long hours interviewing with your entire team without breaks. Take care of your candidates.

9. Communicate right from the start regarding work from home, hybrid, or office requirements—let the candidate decide whether to opt in our out.

10. COVID has opened up opportunities to reach new people beyond your traditional local pool of candidates—be prepared to take advantage of this.

Even after an offer is made and accepted, it’s important to stay in contact for those two weeks between acceptance and start date to make sure no counteroffers or competitive offers hinder your plans. Keep the lines of communication open and your potential hires engaged throughout the interview process and you are more likely to have the hiring outcome that you desire!


Reshaping Your Career in the Wake of the Pandemic

DoubleStar Managing Director Christine Treski recently shared some insights on reshaping your career in the wake of the pandemic:

This topic is on the minds of most candidates we interview. As we move into hybrid offices and hybrid professional identities, we’re entering what social scientists call a “liminal” moment—when you’re exiting a previous way of being and entering another. Many professionals consider this to be an opportunity to craft work and careers they truly enjoy. Candidates are considering these questions about their future employers: Did they treat their employees fairly and with respect? How did they navigate uncertainty? Did they prioritize the short-term or the long-term? In addition, employees are looking for new ways to connect—physically and virtually—as a way to not only build their networks, but also gain access to those who are influential and may have previously been hard to reach. While the future workplace is still evolving, we feel that it’s important for employers to create strategies to address what’s on the minds of their future employees.

The Labor Shortage Is Only Going To Get Worse

DoubleStar Managing Director Tony Trasatti recently shared some insights on the labor shortage:

We all realize the pandemic has significantly affected the competition for talent, but a new study suggests the problem is getting worse. There are multiple factors accelerating the current labor shortage: the mass exodus of baby boomers from the workforce, record low participation rates among the working-age population, and the lowest birth rates in U.S. history. To attract and retain talent, businesses have begun offering higher wages, aggressive sign-on and retention bonuses, and remote work options. Our clients have found it helpful to begin by resetting their expectations regarding both recruiting and retention. This insightful article can help begin the critical conversations needed to prepare accordingly. 

Reengineering the Recruitment Process

DoubleStar Managing Director Tony Trasatti recently shared some insights on reengineering the recruitment process:

A recent Gartner study cites three workforce trends: skills needed in certain roles have an increasingly short shelf life; highly gifted candidates can be found outside traditional talent clusters; and candidates are increasingly selective about whom they work for, so firms need a compelling employment value proposition. Factors, such as meaningful work and proximity to family, that have taken on added importance during the pandemic are likely to continue. At DoubleStar, we saw that the recruiting landscape was already going through a transformation (pre-COVID); however, these trends have accelerated and require more thought and planning than ever before.

DoubleStar Awarded Best Wellness Employer

DoubleStar, Inc., the country’s leading consulting firm focused on delivering talent acquisition solutions to employers in diverse industries, is honored to announce today that it has been awarded Honorable Mention, Best Wellness Employer from Wellness Workdays, Inc. – a Harvard University sponsored research program. The certification recognizes the outstanding achievements of businesses and organizations committed to creating best-in-class corporate wellness programs that promote a ​culture of wellbeing to engage employees.

“We are very proud to be recognized for a third year by Wellness Workdays, Inc. for our focus on creating programs to improve the wellbeing and wellness of our employees,” says Barbara Herbein, Managing Director, Operations. “This year we offered a variety of nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness content all in a virtual format during COVID, which provided the opportunity for our entire remote workforce to participate. We couldn’t have done it without HealthEase, our top-notch wellness program partner.”

Wellness Workdays utilizes its proprietary, four-step wellness process to create corporate wellness and nutritional programs that will promote employee health and morale, increase productivity, and lower organization’s health care costs. You can find out more at and can also find them on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn.

5 Tips To Increase Your Interviewing IQ

Hiring the right person into any role is challenging for the most experienced interviewers. For hiring managers who may only make a few hires per year, it can be especially difficult. Often, selection accuracy can be increased for even the most inexperienced managers by getting some of the basics right.

Here are five strategies that will help increase your chances of making the best hire for your organization.

Conduct a Screening Interview

A great rule of thumb is to always have a qualifying interview before committing to the full interview process. In this interview, ask only the most relevant questions to determine the candidate’s qualifications for the role. For example, if the position requires 35% travel, ask how the candidate would be able to handle being out of town 35% of the time. Or, if the role requires specific skills (writing, lifting, computer skills, software, etc.), ask if they possess those skills and ask for a self-rating of expertise. Qualifying interviews are effective because they provide a quick glimpse into people’s basic skill sets and experience and help eliminate candidates who are not a fit right at the outset of the process. Remember that part of a good selection process is knowing which candidates to eliminate as early in the process as possible.

Make candidates feel comfortable

Ideally, this should happen at the onset of an interview. Start the conversation by getting to know candidates as people before you delve into your skills questions. Interviews can be a little uncomfortable at first, with candidates and interviewers alike often feeling anxious and unsure. Keeping the conversation light for the first few minutes provides a transition from the awkwardness to a more easy and open discussion.

This should also continue throughout the interview as well. As you start asking questions, you might have to probe and coax some details out of the interviewee. Let them know it’s okay to pause to think of a response or reassure them that you can revisit a question later in the interview if necessary. The more comfortable a candidate feels, the more open they will be.

Ask the Right Questions

Experienced interviewers know how to ask open-ended questions at the outset and use yes or no questions to drill down on details. A good tip to open up the conversation is to ask questions that encourage candidates to tell a story. Behavioral style interview questions start at the beginning and lead candidates into telling the middle and end of the story. For example, prompts like “Tell me about a time that you…” illicit detailed responses that may be lacking when you ask more general questions.

Dig Deeper

Candidates may lose focus during an answer and begin rambling, unsure of how to close their response. Step in with a gentle redirection. You must have a keen ear and good instincts to know when and how to subtly guide the candidate in the right direction. Try rephrasing the question but take care not to hint toward a specific answer. Also, when a candidate starts generalizing by saying “we” instead of “I,” as in “We worked very hard to get that project completed on time,” it is perfectly fine to ask the candidate to differentiate between “We” and “Me.” Ask them what role they played in the “We” part of the project and drill down to detail until you understand their specific contribution.

Recognize Intentionally Vague Responses

Candidates who have a difficult time answering questions may simply be nervous or unfortunately unprepared. On the other hand, their answers may be purposeful, designed to distract you or deflect from a topic that a candidate wants to avoid. When you see this happening, politely insist that the candidate be more specific. Or, re-word the question to solicit the specificity you are seeking.

Interviewing techniques continue to evolve, especially during this global pandemic. Many COVID-era interviews are now exclusively conducted via video, which means you may have to do things a little differently to get a good read on candidates. Be prepared by practicing these five steps and get ready to increase your interviewing IQ!

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