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The sudden shifts in the Canadian labour market, from pandemic-inspired caution to widespread talent shortages, have caught many employers off guard.

“The labour market in Canada has been extremely unpredictable over the past few years,” says Maggie Hulce, general manager and executive vice-president of enterprise for Indeed, the global job site and enterprise hiring platform. “Talent attraction resources have been cut in some areas while hiring has ramped up quickly in others. To thrive in these unpredictable circumstances, you need speed, you need scale, and above all, you need to be agile.”

Ms. Hulce explains how investing in automation can help employers achieve the speed, scale and agility they need to succeed in the competition for talent — while also making the hiring process more human for everyone.

A snapshot of the Canadian labour market

Recent data helps illustrate the challenges that HR and talent attraction leaders face in today’s labour market.

For example, according to a recent analysis conducted by Indeed Hiring Lab, Canadian job postings on Indeed shot up 52 per cent in January 2022 compared to roughly the same time two years prior.

“Job postings in Canada, for the vast majority of occupations on Indeed, remain well above pre-pandemic levels, especially in software development, human resources and nursing,” adds Ms. Hulce. “We’ve arrived at a point where employers in Canada have more jobs to fill than they did before the pandemic, which makes talent attraction all the more important.”

In addition, a December 2021 study by Indeed Hiring Lab found that the proportion of Canadians actively job seeking rose from 28 per cent in November to 34 per cent in December. That same study also found that confidence in the job market was elevated, with 59 per cent of employed job seekers indicating that they were relatively confident in their ability to land a new position quickly.

Speed, scale and agility help employers handle rapid change

Achieving the increased speed, scale and agility that Ms. Hulce believes is needed today requires infusing new tools and technologies into what has historically been a highly manual process. In fact, research shows that manual tasks — like sourcing candidates, sorting through applications, and scheduling interviews — consume 80 per cent of the time dedicated to talent acquisition.

“Even before the pandemic, most recruiters had too much on their plate, and they’re even busier now, given the pace and challenge of hiring in this labour market,” Ms. Hulce says. “It’s more important than ever to lighten their load and speed up the hiring process wherever possible.”

Indeed Hiring Platform was designed to do just that. Developed in close consultation with employers around the world, it helps employers automate tasks such as sourcing candidates; screening them via predetermined questions or assessments; and scheduling them for interviews, as well as provides a platform for employers to conduct interviews.

Helping HR leaders ‘automate to and through the interview’

With Indeed Hiring Platform, employers can add skills-based requirements, assessments, and other screening capabilities to the automated flow, enabling recruiters to skip the time-consuming, manual resume screening process entirely. “Building in objective screening to an automated flow also means that job seekers can feel more confident going into an interview, as they know they have the required skills for the position,” Ms. Hulce adds.

The goal, Ms. Hulce explains, is to “automate to and through the interview,” putting recruiters and HR leaders in the room (or on-screen) with pre-screened, qualified candidates faster. By intelligently and responsibly harnessing data, Indeed can continuously improve its recommendations to job seekers for opportunities that align with their unique skills and interests. Improving the speed and transparency of the recruitment process can also improve an employer’s employer brand.

“By connecting the dots from job search through to the interview, we’re delivering a faster, easier experience for job seekers,” Ms. Hulce says. “For instance, when a job seeker expresses interest and has the required qualifications, they can immediately schedule an interview.”

The process takes only a few minutes and 90 per cent of job seekers worldwide rate it favourably, according to Indeed. This approach also helps ensure recruiters spend time engaging with qualified talent – 81 per cent of employers worldwide rate the candidates they interviewed as a good fit for the role, according to Indeed survey results gathered from users of the Indeed Hiring Platform.

Automation can lead to more human interactions

“You wouldn’t think automation would necessarily lead to a more human interaction, but when you automate the things that can get in the way of making a connection, it absolutely can,” Ms. Hulce says.

To date, Indeed has hosted more than 1.3 million virtual interviews worldwide across thousands of employers. The data is clear: Virtual interviews offer several benefits over in-person interviews. Job seekers are 18 per cent more likely to accept video interview invitations, with 40 per cent fewer candidate “no-shows” over in-person interviews (Indeed data). What’s more, 84 per cent of employers report enhanced diversity in the applicant pool due to virtual interviews.¹

Ms. Hulce says she is excited by the potential impacts that other emerging new technologies — like blockchains and virtual reality — may have on the hiring process. More importantly, she sees the potential to use those technologies to deliver more objective and effective hiring processes.

“Task-based work, job sharing and multiple income streams could become the norm — which means the role of talent leaders may become even more complex and fast-paced,” Ms. Hulce says. “While we’re not there yet, it’s exciting to think about how today’s emerging technologies might transform how we think about work and hiring in the future.”

¹ Indeed, “2021 Hiring Trends Report,” Oct. 2021

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Indeed. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.