Where Have All The Applicants Gone? Competing with Internet Job Markets

Press Release from OutSolve

Fifteen years ago, most companies would have never considered that their competition would be a virtual entity known as Social Media.  The Covid-19 pandemic not only changed the way we live but it changed the very fabric of business.  With vast amounts of people fired or furloughed due to the pandemic, a lack of financial security hit America’s workforce. Employed or recently unemployed people started reflecting on their lives during the pandemic and decided to make lifestyle changes- they embraced moving to an oft-dreamed about location, more freedom to work remotely, reduction in stressful situations in their current jobs, and sought more control over their futures.


In 2021, as vaccines became available and the world started to reopen, businesses thought things were finally going to turn-around and go back to “normal”.  But, according to the most recent data from the United States “Job Openings and Labor Turnover” (JOLTS) report, 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September 2021.

So, where are all of the applicants going?


One place is to YouTube.  At the end of the year 2020, YouTube was the fifth most used social media platform just slightly behind Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter with marketing.  But YouTube isn’t the only place job seekers are going!  TikTok announced September 27, 2021 that they had reached 1 billion monthly active users which was a 45% increase since July 2020 with the US being one of its biggest markets. Competition is also coming from what has been labeled the Gig Economy- where organizations and individuals partner for short term assignments. The largest industry represented in the Gig economy is transportation (like Uber and Lyft). The number of freelance workers is steadily increasing in the United States. For example, number of US freelancers is estimated to grow from 57 to 86 million by 2027.


With annual income potential reaching millions of US dollars, the freedom to explore their creativity at their own pace, wherever in the world they want to live or travel to while also making their own hours, being your own boss is a huge draw to the 4.4 million who left their jobs.


How do you compete?

In the past two years business has changed dramatically.  To compete, here are a few suggestions on what applicants are considering deal breakers when it comes to shopping employment opportunities:

  • New working options. When the world shut down in 2020 due to the pandemic, a lot of people were forced to work from home.  Positions never considered to be “work from home” positions were suddenly being performed in a remote environment and successfully!  Suddenly, workers found that they enjoyed the new work-life balance and the opportunity to live and work anywhere so this has become high on the list of requirements for future employment. If you aren’t already, consider which positions could be offered as full remote or a hybrid work opportunity.

  • Diverse work environmentsDiversity and inclusion efforts of a company have never been more important in an applicant’s mind.  They are looking at your C-suite to see if it is diverse.  They are looking at the overall demographic makeup of your organization to see how they will fit in. Branding your organization as an inclusive organization has never been more important to peak the interest of any applicant.

  • Update your hiring process: Applicants who are looking for new opportunities want streamlined hiring processes, more information, and ease in applying.  The expectation in 2022 is that job descriptions will include the salary information (even if it’s just a pay band), how long the process will take from application to hiring decision, and promotional opportunities available for that particular job.  With 61% of applications being completed via mobile devices you will also want to ensure compatibility with your applicant tracking system. On the bright side of this competition with Social Media platforms for talent, TikTok may be able to help you fill your vacancies!  Through their 2021 pilot program called TikTok Resumes, users can apply for US-based jobs with video resumes. Are you embracing your competition to see how their platform can help you win back talent?

    Now is the time to review your process, update your job descriptions and review your applicant tracking system if you want to snag qualified applicants.

    Additionally, job seekers may start asking tougher questions during the hiring process so be prepared with a revised “elevator pitch”.  We are seeing job seekers asking many of the following questions:

    • How did your organization handle the pandemic from an employee standpoint?
    • Did you have any reductions in force?
    • How long did it take your organization to pivot from a traditional work environment to a virtual one?
    • What problems arose due to the pandemic?
    • What steps did your organization take to ensure the psychological health of your employees during the pandemic?
    • Are my hours set or is there flexibility in my scheduled hours?
  • Go beyond compensation: While compensation is always important and the latest American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor survey conducted by The Harris Poll revealed that 63% of respondents said pay will lead their decision to change job, job seekers are looking beyond compensation. Much like branding your organization as an inclusive place to work, applicants want to know more about your company. What are your goals?  What is your mission?  What can they expect in their teammates?  Now is your time to shine!  Share your company’s story and entice them with who you are!

  • Targeted Outreach: It was reported by the National Women’s Law Center that between August and September 2020, over 800,000 women left the workforce to look after their children. Does your company have a strategy to incentivize returning to work? Actively developing a targeted outreach initiative will not only help in diversifying your workforce but will also help brand your organization as an inclusive work environment.


The great resignation may have started in 2021 but it continues to thrive in 2022.  What actions we take now will have a long-term impact on our business for many years.  Take this time to focus on the job seeker and employee experience.  Ask questions of both!  Survey your current employees to find out what areas they feel need improvement.  Ask job seekers what they are looking for in a new position.  Both of these are vital pieces of the puzzle that has become the workplace in 2022.

Companies Mentioned in this Press Release: