Hiring and Recruiting During a Pandemic

by Mary Kennedy Thompson, COO on November 6, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant shift in the way many, if not most, companies operate. Read more about hiring and recruiting during this pandemic.

The world has witnessed many businesses close their doors permanently while other startups have seemingly sprung up overnight. It’s a tough time for our global economy as a whole, but essential service providers have not stopped.

With 18 service verticals across our family of home service brands, our Neighborly franchise owners and their teams have continued to deliver essential services to homeowners in need. In fact, the demand for the services we provide continues to grow. The U.S. Census Bureau Monthly New Residential Construction Report for September 2020 shows that new housing completions in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,413,000. This is 15.3 percent above the revised August estimate of 1,226,000 and is 25.8 percent above the September 2019 rate of 1,123,000. Even in the midst of a pandemic, there is still significant demand for housing. With the increased amount of housing comes additional demand for Neighborly home services.

As demand continues to grow, so must our workforce of service professionals. With a September unemployment rate of 7.9%, security and job stability are top of mind for job seekers. Essential businesses can provide exactly that. A report released in June titled COVID-19 Employment Report: Measuring the Impact on Workers shared the following key findings:

  1. Most unemployed workers are not replacing their lost earnings through unemployment.
  2. The notion that most people are declining to return to work is a misconception.
  3. People are still applying for jobs.

Conversely, the home services industry is also faced with Baby Boomers retiring in droves at a rate of 10,000 per day. This mass exodus, combined with less young people entering the skilled trades, is further shrinking the skilled trades labor pool. Take a moment to read the article from National Public Radio “High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up for University.” This explains the situation well and Neighborly is actively researching apprenticeship initiatives with a goal of ensuring a strong future workforce in the trades.

So how do you overcome these obstacles? Make recruiting and retention a primary focus of your business and day-to-day activities! Lawrence Bossidy of General Electric said “I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”

In order to find the right people for the right positions in a reasonable amount of time, you need to use all of the resources that are available to you. After a great deal of research, listening to franchise owners, and examining all available options, Neighborly partnered with CareerPlug to provide a best-in-class Recruiting and Applicant Tracking System at an affordable price. The results across Neighborly have been nothing short of phenomenal since the inception of the program. Across all Brands there have been 1,207,601 applications received with 4,519 hires made since December of 2018. For 2020 year to date, there have been 511,454 applications and 1,923 hires made.

All Neighborly brand franchise owners receive a FREE subscription to the CareerPlug Basic Plan. Every brand has been provided with a careers landing page on their website. This landing page was created in collaboration with Bullish, a nationally recognized marketing firm after performing extensive research to determine what factors attracted applicants to each brand. 

Recruiting the right people is possible, even in a pandemic, but it is a numbers game. A recent study revealed that the number of applicants to make one hire in the Home and Commercial Services sector is 141. As the economy recovers, employers will be met with an applicant pool far larger than any in recent memory. This will be especially impactful for essential businesses like ours as many applicants will be looking for stability and security. It is highly recommended that franchise owners enroll in the CareerPlug Pro Plan to cast a wide net to reach the maximum number of applicants. The Pro Plan includes unlimited job postings to major job boards, reaching the majority of online job seekers. Also included is Fast Track applicant automation, configurable applicant assessments, automatic job translation into Spanish and paperless new hire onboarding. CareerPlug also recently announced a new partnership with Paychex. Now onboarding is even easier with new applicant information flowing directly into your Paychex account for those owners using this vendor.

The Pro Plan costs $495 per year but CareerPlug is offering an End-of Year SpecialFranchise owners upgrading their free Basic Plan to the Pro Plan by December 31, 2020, will receive a $45 credit toward their first-year subscription. That’s a month free! All current franchise owners renewing their Pro Plan subscription from October 2020 to September 2021 will receive $70 off of their renewal fee due to the percentage of the Neighborly network now on the Pro Plan.

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted the way businesses hire and recruit. Neighborly business owners have an opportunity to leverage our robust recruiting systems to grow their business to meet increased demands for our essential services, even during a pandemic. For more information on hiring and recruiting after COVID-19, please take some time to watch the webinar Where Do We Go From Here?

Topics: Marketing Update


Mary Kennedy Thompson, COO

Mary Kennedy Thompson, COO

Mary Kennedy Thompson has a long history with Neighborly and now serves as the company Chief Operating Officer. Mary is an expert in business, franchising, leadership and plumbing!

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