Many of the headlines surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact on the job market are daunting. Prior to the pandemic, unemployment was at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent, making it highly competitive for employers to attract and hire qualified talent. As of the May jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has jumped to 14.7 percent. 

Given the spike in unemployment, millions of job seekers are now in the market for new roles, presenting a great opportunity for employers to hire motivated employees.

Whether your team is actively hiring or has plans to hire in the near future, now is a better time than ever to excite eager job seekers -- many of whom might not have previously considered joining your team or working in your specific industry -- about the opportunities your open roles present. Below, I've outlined ways for your team to secure top talent from this new wave of job seekers. 

1. Focus on your employer brand.

Despite the rise in unemployment, it's still critical to sell top job seekers on the benefits of joining your team. The most motivated job seekers won't consider just any role or organization and, rather, will seek out a compelling answer to the question "What's in it for me?" from employers. You can answer this question and stand out from competing opportunities through your employer brand.

To build a strong employer brand, your team should highlight any benefits you have to offer on your careers page, in job descriptions, on social media, and anywhere else job seekers might come across your open roles. These benefits might include vacation time, retirement benefits, professional development reimbursement, defined career paths, community involvement, and more.

Beyond any benefits you offer, also make sure you write your job descriptions with a diverse set of job seekers in mind. As a result of the pandemic, many job seekers from industries that were hit particularly hard by layoffs -- such as hospitality and retail -- might be looking to transition their careers to a new industry, so it's important to consider prospective applicants who don't necessarily have direct industry experience.

For example, if you're looking to hire for a sales role, instead of requiring direct sales experience in your industry, highlight the importance of strong negotiation and customer service skills. This will help you reach a broader pool of applicants, many of whom might not have previously considered joining your team. 

2. Reach out to past applicants.

While the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Covid-19 give you the opportunity to reach a new set of job seekers, your team's next top hire might be closer than you think.

Chances are your team has come across some qualified candidates whom you were unable to hire for one reason or another. Maybe you weren't actively hiring at the time, it was a close call between two final candidates, or one of your top candidates accepted an offer from another employer. 

Consider reaching out to these prior candidates about any new or upcoming open roles. You'll already have their contact information on hand from their job application and other previous hiring steps. This can save you from starting the hiring process from scratch. 

When you reach out to previous candidates, thank each one for their interest in your company and outline any opportunities you have available. Also, acknowledge that you understand they might have accepted another role in the meantime, and that many job seekers are now in the market for new opportunities.

Even if this doesn't result in hiring past candidates directly, engaging with these prospective employees can lead to future job referrals and even new business.

Nobody can predict how long or to what extent the pandemic will impact businesses across industries. But with the right team in place, you can set your organization up for long-term success. By following the tips outlined here, you can capture the attention of countless job seekers in the market for new opportunities and, as a result, hire qualified employees who will drive positive results for your team.