Seeing fewer candidates this week? Blame the weather.

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Here at MyJobHelper, we are constantly monitoring key metrics related to our web site traffic and email alerts. On the email side, we regularly (i.e. obsessively) track engagement stats to ensure our email deliverability is stable and to measure changes made to mailings to improve response rates and reduce attrition.

This week we noticed a slight decline in engagement, and after investigating common causes, found a very uncommon reason for the change. The blackouts and unusual winter weather in Texas and other states has had a profound impact on candidate activity in those regions. Unsurprisingly, if users don’t have power, they’re more concerned about staying warm than applying for a job.

But this is a good example of an extraordinary event causing unpredictable changes in user (in this case, candidate) behavior. And this likely impacts far more than just job site activity, but all aspects of online and business activity. For example, Walmart has been forced to close hundreds of stores in affected areas.

How severe was the decline in email traffic in Texas? For Tuesday, February 16th, we saw a 42% decrease in engagement compared to the prior week. And in states like Illinois and Tennessee that have also been impacted by severe weather, we saw about a 10-15% decline. The power outages likely account for the difference.

So next time you see an unusual decline in email engagement that is unaccounted for by traditional causes, load up the front page of your favorite newspaper, as the reason you’re not hearing from candidates may be the first headline on the page.

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