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Top 9 recruiting challenges and how to overcome them
Hiring and Recruitment

Top 9 recruiting challenges and how to overcome them

Nirvi B
February 14, 2024

Your job descriptions seem well-written. The company is hot and booming. They’re willing to pay top dollar for competent candidates. Yet you’re facing trouble getting people to apply. Those who do apply aren't really a good match. What sort of recruiting challenges are these?

Some recruitment thought leaders believe that they haven't seen anything like this in their years of recruiting experience. Putting it gently, the world saw a tumultuous few years. At the start of this one - omicron soared, inflation soared and a possible WW3 between Russia and Ukraine erupted.

It's difficult to carve out time to diagnose your hiring process and pinpoint improvement areas. But enhancing ROI or minimising recruitment problems needs commitment to smart strategies. If you’re a recruiter yourself, this is your guide to identify blind spots that you could be overlooking.

Top Recruiting Challenges in 2023

1. Attracting Purple Squirrels a.k.a Top Talent

Recruiters use "purple squirrel" as a metaphor to describe the IDEAL job candidate. Mind you, purple squirrels do exist and they have an odd behaviour. This person or job applicant holds the exact education, experience and skills that are required for the position. In today's age, many excellent candidates fall through the cracks because of a poor virtual hiring process.

Other HR challenges in recruitment and selection are often spread across lost emails, buried attachments within threads and even misplaced applications. Candidates go unnoticed if there are more holes in the bucket, making it less optimal for attracting talent.

The Solution:

A good place to start is to ask questions to hiring managers to ensure you've grasped the job role completely. Use a Boolean search recruiting method that includes all of the perfect qualifications for the position you're looking to fill. Then gather examples of strong performers with the same job functions (in your own organizations) whom your recruiting professional would want to clone. Later, while hiring - utilise exclusive search strategies to uncover similar talent but exclude the types of people you DON'T want from your results.

With this recruiting strategy, you get to select your best match and also later preserve the remaining number of professionals who met your ideal criteria in your talent pool. Here is an example of recruiting the ideal candidate for the position of - for instance - Software Engineer.

recruiting challenges | peopleHum

2. Finding the ‘how to’ of testing candidates

“My number one all-time biggest challenge — figuring out how to test and interview candidates to determine if they can actually do the job before we hire them.” - Eric Scott, product and project manager at HappyFunCorp on Quora

Many businesses believe that traditional formal tests help with the hiring process. But factors like perfect reliability on these assessments are tough to achieve - since a range of factors can jeopardise a test's integrity. Such as incorrect or irrelevant questions or rater bias in the evaluation of job candidates.

Validity is another concern because it measures the accuracy of the conclusion drawn from tests. Or a test that actually measures what it purports to measure.

The Solution:

To assess a candidate’s skills, HR must first decide which tests are required. Then select a test that [accurately] evaluates the required KSAs.

Barry Kozloff, President of SRI, a management consulting firm advises recruiters TO:

  1. Look for data that overlaps from two to three different sources.
  2. Wait for all relevant information before making a judgement
  3. Use recruiter interviews as a first step in the process.

Kozloff also advises employers NOT TO:

  1. Eliminate candidates after a single interview
  2. Influence interviews by discussing outcomes before the data is in
  3. Make use of a single numeric score to judge a person’s ability or lack of ability

Are you in the quest of gaining more insights on how to tackle the above and forthcoming recruiting challenges? Benefit from these top hiring resources to help you hire better in 2023!

3. Assuring a memorable candidate experience

There is still friction between job seekers and companies. Both sides may try to appear better than they are. A company may claim to be the finest in its field. A candidate, on the other hand, may claim their experiences made them the fastest learner and most adaptable employee in the market.

This trendy catchphrase - candidate experience - is certainly important because it defines "how applicants feel about your company during the hiring process." And these candidates’ feelings, whether positive or negative, impact whether they apply to the opening or accept your job offer.

The Solution:

Some recruitment challenges faced by a recruiter in creating a good candidate experience can be better solved by:

  1. Making it easy for candidates to apply
  2. Writing clear job descriptions
  3. Following up with the applicants early and often
  4. Answering candidate queries
  5. Giving applicants information regarding what to expect during the process
  6. Keeping track of applicants
  7. Sending out and receiving candidate feedback surveys

Challenges in recruitment also lie in the lengthy application process. So, make the process mobile-friendly - 90% of job seekers use their phones during job hunts. There's no simpler strategy to recruit via your cellphones than text recruiting. Be open and honest about your expected hiring timeline. Communicate when you expect to have the next round and when you aim to close the position.

Also read : 8 things hiring managers should know about the candidate experience

recruiting challenges | peopleHum

4. Overcoming recruitment biases

“When it comes to hiring a candidate, people often look to fill positions with someone they can relate to, someone who is more ‘like them.’” Ruchi Bhalla, Country Head - Delivery Centres

Many recruiters don’t realise how prevalent hiring biases are. Or how prevalent it will remain unless steps are taken to eliminate them. For example - if a recruiter sees a well-dressed applicant, he/she might believe the applicant to be ideal, ignoring the negatives or any other red flags. This is referred to as confirmation bias. Or taking in information that validates your beliefs and ignoring everything else.

The Solution:

Given the rise of hybrid recruiting, the simplest solution is to involve other members of your team conduct interviews in-person or virtually. Coworkers always have a somewhat different perspective on applicants than recruiters do. They might pick up on things recruiters don’t - such as minor personality flaws that go unnoticed. To make judgments based on data, make use of personality tests to remove biases.

5. Managing a flood of resumes: Separating the wheat from the chaff

“Too few" applications are (typically) the cause of recruiting challenges in today's job market. But "too many" applications might be the ultimate time sink.

Those sourcing talents know that they easily require 1-3 hours a day to sift through resumes for ONE vacancy. The time is consumed in: Weeding out those who are utterly unqualified. Second-screening those who may be of interest. Conducting basic phone screens. And then again conducting basic background searches on candidates.

“I could come into work and have hundreds of emails. Not even exaggerating. On average, 200 people apply to a posted job so if I have 10 of them, that could be 2,000 resumes/emails/applications I need to go through.” - Celia Stangarone, an Operations Specialist at Risesmart

The Solution:

Consider investing in an applicant tracking system (ATS) that parses hundreds of resumes in no time (See also The ROI of ATS). It allows your team to collaborate and track the status of the hiring process at a glance. Your team will also be able to leave feedback and examine each other's remarks using this method. It'll also make some administrative jobs easier with built-in email templates, calendar integrations, and other features.

“Make sure you use software for managing your candidates, so everything is in one place; resumes, communication with the candidates, internal notes, other information,” advised Brandon Nolte.

6. Reducing the time-to-hire

The most crucial among the recruitment metrics to track is the time-to-hire metric. Taking too long to fill a position means risking fast-moving (high-quality) candidates. For starters, a long recruitment process causes many candidates to lose interest in the position. There's a good probability the candidate has already applied for another position and received a response by the time your company makes a decision.

Consequences of this are: Organisation will have to go through another hiring cycle to find a replacement. This long-standing vacancy will result in low productivity and creativity.

The Solution:

One of the most effective ways to reduce time to hire is to use a talent pipeline - a pool of individuals you've pre-screened for a specific post before. You don't have to advertise your job, wait for applications to come in, or spend time vetting applicants when you have a pool of competent individuals on fast dial. All you have to do now is contact these individuals about the open position.

recruiting challenges | peopleHum
Image Source: LinkedIn

7. Making hiring decisions based on data

Recruiters don’t have the necessary tools to understand the market and candidate pool. Companies fail to ask the right questions about the open roles. Most recruiters cannot effectively crunch the data to offer actionable suggestions to hiring managers. That's why the most serious among the recruiting challenges is trusting your gut feeling in hiring.

“Human capital data can be leveraged to identify and hire more great people more quickly… but the vast majority of companies have yet to fully embrace data as a strategic asset in talent acquisition.”- Glen Cathey, SVP of Talent Acquisition at Kforce.

The Solution:

Make the most of recruitment automation and Al. Artificial Intelligence can be programmed to screen a vast pool of candidates and recommend only those who pass the screening to the recruiting team.

One may also make use of predictive analytics to stay ahead of the competition/talent war. Recruiters can learn what to look for (or watch out for) in future hire by analysing the data of present employees. Other benefits include finding out which talents, demographics, and even personality traits are associated with higher retention.

8. Hiring for diversity and inclusion

“All companies want it (diversity). Few truly understand how to get it.” - Brianna Rooney, Recruiter, Teaches

Challenges of a recruiter - when hiring people from diversified backgrounds - lie in their sourcing strategies. Companies lack the correct strategy, technology, people, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Some fail to make the targeted changes required for long-term diversity impact. If your interviewers haven't been trained in inclusive hiring procedures or aren't using competency-based interviewing approaches, they may rate candidates based on their biased assumptions.

Recruiting challenges - peoplehum

The Solution:

When writing inclusive job ads: Limit the job duties to must-haves, and focus on the key tasks. Make sure the specific criteria is kept to the minimum. Verify if your diversity statement is included. Reassure whether you’re following gender-neutrality.

Checklist to target underrepresented talent: Some questions to ask

  1. Can we better showcase underrepresented talent?
  2. How do we promote an inclusive culture?
  3. Are we advocating for diversity hiring and the reason for doing so?
  4. Is our leadership and recruitment process team sufficiently diverse?
  5. Do we utilize diversity referrals?

9. Building an employer brand

The sum of what employees think of you is your employer branding. Many firms fail in understanding their company's culture - and the message they want to deliver. SMEs face recruiting challenges when deciding where to begin their branding activities. The priority is to generate uniqueness and preference in their minds.

The Solution:

An internal survey is a good idea to know what the present employees see as your company's strengths and growth opportunities. Tell a captivating tale about your organisation, portray its culture and entice people to join your team. Make a visually appealing and responsive employment site and career blog where you can showcase why your organisation is a fantastic place to work. Upload videos and photos of your staff and office as employee testimonials. Write about exciting projects and new technology that your teams are working on.

Final words

Despite, or probably because of the economic uncertainty created by the pandemic, talent acquisition professionals will have their hands full. Unemployment is likely to stay high, and the majority of people in the job market expect to hunt for a new job. But these recruiting challenges that come with setting up and executing a streamlined hiring process vary from organization to organization.

A recruitment management system that is tailored to your hiring process and allows you to establish your hiring workflow can help you close the gap and find quality candidates faster.

Are you in the quest of choosing the right recruitment management system, backed by a slew of industry leaders, and that can handle all of the aforementioned recruiting challenges? Book a free demo with us and see for yourself.

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