The pandemic has created new hiring challenges when it comes to recruitment. An increasing number of employees are demanding to continue working from home and better benefits. There has been a spate of resignations across the board that has created numerous vacancies that companies are struggling to fill. Many are also contending with having to build up their staff levels after having made cutbacks at the start of the pandemic.
Recruiters are also reporting that an increasing number of new hires fail in their roles within their first year, with a mismatch in roles and workplace culture often being identified as the problem. These problems have long plagued the labour market, but do seem to have intensified since the pandemic began to die down and companies hoped to return to business as usual.
Businesses are also having to contend with leaner budgets that do not leave much wiggle room to negotiate with job candidates. Trying to achieve the same goals when it is a job candidates' market has certainly made it tougher for recruiters. While the particular problems may vary depending on the type and size of the business, certain challenges keep recurring no matter the industry. So, let us look at the most common recruiting challenges and how to overcome them.
One of the reasons mentioned for the high failure rate amongst new hires is the poor fit between the job candidate and the role they are assigned. Right now, there is so much demand for workers that it can be difficult to cut through the noise and get through to job candidates who are actually the best fit for the job. Skilled workers are increasingly finding that there are so many work opportunities in their field being posted online that they find it increasingly hard to narrow down to the most suitable choices.
Businesses that want to capture the attention of good job candidates amongst the cacophony of hundreds of other recruiters may need to rely on their brand. Building a strong employer brand can help set your business apart from the crowd. This means working on ways to highlight why your business makes for such a great employer.
From employee testimonials on social media to quality LinkedIn career pages, you need to bring focus to why your workplace offers the best career and personal fulfilment. It can help to look at other leading brands in your industry and how they present themselves. The image you cultivate online should give candidates looking up your brand a good idea of what it would mean to join your team.
Another strategy would be to use your network of existing employees to attract talent. For roles in departments, especially those that participate in trade and other networking events, you already have fertile ground to work with. Reach out to other employees in the department who can in turn reach out to possible candidates they may have met in the course of their work to make an employee referral. This connection may make it easier to entice a candidate as they are hearing about the opportunity from someone they know, rather than a stranger recruiter.
Recruiting internally could be another solution, especially for roles that are difficult to fill. Opting to develop the talent you already have within the organisation can help to not only ease recruitment challenges but also aid in retention. These are people that already fit into and understand the workplace culture and work ethic. Once you promote them to this tougher role, you may then find it easier to fill the vacancy they left behind externally.
There are many areas in which businesses make diligent use of data and metrics to guide their decision-making. Unfortunately, data is not often used in the recruitment aspects even though this could also lead to better-informed decisions here. There is often a failure to collect and process relevant data and a lack of systems to analyse it. More often than not HR decisions are made based on gut feelings or an ad hoc approach, rather than being data-driven. This kind of recruiting strategy is what often leads to recruiting the wrong candidates and the creation of staffing gaps.
Businesses need to collect data and audit their staff skill sets to understand where these gaps exist and those that may emerge in future. They then need to develop a plan on how they will find candidates with the right skills that will fulfil these workforce needs. They also have to review their recruitment processes to understand what activities are proving effective, and those that are not.
You can also use data to identify where you should focus your recruiting efforts. Once you identify staffing gaps, you can use certain tools to show you locations where there is a shorter supply of jobs but a higher supply of candidates. For instance, college towns where graduates in certain fields are plentiful. This can be especially helpful if you have a remote work program that grants you more flexibility in finding candidates who may not want to relocate.
The recruitment process is typically nerve-racking for the candidates, even when trying to fill senior positions. As it is a candidate’s market, recruiters are finding that they are the ones who increasingly have to impress rather than the other way around. They need to create a candidate experience that will encourage the candidate to have a positive feeling about the company. Without this positive impression being made, they are more likely to opt for another job offer. A bad experience may not only encourage them to move on but also damage the employer brand you are trying to build.
A good way to fix your recruitment problems related to candidate experience is to streamline your recruitment process. Start with posting job descriptions that are clear and provide an easy way for applicants to apply. Making your portal mobile-friendly can be a great way to add user-friendliness and encourage candidates to apply immediately, wherever they are.
Ensure that you respond to candidate queries quickly and comprehensively. Also, provide candidates with details on what to expect during the process and track how they move along the process, which should be kept as short as possible. For those that drop out, conducting a feedback survey may help in determining why.
Communication is vital here. Besides responding to queries, have a system that will keep candidates engaged by sending them reminders and a calendar you can use to know when candidates expect to have heard from you. Avoid long gaps between communications so the candidate does not feel like they have been left out in the dark.
Let them know what to expect when it comes time for an interview and try to make that experience a positive one. Take time to detail what the role is about so they understand what would be expected of them and where possible, arrange for a meet and greet with the team they will work with to put them at ease. Coordinate with the front office to have candidates welcomed well when coming in for an interview.
For some businesses, the problem lies not with a failure to use technology, but rather an over-reliance on technology. They build automated systems to help streamline their recruitment process. The programming can prove effective at such tasks as narrowing down to candidates that best match the set parameters, but sometimes the best candidate may not fit within those parameters.
Software is not able to discern unique talents or traits that would outweigh what specifically it has been programmed to consider on a resume. It is only when the human element intervenes that other outstanding aspects of what appears to be a lacklustre candidate on paper can be detected.
Automation definitely has its place in recruitment but should be coupled with human oversight to ensure ideal candidates are not being lost. Keep reviewing the applications that the system disqualifies to see if there are areas the programming may need to be improved on to better identify the best candidates.
Businesses do not like to have vacancies for long. A failure to fill certain roles can delay operations and place an extra burden on other employees who may become dissatisfied with their jobs. This often means that recruiters feel pressured to find job candidates even when there is a skills shortage in the market. It becomes tougher when it is a position that is difficult to fill and requires a lengthy period to find suitable job candidates. Recruiters may end up making substandard hiring decisions just to ease the situation which can lead to other problems.
To resolve this, start by ensuring you have created an easier recruitment process. Not only should it be easy for candidates to apply, but you should also review the stages involved to figure out what is necessary and what is not. Another solution would be to try and determine if you are looking for candidates in the right place. How good you are at communicating with candidates can also impact the chances they will accept the job offer.
Where you find there is no way to shorten the process, do communicate with the hiring team. They need to understand the difficulties being faced in finding a suitable candidate and how if the process is rushed, they could end up with the wrong person for the job, who will cost them money having to compensate for their poor work and to start the recruitment process over.
One of the reasons poor job candidates sometimes manage to get through the recruitment process and secure a job offer is because they somehow managed to overcome the testing and interview stages. This means that these assessments are failing to identify the correct skills needed for the role.
Using online assessment tools may help to better evaluate the technical and soft skills required for the job. They can also be customised to gauge behaviour and other traits that can impact how well a candidate will fit into the workplace culture and interact with clients. These tools can be more objective than other testing carried out by a human. They can also mitigate other biases that are affecting your recruiting efforts like gender or race. Many organisations can find themselves making poor hiring decisions due to unconscious biases.
Recruiters can also incorporate skills assessment tests or screening questions right at the beginning of the process to help eliminate unqualified candidates early. Focus on questions that seek to verify necessary skills for the job and will provide a way for candidates to self-select out of the process as they cannot proceed. You will get better accuracy out of the process by utilising multiple tests throughout the process. This will add to your data which you can use to arrive at the best possible candidate choice.