5 common recruitment challenges facing recruiters

Today, recruiters face a host of challenges, no matter the economic circumstances.

When the unemployment rate is low, there are fewer candidates to draw from. Conversely, when unemployment is high, recruiters are flooded with resumes but struggle to place even the well-qualified candidates. The internet has made applying for jobs so easy that recruiters are deluged with resumes from marginally qualified candidates with questionable qualifications.

Recruitment challenges run the gamut from creating a strong employer brand to efficiently screening candidates without excluding talent that might simply not be skilled at resume wording.

  1. Lackluster employer branding

  2. Your company focuses on your customer-facing brand, of course, but are you neglecting your employer brand? According to LinkedIn, 75 percent of job seekers consider the employer’s brand when deciding to apply for a job. They look on Glassdoor and similar sites to learn what former employees have to say. If former employees have little good to say about working for you, you’re certain to have problems attracting and hiring top talent.

    Building a strong employer brand requires commonsense marketing. Invest the time to develop an inviting and accurate list of open positions under the “careers” tab on your website. 

    Include posts on your company blog showcasing company culture and employee enthusiasm for the company mission. Profile current employees to give prospective talent a behind-the-scenes look at what you do. 

    The candidates you most want to hear from always do their homework. Take every opportunity to encourage them to send their resume.

  3. A shortage of qualified candidates

  4. If there’s one problem with a strong economy, it’s the competition for key talent. A mismatch between the demand for talent and the supply is a common recruitment challenge. The National Federation of Independent Business found the shortage of skilled talent is a serious impediment to business growth. But a strong employer brand attracts qualified candidates.

    Employee referrals are often a reliable way to find qualified candidates. Your superstar employees likely have friends who share their values and work ethic. Your employees want to look good, so they’ll only refer candidates who will reflect well on them. Additionally, people trust their friends more than random internet recommendations, so when a friend sends them a link to a job posting, they’re more likely to check it out.

  5. Difficulty targeting passive candidates

  6. If you look at it mathematically, it’s likely the candidates you most want to hear from aren’t actively looking for a new job. Research by LinkedIn found that, at any given time, 30 percent of the global workforce is searching for a job, but nearly all of the 70 percent who aren’t looking would be open to making a change if they found a better opportunity.

    These are the people who won’t think to check the “careers” tab on your website but would be interested if they did. That same LinkedIn study discovered that companies can increase their pool of potential candidates tenfold by encouraging employees to refer qualified people. Interestingly, the study found that people refer job candidates to be helpful to their friends and to help the company. Cash incentives did little to motivate employees to refer talent.

    Making sure passive talent is aware of your employer brand requires a consistent social media presence, especially on LinkedIn. Invest the time and resources to participate in recruiting events, as well as relevant events like meetups and workshops where you’re likely to meet potential candidates.

  7. Attracting promising candidates

  8. Even in a period of low unemployment, you’re going to sort through plenty of resumes. The problem is, few of these resumes will be from people with the right combination of qualifications and cultural fit. Screening resumes takes valuable time that could be spent talking with the most promising candidates.

    Clearly stating the job requirements and qualifications in the job description helps candidates self-select more accurately while giving you clear lines for determining who makes the first cut. The better known your employer brand, the easier it is for candidates to take themselves out of the running early or to press hard for the job. If your company culture is laid-back and informal, someone who wants a structured environment is unlikely to submit their resume.

  9. Providing a positive candidate experience

  10. There’s no point in making the effort to attract good candidates if they have a poor experience during the hiring process and decide not to accept the job. Research found 63 percent of job seekers have rejected a job offer due to a poor candidate experience. Failing to communicate with job candidates during the recruitment process is often perceived as disrespectful.

    Communication is what makes a positive candidate experience. LinkedIn research found that simply following up with a phone call after an interview and having the supervisor for the open position contact the candidate drastically increased the odds of an offer being accepted.

    Tell candidates at the conclusion of the interview what the time line is for a decision, then follow through. If you have a lot of open positions to fill or a lot of candidates to manage, use a CRM system to keep track of them and your responses.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the many challenges facing recruiters, but none of the challenges are insurmountable. Maintaining a steady stream of quality job candidates requires planning, continual learning, and sustained effort, just like every other part of growing your business.

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