You know that well-built teams make an organization soar, so you do everything you can to attract talented people. You create recruitment material to attract the right candidates and post it on hiring sites where you assume job hunters are looking, but they either disappear halfway through the interview process or never apply at all, so what did you do wrong? It happens to all recruiters at some point. Recruiting challenges are universal. Is there something wrong with your application page? Are you using the wrong message? The wrong platforms? Are the recruiting chatbots you're using turning candidates off?
It’s time to stop going around in circles and beating yourself up. You can fix your recruitment strategy — it’s just a matter of identifying where you’re getting stuck and clearing up that bottleneck. To get you started, here are 10 of the most common recruitment challenges and how to meet them head-on so you can get back to attracting great people.
Every recruitment strategy in the world aims to onboard more top talent. This goal is crucial, but it has one key flaw.
It has no numbers.
To be useful, goals need to be memorable. Take your recruitment objectives and use them to create some SMART goals:
Image Source: Indeed
For example, as part of your objective to attract great candidates, aim to boost traffic on your career page by a certain percent or increase the number of applications after a recruiting event. In creating these goals, you’ll start to see whether your strategies are the right ones, and if you’re doing what’s necessary to meet them.
You can communicate more effectively with candidates and build stronger relationships when you understand what they want in a job, why they’re looking, and what will attract them. A candidate persona, essentially a character profile of your ideal recruiter, can help you get there.
A persona like this, preferably with a bit more information about background and goals, can help you to craft relevant job ads and post them in the right places. It also teaches you how to effectively follow up and what to emphasize in one-on-one conversations.
When candidates look through potential positions, they’re most likely to short-list those jobs that will benefit them and their careers in some way. If your job postings are emphasizing qualifications and responsibilities, perhaps with a brief mention of salary and benefits, you run the risk of top candidates passing you by.
A strong and well-researched candidate persona will help you to identify what those attraction points are for your target audience. For example, you might be more inclined to emphasize wellness benefits for jobs that appeal to candidates over 50, but a student loan forgiveness program or flexible working hours are more likely to get younger candidates on board.
It’s easy for recruiters to falsely divide candidates into two groups — those who want a job and those who don’t. If you base your recruitment strategy on this misconception, you’re missing an enormous cohort of people who might be interested in a job later. TalentNow has found that almost three-quarters (73%) of candidates are passive job seekers, meaning that they’re not actively seeking new work but may be open to it.
To stay on these candidates’ radars, set up an email list specifically for passive job seekers. Add an email signup field to your careers page for people who want to stay in touch but aren’t ready to apply. Stay in touch by sending out regular updates covering useful information like industry news, whitepapers, and company updates.
Today’s job seekers look at potential employers the same way they look at brands. Your candidates are out there reviewing your website, looking at your social media content and reading reviews from current and past employees on Glassdoor.
This pattern is why, according to a recent survey by The Talent Board, employer branding is the top area of focus for recruiters worldwide. Keeping up with this trend is important for any recruiter who wants to stay competitive and attract top talent.
Building a strong employer brand means making sure that you’re painting a consistent picture of what it’s like to work for your company. It means having a company image and voice that’s the same across all website pages, especially the “About Us” and “Careers” pages, and carrying that voice into your social media content.
Your social media content should reinforce and emphasize your employer brand. If you emphasize team bonding, show your team having fun. If you focus on employee growth, create content around recent workshops or continuing education events. Help candidates to see the company’s character as an employer.
One of the biggest mistakes that recruiters make is using social media as just another announcement board instead of the recruiting software it can be. You have plenty of other opportunities for one-way communication, from job listing sites to your website. Social media should be social.
Use your content to start conversations. For example, post an article about job search trends and ask readers if it aligns with their experience. You can use internal content this way too, announcing news like acquisitions or open positions and inviting people to share.
People will be more likely to engage with your content if they see personal value in it. Also, because social media algorithms prioritize engagement, you’ll get more views when your posts get more interaction.
Candidate experience ranks right up there with employee brand as a top priority for recruiters. In the US, it even ranks above employer brand, according to Talent Board respondents. You may be recruiting the best in the business, but if a candidate feels like your application process is too difficult or you’re not keeping them updated, they may not stick around.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, 81% of job seekers want more communication throughout the hiring experience. Make sure you’re keeping in touch with candidates and updating them regularly. Start by sending a confirmation as soon as you receive an application, then send updates when an application status changes or when things are taking longer than a candidate might expect.
Before applicants can experience your stellar candidate experience, they have to get through the application process. If it’s too complicated or time-intensive, they may lose interest or assume that you don’t respect their time.
First, check that your search listing links easily to the job application and that the application instructions are clear. Then, look at the application itself. How long will it take to complete? Data shows that candidates are up to 365% more likely to complete an application if it takes five minutes or less to complete.
Repetitive fields should be the first to go. Candidates are turned off by having to upload a resume and then re-enter the same information, and you don’t gain anything by receiving the same data twice.
The interview is a key part of the candidate experience. You’re assessing the candidate, but they’re also assessing you, determining whether you make them feel at ease and how you present the position and the company.
Too many interviewers don’t prepare for candidate meetings. Instead, they ask generic questions (“What’s your greatest strength/weakness?”), come up with talking points on the fly, and involve multiple decision-makers who repeat the same questions over and over. That’s not how you show candidates that you’re interested in them. Instead, show respect from day one by making the scheduling process convenient.
Avoid back-and-forth email chains by letting the candidate choose their own interview time via Calendly. If you want, you can even add pre-screening questions to your scheduling link to streamline your first interview.
Also, make sure that your interviewers are preparing properly, coming up with specific questions like “How would you handle this scenario?”
If there are multiple interviewers, make sure they’re talking to each other so there’s no repetition.
There are so many judgments to make when hiring someone that it’s easy to let assumptions and biases impact your final decision. The trouble is that, when you accept arguments like “this person just wouldn’t fit in here” or “I just don’t see that person succeeding,” you might be reinforcing misconceptions that keep new ideas out of your workplace.
Diversity is a major topic of discussion in the world right now, and it’s a great time to make it part of your recruitment process too. Make sure you can back up all of your decisions about candidates with objective information from their background. Look at where you’re recruiting and ask yourself if you’re getting the most diverse talent pool possible. You’ll get better candidates if you cast a wider net.
Your recruitment strategy isn’t broken. It just needs some tweaking. Try some of the ideas listed here and remember to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. In the end, it’s all about finding your “sweet spot” and getting results from your target candidate pool. For more recruiting content, check out this article on recruiting chatbots.
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