Kimberly Zhang May 17th, 2023

4 Common Recruitment Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Corporate leaders and hiring managers are being pressed to exhibit tremendous patience, creativity, and determination right now. As of May 2023, the U.S. labor market is experiencing a serious glut of job seekers. According to government statistics, there are more than four million positions than there are available workers. In other words, it’s still very difficult to get people to even apply for advertisements, let alone fill seats.

There are countless reasons for the labor shortage. The Great Resignation (or Migration, as some call it), has certainly affected recruitment efforts. When people know they’re needed, they’re less likely to accept the first job they’re offered. And though mass resignations are expected to drop by the end of 2023, they’re still happening. Another factor has been a change in the way professionals want to work. When Slack conducted a survey on virtual work arrangements, 94% of respondents said they wanted remote options. That’s a hard sell for some companies and in specific careers like healthcare and manufacturing.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re without choices if you have openings to fill. You just need to acknowledge your biggest recruitment challenges and then find ways to bypass them. To help you start, consider the following hiring conundrums and how to overcome them.

Challenge #1: You can’t find qualified applicants.

You post on all the same job boards that have worked like a charm before. But your results? Well, they’re not exactly what you want. You keep getting hits from candidates who don’t even have the basic skills or experience you need. That’s a problem, because you can’t wait forever to build out your dream team and start to scale.

The first strategy to take if you’re in this boat is to consider hiring people overseas. As long as the work can be done anywhere by the right person, you’re good to go global. The only potential snag is that you’ll want to plan ahead. Bringing aboard employees from other countries requires a knowledgeable partner’s legal and financial savvy. For example, Oyster offers automated global hiring management assistance for its customers. Join forces with a global employment platform like Oyster and you won’t have to worry about being compliant with foreign regulations and rules. You’ll just get to expand your talent pool while mitigating your risks. 

The second strategy is to try novel recruitment methods. You might want to search for potentially qualified people on LinkedIn and send them a “cold call” note. Or, you could try smaller, niche job sites like those aimed at minority worker groups. Even if you get just a few more hits than usual, you’ll be ahead of where you would have been.

Challenge #2: You lose tons of candidates throughout the interview process.

It’s happened again: You’ve found some amazing applicants who’ve submitted their resumes. As your hiring team looks over all the candidates’ information, you get pretty excited. Why wouldn’t you, when you have so many possibilities? Yet by the time you reach the one-on-one interview stage, most of those candidates have gone elsewhere. The result? You have to start the process over again — and you’ve lost lots of time.

If this challenge sounds far too familiar, you probably have to take a look at your hiring journey. Many corporations have made it very time-consuming to move applicants through the hiring process. They’re not trying to be difficult, of course. They want to make sure they don’t end up with a bad fit. Nevertheless, their hesitation winds up hurting them in the long run because candidates don’t want to wait. According to Indeed, the average after-interview response time from company to interviewee is 24 days. Even if you’re in that sweet spot, consider moving more quickly.

With so many jobs available, high performers will take the best offer they get. Even if you can only shave a few days or a week off your hiring, you could see instant improvement. Be sure not to scale back too much, but do consider where you can tighten everything.

Challenge #3: Applicants don’t have the skill sets you want.

You’ve been advertising some positions for weeks. You’re getting resumes, which is good. However, you’re not getting anyone with all the skill sets you want. Although you’ve made requirements clear in your advertisement, you’re not seeing those requirements reflected in applications. What gives?

The answer may not be one you want to hear, but it’s one you need to consider: Your bar may be too high. In other words, you’re trying to get a unicorn employee. Do unicorn employees exist? Perhaps in some universe, but your chances of seeing one may be lower than you presumed. Consequently, you’re better off looking for someone who can be trained on the skill sets you want.

Think of this as a switch to hiring based on a talent’s potential. You’re seeking someone not with all the qualifications intact but with the characteristics to learn. It’s not a matter of lowering your standards, though. You’ll need to set up a training plan for the person you hire. That’s okay and may actually make you a more appealing prospective employer. More than six out of 10 workers would trade their loyalty for the opportunity to upskill on their company’s dime.

Challenge #4: Diverse candidates just don’t seem to be interested in working at your company.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become an important part of the mission of many companies. Yet it’s hard to foster support for DEI initiatives if you’re not hiring people from historically underrepresented populations. If you’ve seen no uptick in the diversity of your candidates, you may need to make some changes.

Initially, look at your job description. Are you using biased language unintentionally? Your advertisements and postings could sound perfectly reasonable to you but be a “turnoff” to diverse candidates. Even using terms like “rockstar” or adding gendered language to your job postings could be having an adverse effect. Now may be the perfect time to review everything you’re posting to spot any unintentionally biased or coded phrasings.

Next, revamp your worker sourcing. Look for untapped candidate pools that focus on Black candidates, Latinx candidates, veterans, LGBTQ+ applicants, and job seekers from other diverse communities. You may even want to consider advertising on specific diverse platforms or to social media groups. Done well, this can boost your application numbers representing more diverse talent backgrounds and abilities.

Recruiting isn’t the easiest task in the world, that’s certain. However, it’s possible to refine your processes so you can fill positions more dependably and with great people.

Image by yanalya on Freepik

Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. She has a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.

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