One can say that the greatest challenge for recruiters is staying human in an era of lightning-fast technology.
If until a few years back we could still hope to build relationships with candidates and client organizations, and act as that educated advisor (at best) for both candidates and clients, today things are changing fast. Speed has taken the steering wheel of recruiting over careful consideration of all factors that can make a professional success in the job and organization they are considering and vice versa.
Dehumanizing the whole process leads to superficial hiring and disaster (whether organizations like to admit it or not) just months after the hiring decision has been made. The later can take many forms but here are just a few: the disappointment when new hires understand that everyone involved in the process made a rushed decision, the lack of engagement and creativity pursuant to that reality check, and finally, a decision to start looking for another employer from that point on or in other cases just staying complacent (pick your own worst-case scenario!).
On the one hand, as recruiting specialists, we need to educate our clients about the risks of moving too fast (i.e. just bodies in placeholders), and on the other, consult candidates so that they are equipped to make a sound decision (i.e. right career move).
So, let’s go through some challenges of the recruiting process.
Every Recruiting Journey Starts with the First Step: Effective Sourcing
First of all, let’s look at the recruitment screening process. According to talentnow.com, 52% of talent acquisition leaders say the hardest part of recruitment is screening candidates from a large applicant pool.
Of course, there are best practices for sourcing. These include working with a high-performance sourcing team that finds and qualifies new candidates. But recruiters need to build a pipeline for assessing the talent pool. They have to have a strategy in place and if that strategy is not properly implemented it is easy to waste time. Imagine if the job requirements are not properly analyzed or the candidate persona isn’t correctly defined. The search may go in a different direction than what is needed. Moreover, if the recruiters don’t know the tricks of the trade, the ATS (applicant tracking system) will be a lost gold mine.
For instance, not many sourcing analysts know they should start every search with the previously interested candidates who applied in the past thus using their existing database before going out in the digital world to start their search.
Following this line of thought, attracting the identified and desired candidates is not just another hurdle recruiters nowadays face. According to various recruitment statistics, attracting top-quality candidates is the biggest challenge of recruiters, period. It is one thing that 82% of Fortune 500 executives don’t believe that their companies recruit highly talented people. When becoming aware that 54% of employers currently have positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates, it’s clear that recruitment is no kids’ play. Still, in the world of high-quality recruitment services, the failure to attract talented candidates is not an option. The solution lies in making the candidate’s journey about them, and then in the recruitment processes that are constantly revised and renewed and therefore adapting and evolving.
Keep the Candidates’ Interest in Mind
Another challenge is keeping the balance between how aggressively you present the opportunity to potential candidate’s and what they want for their career. The key term is “potential”. When we talk to candidates we don’t want to assume they’re (by default) interested. Rather, start your discussion with a candidate by asking if it’s the right time to make a career change. We need to care about his/her plans since that determines if it makes any sense to even talk about a job opening. Fellow recruiters would you like it if somebody reached out to you and started telling you about an opportunity without any considering for YOUR plans? We are working with living and breathing human beings and if we don’t care we don’t have any place in this line of business.
The Interview is also the Candidate’s Interview for Your Company
What comes after candidates engage with recruiters? An interview. Another challenge recruiters face is the hurdle of developing an interview structure that’s interesting enough for candidates who applied for that role. The recruitment process must be a professional and positive experience for your prospective candidate. If you are a recruitment firm, the recruitment process must be highly attractive to your client as well. The point is that regardless of the industry you are navigating through, the job market you are sailing or the candidates pool you are choosing from, your recruitment process must be top-notch and offer a convincing experience for your clients and for your prospective hires. When the recruiters have sourced candidates and then interviewed the interested ones, the recruitment project managers make sure of two important things. First, they build an interview that highlights technical and behavioral skills that are needed to meet the job requirements. Second, they conduct the interview professionally. The first one is to please the client and the second one is to motivate the candidate. Either way, quality is key. Interviews are the perfect opportunity to show candidates what they can expect from your organization down the line.
The interview leads to the next difficulty, which is maintaining the candidates interested while the hiring manager interviews and chooses the one that best fits the opening. Although you want to recruit a candidate as soon as possible, you don’t want to compromise, and only want to hire the best talent possible, and that usually takes time. This means that when someone is selected for an interview with the hiring manager, he or she must wait for weeks until other candidates are interviewed as well. During this time, the recruitment project manager makes sure to stay in touch with all of the viable candidates to build rapport with them, keep them interested and engaged.
Problem: “Ghosting” is a phenomenon in which job candidates schedule an interview but fail to show up, or they get hired but don’t report to work – without so much as a phone call. It may be hard to rationalize such bad behavior, but human resource professionals say it could be candidates’ way of paying employers back for their indifference during the recession. Jobs were so scarce that companies often received hundreds of applications for a single job, but many failed to acknowledge the time candidates took to apply.
Candidates who are not a fit for the role will still want to hear back from you about where they stand. Don’t ignore them. They need to be handled with care because although they were not selected, they are candidates who could be a great hire for future openings. Recruiters need not be biased by their lack of time and get back to the candidates making sure they are appreciated not only for their qualifications and experiences but also for the time they invested in the recruitment process.
In conclusion, when recruiters face challenges it not only affects them but the entire recruiting process, and thus their clients and candidates. But when challenges are identified they can be transformed into learning and development opportunities. At SourceMatch, recruiters are in a constant process of improving themselves as they strive for the best outcomes. Feel free to check it out here.