If you’re feeling the heat of recruitment challenges, you’re not alone. 90% of businesses that are currently hiring are struggling to recruit qualified candidates. While there is no “one size fits all” solution for every business out there, we’re here to help with some tricks that are bound to beat your hiring blues.
To help, we’ve unlocked the answers to all your hiring questions, like:
- What are the biggest recruiting challenges?
- Why is it so hard to hire right now?
- How do you overcome recruitment challenges?
With this post, you’ll be able to overcome any obstacle thrown your way so that you can hire top talent when it’s most needed.
6 recruiting challenges (and how to overcome them)
Tackle your top small business challenges when it comes to recruitment with these ideas:
1. Finding quality candidates
It’s no secret that it’s getting harder and harder to find the right candidates for open jobs. In fact, it’s been proven that the demand for workers is outpacing the supply in 2022. Moreover, the U.S. unemployment rate is at 3.7%, which means the US is close to “full employment.” With that in mind, you know your business needs to not only catch the eye of your ideal candidate but also persuade them to pursue a new opportunity.
How to address this challenge:
- Research your target market thoroughly. If you understand your target market of potential candidates, you’ll be able to tailor your messaging to best resonate with them. For example, if you know that your role is most likely fit for more senior personnel, you can also probably assume that they might be parents or have other life events going on that would make work-life balance a priority for them. You could then be sure to capitalize on your work-life balance benefits in your ads or job posting to catch the eye of these candidates.
- Implement a cross-channel approach. Like with anything in digital marketing, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Similar to mapping out your buyer’s journey or creating a sales funnel, it’s important to understand your average candidate’s journey as they engage with your job posting. A cross-channel marketing approach to promoting your open opportunities ensures you’re capturing your ideal audience at every possible touchpoint.
- Be clear in your call to action. It’d be pretty tricky for a candidate to apply for your role if they aren’t sure how or why they should do it. Use a powerful call-to-action phrase in your hiring promotions to clearly convey what you’re hoping your potential candidates to achieve. Plus, be sure your website is optimized to make it easy for interested job seekers to quickly apply. Free tools, like our free website grader, can act as a helpful starting point for this.
This employer’s landing page clearly conveys the “why” and “how” for potential applicants. It uses compelling language and makes starting an application easy with just a click of a button.
2. Increasing awareness of your employer brand
In order to hire great employees, they need to know your business exists and want to work with you. Building an employer branding strategy can help with this. Strong employer brand awareness makes your life easier as a hiring manager as it brings applicants to you, rather than having to hunt for candidates.
40% of businesses are already investing in their employer branding to alleviate their recruitment challenges in the long term, and a successful employer brand cuts your cost per hire in half. Clearly, building out your employer branding strategy is worth it, but the challenge lies in how, exactly, to go about that.
Here are a few ways to solve this recruiting challenge and build your employer brand like a pro:
- Benchmark your current awareness status. The best way to know if your employer brand awareness is growing is to note where you’re currently at. That way, you can identify any employer branding gaps to focus on first. Start with a set of key performance indicators or marketing metrics that you can use to measure success in the short and long-term to hold yourself accountable when working to build your employer brand. This might include looking at the average number of impressions on job postings, taking note of the number of employee testimonials you have across review sites, and taking inventory of employer brand marketing materials you’re currently implementing, like social media post content and more.
- Be active on social media. Social media marketing is a vital tool for showcasing your employer brand to large audiences. What’s even better is your current employees could back up your efforts by “liking” and “resharing” any positive employer brand posts.
- Encourage employee testimonials. 86% of people use sites like Glassdoor or Trustpilot to know if a business is worth applying to. Encourage employees to leave feedback whenever they exit the company or switch roles. Of course, you’ll want to be sure to foster a positive culture to increase your chances of a raving review. If possible, try to respond to every review you get on these sites, whether good or bad, to show viewers you truly care about the employee experience and your business’s employer brand reputation. As a bonus, you can share out any positive feedback you get on your website or social accounts.
An example of how to respond to an employee review.
3. Increased competition for qualified candidates
While competition can be good for business from a marketing perspective, it can be a whole other beast as a recruiting challenge. Research proves it’s getting more and more competitive to hire people. In fact, you may be faced with competition from both your candidate’s current employer as well as other businesses looking to hire just like you.
To make your job posting stand out, try overcoming competitive recruiting challenges with these ideas:
- Create a unique employer value proposition (EVP). Think about what makes your job opportunity different from others out there. Are there any key differentiators that are employee-centric, like cultivating diversity, or promoting educational growth? Whatever it may be, be sure to consistently mention your EVP throughout your content on your website, job postings, and other materials.
- Focus on employee benefits. You may need to sacrifice some resources to add or grow your benefit offerings. Check out the job posts from competitors in your industry to see if there are any benefits you don’t currently offer that you could add.
- Incentivize employee referrals. An employee referral program is a great way to get around competition altogether as people will be more likely to want to work for a business that’s recommended by someone they trust. Try offering a gift card or other small monetary incentives for employees who refer potential candidates.
An example of a unique EVP shining through on a business’s career site.
4. Hiring for open positions quickly
When you’re hiring a new employee, it’s usually a need, not a want. Meaning, you’re looking to fill the role fast. This means you’ll want to streamline your hiring process. With that comes assessing candidates efficiently and objectively—which can be easier said than done.
How to address this hiring challenge:
- Stick with an easy-to-follow standard process. Following a set recruitment protocol will help you to stay consistent and provide proof that you’re holding yourself accountable to a fair (and quick) process. If you keep your process consistent, you’ll be able to complete it faster, rather than guessing what’s next.
- Swap extra interviews with online assessments. Instead of having to schedule a ton of interviews or a long presentation, you can have candidates complete online tests while you work to move other prospects through the process. There are plenty of unbiased assessment resources your business can leverage online to save time and headaches on fair testing. However, just be careful not to require too many assessments to avoid scaring away potential candidates. That way, you can encourage more applicants and save time.
- Get clear on the job requirements. Have your candidates save you time by vetting themselves via your job description before they apply. It’s important to outline the qualifications candidates need to have, versus others that are nice to have, so that you don’t waste time interviewing anyone who isn’t qualified.
5. Finding the time to fill open positions
As a busy business owner, hiring manager, or recruiter, your schedule is likely jam-packed. Trying to squeeze in time to not only curate and distribute promotional content, but also qualify, interview, and hire candidates can feel overwhelming.
Here’s how to overcome this recruiting challenge:
- Build a talent pool. If you have a running list of individuals interested in your company with a strong work ethic, sourcing new candidates won’t always be necessary. Plenty of candidates have the cross-functional experience that could make them ideal for many different roles. Any time someone connects with you through your application process, be sure to foster a networking relationship with them so that you can always reach back out when you’re hit with hiring needs.
- Outsource your most time-consuming tasks. Leverage a marketing partner to help you manage your recruitment marketing campaigns so that you can focus on hiring the right people.
- Streamline communication. Save time in your recruitment process by being as clear as possible with employees and candidates with regular touchpoints. It can be tricky to stay on top of all your potential check-ins, so leverage automated email solutions to help you keep your communication consistent. That way, you can schedule more meetings or debrief with candidates and other employees involved sooner rather than later.
This medical center saw 2,000 more views on their open roles when they leveraged a marketing partner to help manage their job board postings.
6. Optimizing the candidate experience
You’ve worked so hard to get candidates in the door, you don’t want to lose them due to a rocky hiring experience. Businesses, unfortunately, fall victim to this recruitment challenge more often than you might think, as 65% of candidates say a bad interview experience can turn them off from a job they’re applying for.
While it can be easy to let the candidate slip through the cracks during hiring frenzies, you’ll want to ensure that your candidates truly enjoy each step of your recruitment process.
How to address this challenge:
- Map out the experience you want to offer. It might feel silly at first, but picturing how you want your candidates to feel throughout each step of your hiring process can help you to identify ways you can optimize their experience. This might vary from small tweaks, like offering free refreshments at interviews to make them feel welcome, to high-level organizational changes like cutting down on the number of interviews or presentations you require to be more mindful of your candidates’ time.
- Personalize all your communication. Don’t make your candidates feel like they’re just another fish in the hiring sea. When you communicate over email with your candidates, be sure to include their first name and try to highlight something you appreciate about them. Additionally, you might take the extra time to provide them with tips and feedback along the way to ensure you both find success.
- Set expectations beforehand. The worst part of being on the job market? The unknown. Don’t leave your candidates guessing as to what’s next. Ease their nerves by covering every possible detail regarding your process from start to finish beforehand. For example, you might outline to candidates how many interviews they’ll have to have, who they’ll be meeting with and their role, what materials they should come prepared with, what the dress code expectations are, and more to make sure your process is completely clear.
This example of candidate communication is clear and personalized.
More tips to beat recruiting and hiring challenges
Want even more ideas on how to turn your recruiting challenges into easy wins? Wherever you are in your recruitment journey, these last few tips are sure to solve any hiring challenges thrown your way:
Keep measurable goals in mind
When you feel pressed to fill an open role, your goal feels obvious: hire someone to fill it. However, to find lasting success and overcome your recruitment challenges you’ll need goals to help optimize your process over time.
For example, connect your recruitment goals back to your business’s overall objectives to understand how the employees you hire are contributing to the bottom line. This can unlock insights into the quality of candidates you’re bringing in and identify any key areas to improve on. Plus, if you’re looking to make hiring easier and easier, you’ll likely want to increase your job postings’ impressions, clicks, and more over time to grow a reliable flow of potential candidates. Having goals for those key job posting metrics helps you to do just that.
To start, try implementing SMART goals each time you set out to find candidates for a job. Since SMART goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, this exercise can help hold you accountable for meeting your “big picture” hiring objectives.
Don’t forget about the top talent you already have
What’s easier than hiring new talent? Retaining the employees you already have! It can be easy to forget to show appreciation for your current employees while you’re in a hiring rush. Avoid this by constantly working to improve your employer branding and establishing trust with your current staff.
It can come down to little things, like setting up a calendar reminder to highlight one great contribution an employee made per week, and so on.
Always try to think a step ahead
Anticipating the wants and needs of your candidates can save you headaches down the line, so try to always be one step ahead of your candidates.
For example, have a plan in place that you can clearly communicate to interviewees should their ideal role be filled by another candidate. Or anticipate some perks candidates might be looking for and mention the options you offer in your initial interviews.
If your candidates are asking a lot of questions regarding your benefits or the interview process, that’s a sign you need to be thinking further ahead in your candidate communication.
You should be thinking ahead in terms of your internal needs as well. For example, if you know a certain type of role within your business has a high rate of employee turnover, you might start networking year-round to build your talent pool as a backup plan should you end up in a recruitment pinch.
Being an active sponsor or mentor to a networking group like this could help you fill entry-level roles faster while also getting a better understanding of your ideal candidates’ preferences and interests.
Watch your top recruiting and hiring challenges disappear
When you anticipate your top recruiting challenges and brainstorm solutions, you’ll be able to overcome them like a pro. Keep this post handy as a battle card next time your recruiting process throws a curveball at you. Plus, if you ever still feel like your hiring challenges are too much to handle, know that our experts have got your back and are here to help!