The digital era has transformed recruitment. To solve the biggest challenges in recruitment, companies must adopt new ways of thinking, skills, and technologies.

In this comprehensive blog post ”10 Biggest Challenges in Recruitment and How to Solve Them”, you will get concrete ideas on how to enhance your recruitment process, provide better candidate experience, and make sure you catch your ideal candidates, even the ones that are not actively looking for a career switch or that might get lost in the process due to unconscious bias.

You can also download it as a visual guide that has even more information and examples.

10 biggest challenges in recruitment and how to solve them

1. How to Attract More Relevant Candidates and Avoid Irrelevant Applications

By investing in long-term employer branding, you can increase the quantity and even quality of your future candidates.

Dare to Drop the Curtain Between Candidates and Recruiters

Let’s face it. Even the best job ads are fairly plain. It’s simply not an adequate way to communicate the personality and values of your company. From the candidate’s side, it is like going on a blind date and only knowing the name and gender of the mystery person.

At the same time, companies are expecting a full commitment from day one. Sounds rather unbalanced, right? It is up to the hiring companies to provide enough information and stop playing hard to get. Otherwise, relevant applicants will remain an unrealistic dream instead of an actual goal.

A compelling employer branding strategy will not bring you results overnight but is a must-have effort in the long run. Creating buyer personas for your ideal candidates helps you analyze where to reach them and what kind of content will capture their interests. For some, it might be technical articles, whereas others might be more curious about cultural diversity, health insurance, or on-the-job training possibilities.

Sell the Process, Not Just the Job

Do you really want to ensure that no relevant application is missed? Forget about painful processes and try new ways to make applying fun!

For example, an AI-assisted chatbot, utilizing AI matching technology, lets a candidate upload their CVs on your website and receive automatic recommendations on suitable positions.

Communicate Your Employee Value Proposition

Describe when and how your candidates will be contacted after sending an application and what steps are waiting ahead. Here is an example of candidate-friendly communication.

Message 1:

“We will review all applications in seven days and then contact you via email. In the meantime, we would love for you to join our Talent Community. It provides interesting articles, our popular Reference Program, and the possibility to subscribe to similar job openings in the future.”

Message 2:

“If you are chosen for the second round, you will be asked to answer video questions presented by your future colleagues. You can participate from your phone or laptop. No further equipment or software is needed.”

Message 3: 

“The final stage is a face-to-face interview at our headquarters, after which the selection will be made.”

Message 4:

“At any point, you’re welcome to give us feedback or ask questions. Our goal is to finish all rounds in three weeks. We will keep you informed during the process. Thank you for considering us. We truly appreciate your time!”

Read more about attracting more relevant talent!

2. How to Make Every Job Candidate Your Greatest Fan and Not Your Enemy

Imagine yourself passionately falling in love without really knowing how the other person feels about you. You put yourself out there, pouring your heart out and desperately waiting for an answer. It never comes.

Too many times candidates are left in the dark. Disappointment, insecurities, and a lack of information add up and create a wave of aggression —and yes, it is going to hit your company.

Poor Candidate Experience has a Direct Impact on Your Revenue

Did you know that a poor candidate experience has a direct impact on your revenue? For example, Virgin Media discovered that 6% of job candidates canceled their Virgin subscription because of the interview process.

It may not sound like much, but it still ended up costing the company $5 million annually, not to mention the loss of revenue from the candidates’ families, friends, or social media followers. This truly means that candidate experience belongs among the biggest challenges in recruitment!

Challenges in recruitment: talent engagement

Treat Your Candidates as Leads

If companies treated their candidates with the same dedication as they do their customers, the candidate experience would be a finished discussion. However, that is not the case.

Here is what can be learned from inbound marketing and used in modern recruitment.

Never Take a Candidate for Granted

The deal is not closed until the papers are signed. Make sure you nurture your lead by motivating them with regular communication and providing them with enough information about why they should choose you.

Expect Your Candidates Holding Multiple Offers

This mindset helps you keep them in a tight loop and make sure they are not left in the dark at any stage. The best candidates move quickly, and so should you. Manage your recruitment time efficiently and automate processes to release time to connect with your lead.

Reward Your Candidates

Whatever business you are in, remember that your candidate could be your next customer if you just encouraged them a little. Try rewarding them with a voucher or a gift to say how much you appreciate their time and interest. It can be as simple as a postcard sent via traditional mail.

Handle Feedback Immediately

If you happen to get bad feedback, handle it immediately. Ignoring bad candidate experiences will cause it to accumulate because the spurned candidate is likely to shame your business all over social media.

Replace Grilling with Empathy: Give and Collect Feedback

Recruitment should be a two-way street. Aim to both give and collect feedback at every stage and show your humanity.

Giving feedback does not have to be time-consuming when you’re using the right tools. They’ll automatically transform your clicks into natural language.

Turning candidates into your greatest fans [instead of enemies], is definitely one of the biggest challenges in recruitment. Read more about it here!

3. How to Ensure No Relevant Candidate is Accidentally Overlooked

Even the most experienced recruiters have blind spots when it comes to objective candidate evaluation. We are all human. The first step is acknowledging the bias. The next is to take concrete actions towards ensuring more diversity and finding talent outside your standard process.

There are more relevant candidates out there than you might think. Rethink what relevant candidates might look like or where they could be found.

Tackle Unconscious Bias with AI and Collaborative Evaluation

So how can we diminish bias? Try using AI-based recruitment software that focuses on the preferred competencies instead of secondary factors. You choose the criteria, and the software automatically introduces the best candidates without involving human subjectivity.

The technology also helps you scout ideal candidates with incomplete CVs or applications. Based on your search keywords, the technology will suggest candidates that are likely to have relevant competencies even when they have failed to list them.

Treat Your Candidates as Leads

Turn the Tables with Social Recruiting

Social selling has transformed the recruitment game. Companies are no longer just sitting back and expecting the applications to flow in but actively reaching out and putting themselves out there.

There are more relevant candidates out there than you realize. You just need to rethink your determination and actively start multiplying your chances.

Here’s how to step up your game and become the king or queen of social recruiting.

Mastering Social Recruiting

Humanize the Talent Acquisition Game

Grow your network and engage in conversations. Join relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Candidates are looking to connect with people instead of companies.

Adapt and Learn

Learn what drives your ideal candidates, what competencies they have, and what they value in their work. The best recruiters learn to speak their candidates’ language and spot how they would like to be contacted.

Understand Your Goals

Don’t just track the number of applications but pay attention to traffic on your career page. Grow your Talent Community and make long-term profits.

Read more about ensuring no relevant candidate is overlooked!

4. How to Make Application Process Simpler for Candidates

Solving the biggest challenges in recruitment is often not quick and easy but making your application process simpler for candidates is a great way to start. Did you know that 69% of the job seekers believe the response time to candidates awaiting a recruiting decision can be improved the most. (Career Arc)

Making your job applicants’ lives easier before, during, and after the application process does not require large amounts of time, massive investments, or even black magic. However, it will make a world of difference. It all boils down to effortless user experience, consistent communication, and last but not least, a bit of a personal touch and feedback.

Keep it Brief and Simple

A long application form increases the risk of technical errors and may lead to the bane of every applicant’s existence: having to re-enter their details in the form after uploading their resumes.

Being able to complete and submit an application form on a single page on a single platform is a huge plus. Being forced to jump between platforms, portals, websites, or forms only leads to unnecessary clicking and confusion.

Communicate Early and Often

According to Fortune magazine, 96% of candidates will apply for jobs at a company they know will keep them informed during the application and interview process.

Make sure to communicate exactly what your hiring process looks like to your applicants: the length and content of each phase.

Wrap It Up with a Personal Touch

Giving personalized feedback on your candidates’ strengths and, more importantly, providing advice on how to improve is something your job applicants will definitely value.

Taking the time to give feedback will allow your candidates to resume their job search with boosted confidence and improved awareness of their skills and weaknesses.

Read more about making the application process simpler and solve one of the biggest challenges in recruitment!

5. How to Ensure that Hiring Managers Do Their Part of the Work With Motivation

“Oh, we just don’t have time for it.”

“It really is not my responsibility.”

Hiring managers are rarely professional recruiters and even if they realized the importance of great candidate communication, they are likely to lack time.

How do you write a polite feedback message? How do you explain to candidates how the process moves forward when there are tens or even hundreds of candidates? What should you do in the interviews and after them?

Here’s how to offer a helping hand and solve one the biggest challenges in recruitment.

Automate Communication with Candidates

The more manual work there is for hiring managers, the less likely they are to do it. Thus, making hiring managers write messages from scratch is not a great idea.

Write message templates for hiring managers that they can easily use in specific situations — for example, when the process is delayed. Moreover, create status updates that can be sent automatically or with just one click.

Simplify the User Experience with a Hiring Manager View

Make sure your ATS has an intuitive UI so that hiring managers will not be exhausted from using a complex system. They should have their own Hiring Manager view and, thus, be able to use only the features they need without unnecessary bells and whistles distracting them from the job.

A simple mobile user interface is a great add-on. With it, hiring managers can easily handle the most important recruitment tasks on their mobile devices while on the go. This option saves time and leads to a reduced application handling time.

Reward Great Candidate Feedback

Have you ever thought about rewarding hiring managers for getting great reviews from candidates? We have one customer who goes through candidate feedback with each hiring manager a few times a year.

They monitor the performance of each hiring manager and can see from the statistics how they are doing. With the help of feedback, they can reward great performances and discuss areas for improvement.

Challenges in recruitment_hiring managers

Give Clear Instructions for Job Interviews

In each job interview, you might want to explain certain things about your organization, such as the company story, and ask at least a few key questions. Add this information to your recruitment software, if possible, and create question lists for taking notes. These tools help hiring managers make their interviews systematic.

It is also vital to tell the managers what they should do after the interview. Are they expected to give feedback to the candidates themselves or write notes and let HR handle the feedback?

6. How to Make Recruitment More Efficient and Fill Positions Faster

The best candidates are off the market within 10 days.

Recruitment takes money and effort. At the same time, it is one of the most crucial parts of growing your business, so it should not be taken lightly. There are various benefits to making your recruitment process more efficient, and money is just one of them. It is also about improving the candidate experience and finding the right talent.

Did you know that it takes an average of 27 working days to acquire a new hire? That’s a long time for a candidate to wait for the decision. One study found that the best candidates are off the market within 10 days. If you don’t move fast enough, you will miss out.

Set Up a Structured Recruitment Process

  • Timeline: Determine when the process starts and ends and how long each step should take.
  • Responsibilities: Decide who takes care of which part of the process (e.g., the HR team publishes the job ad, hiring managers handle the interviews).
  • Patterns: For example, create job ad templates that include key information about your team, organization, and so on and clone them when you open new jobs. You can have more than just one template (e.g., one template for sales jobs and one for developers).

Automate Your Process with the Help of Modern

  • Candidate Communication: Send status updates automatically to inform candidates about how the process will move forward. Let AI help you write personalized feedback to candidates.
  • Sourcing: Use AI and modern HR tech to source candidates from internal or external talent pools on your behalf.
  •  Matching: Let AI matching algorithms automatically rate and highlight the most suitable candidates. Contact the top-rated candidates first.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: Internally and Externally

With modern recruitment software, recruiters can work with one another fluidly and send messages within the system. All communication is gathered into one place and can be accessed in real-time from anywhere. In the best-case scenario, recruiters and hiring managers can handle the most important recruitment tasks from their mobile devices.

Do not forget the communication with your candidates. It’s a crucial part of being effective.

Download this comprehensive blog post as a visual guide: Biggest Challenges in Recruitment and How to Solve Them!

7. How to Build Talent Communities that Really Work

A talent community is a vital part of strategic recruitment. When the time comes to recruit new talent, you should already have a ready-made pool of interested candidates you can select from.

You can start contacting them immediately instead of starting from scratch. You will save money, time, and energy. Above all, you are more likely to find people who match your needs.

What is a Talent Community

A talent community, or talent pool, consists of potential employees you could eventually hire. The database can be as specific as you like—you could group candidates by area of expertise, location, or availability.

You can add the candidates you did not hire but who showed potential and talent from career fairs and social media.

How to Grow your Talent Community

  • Attend fairs and encourage candidates to join the community on the spot by filling out their information on a laptop
  • Use paid ads and social media to attract talent to join the community
  • Ask for referrals from your existing community members and employees

Benefits of a Talent Community

  • Identify quality candidates for the future: By having a talent community, you can identify potential candidates before you even have a position open.
  • Reduce cost and time spent on hiring: Instead of spending lots of money on advertising your job opening, you can look for a potential job candidate directly from your talent community.
  • No wasted potential: Instead of saying goodbye to the rejected candidates, you can invite them to your talent community and continue the dialogue. You are no longer wasting their potential.
  • Engage your talents: Over 75% of professionals are passive candidates. When those candidates belong to your community, you can spend time developing a good relationship with them.

Read more about building talent communities!

8. How to Gather and Manage Employee Referrals

”Engagement has to be human, because people trust people more than brands.” Ana Alonso,  Global Marketing Head Recruitment, Shell

Why Should I Gather Referrals?

Employee referrals are a great way to find qualified candidates fast. Your employees wouldn’t refer to someone who doesn’t know anything about the field or someone who wouldn’t do their job well. The referring employee’s reputation is also on the line if they refer to someone really bad.

Thanks to referrals, you will be able to recruit quickly and cost-effectively because you will save the trouble of creating a position, publishing, and promoting it, and screening candidates.

How Can I Gather and Manage Referrals?

If your ATS (application tracking system) supports building talent pools, then you are in luck. All it takes from you is figuring out what kind of talent pools you want to build and then generate and share an invitation link to gather referrals in those pools. You can have separate pools for salespersons, marketing professionals, and software developers, for example.

As the referrals start to come in, you can first confirm them as qualified and see who gave the referral. Then you can contact the talent and invite them to an active recruitment process or continue the dialogue via email. If your company encourages referrals with referral bonuses, then it is easy to keep track of that, as well.

Download this comprehensive blog post as a visual guide: Biggest Challenges in Recruitment and How to Solve Them!

Challenges in recruitment_analytics

9. How to Track Recruitment Data and Improve Your Processes in a Data-Driven Way

Analyzing recruitment data can help organizations recruit smarter, more efficiently, and with better precision. Every organization must evaluate their relevant KPIs, but the most important thing is to start gathering data.

By monitoring the candidate experience in real-time, you can quickly make changes to your recruitment process. It is beneficial to know what your candidates actually think about your process. Perhaps your recruitment process takes too long, you do not communicate enough during the process, or your candidates would love to get more feedback about why they were not selected.

By collecting feedback, you will know how they feel and what you can improve.

What to Measure? Start with the Basics

if you have a good ATS, you can probably pull most of the data directly from your system and then stitch it together to find your relevant KPIs to steer the group. If not, now is the right time to change to a more modern ATS that supports the most important recruitment metrics.

  • Number of recruitments (=positions)
  • Number of filled positions
  • Candidate volume
  • Time to hire
  • Cost of hire
  • Ratio of new hires to replacements

Move from Quantity to Quality

Are you ready to find out your success ratio on a deeper level? Some of the more soft but sophisticated KPIs that organizations are following in 2020 are:

  • Candidate experience
  • Application completion rate
  • Quality of candidates or number of relevant candidates
  • Source of hire
  • Withdrawal rate and reason
  • Diversity among candidates and hires
  • Hiring manager experience

10. How to Keep the Hired Candidates Warm Before Their First Day at Work

Hiring new employees takes money and effort. When you finally close the deal, you probably heave a sigh of relief. “Yes, it’s done!”

You may feel like your job is now complete, but do not stop there.

The time after the new hire signs the contract is critical. The Brandon Hall Group’s study affirms that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new-hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

How Can HR Tech Help You in Pre-onboarding?

It is possible to gather the pre-onboarding materials in a digital format in your DropBox or Google Drive. However, the most efficient way is to use software dedicated to the task.

In one study, 44% of HR managers said that their biggest onboarding challenge was inconsistent use within the company. Thus, pre-onboarding software can help you make the processes more systematic.

TalentAdore’s pre-onboarding module kickstarts new-hire pre-onboarding before the first day at work. You can create a pre-onboarding track for new employees and share material in small, bite-sized chunks.

  1. Create online handbooks
  2. Share with new employees in bite-sized chunks
  3. Follow the progress and reach out for help

Read more about pre-onboarding!


Want to download this information package: ’10 Biggest Challenges in Recruitment’ as a comprehensive guide so you can take a look at it later?

10 biggest challenges in recruitment and how to solve them