Biggest Recruitment Problems Faced by Recruiters (and Solutions)

Recruiting is not an easy profession. Just ask any recruiter. They’ll tell you. It’s wrought with challenges and plenty of problems. Now, of course, those problems can and do change. The way in which they change depends largely upon the state of the economy and the employment marketplace.

For instance, the problems faced by recruiters in a good economy are going to be different than the problems faced by recruiters in a bad economy. That only makes sense. So where are we right now?

Well, I think everybody would agree that as of the writing of this blog post, we’re in a good economy. The National Unemployment Rate is historically low. Employers all across the country are willing to hire. (In some cases, they’re eager to hire.)

So what are the biggest recruitment problems right now? What are the problems faced by recruiters in this current economic environment? These are good questions. We’re going to provide good answers, and we’re going to do so with the help of the Top Echelon 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report.

To create this report, we recently conducted a survey of more than 20,000 recruitment professionals in the United States and Canada. We designed this survey to gauge the professionals’ opinions regarding a wide range of recruiting and hiring topics.

And of course, one of these topics involved recruitment problems.

Candidate recruitment and selection problems

Recruiters deal mainly with two groups of people: candidates and clients (and potential clients). In fact, you could say they deal with candidates and employers. So when it comes to recruitment problems, those problems occur with people in these two groups. Let’s start with candidates recruitment and selection problems faced by recruiters, shall we?

We asked the following question in our State of the Recruitment Industry survey:

What was your biggest problem with candidates in 2018?

Far and away, the most popular answer among recruiters was “Not able to find enough.” That answer garnered almost half of the vote (47.1%). In second place was “Ghosting” at 17.8%. “Ghosting,” of course, is when a candidate fails to show up for something during the hiring process. It could be a phone screen, a face-to-face interview, or their first day of work. They can even “ghost” on the offer of employment. The options, apparently, are nearly endless.

Below are the next three responses to this survey question:

  • Relocation (9.3%)
  • Counter-offers (9.0%)
  • Fall-offs (8.3%)

As part of our survey, we also permitted search consultants to comment about their candidate recruitment and selection problems. Thankfully, they obliged! Below are the comments of two such obliging recruiters.

“After receiving verbal offers, [candidates] ‘ghost’ us to contact other recruiters and communicate their offers to see if others could top us. Sometimes, they would never get back to us. Very unprofessional. We often make notations so if they come back to us in the future, we know how they treat the partnership.”

“Not being able to even engage in a conversation with the potential candidate; they just don’t respond to email, text, or phone calls. We have to make three to four times the number of calls to get just one candidate for a search, compared with what we did three or four years ago.”

Client problems in the recruitment and selection process

Okay, now to the other side of the coin. What client problems in the recruitment and selection process do recruiters face? What are the biggest ones, in any case? With a those questions in mind, we asked the following question in our State of the Recruitment Industry survey:

What was your biggest problem with clients in 2018?

There was a close race for the most popular answer to this questions. That’s because “Lack of timely feedback” was the top answer with 37.6% of the vote. “Taking too long to extend an offer” was in second place at 36.8%. So what’s going on here?

What’s going on is that employers and hiring managers do not have a firm grasp of current market conditions. If they did, then they wouldn’t be negligent in their feedback or taking too long to extend an offer to their top choice. Both of these problems point to a larger, overarching problem: clients are “dragging their feet” during the hiring process and making it longer than it has to be. Actually, they’re making it longer than it should be. The result? They’re losing candidates, especially top candidates, who are essentially “check out” of the process.

So this leads to a chain reaction of unfortunate events. Client drags out the hiring process. Top candidate drops out of said process. Client is not able to hire top candidate. Recruiter is not able to make placement. Client does not pay recruiter. Recruiter is eventually broke and starves to death. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme . . . or maybe not.

Regardless, below are the next four responses to this survey question:

  • Getting job orders (13.6%)
  • Some other problem (8.3%)
  • Taking too long to pay an invoice (2.5%)
  • Not offering a relocation package (1.2%)

Once again, as part of our survey, we also permitted search consultants to comment about their client problems in the recruitment and selectin process. And once again, they were extremely generous with their thoughts and feelings.

“While it is a candidate’s market, clients still think it’s 2008. Some are slowly coming around to the fact that candidates are getting multiple offers, but most in my niche seem stuck on lowball salaries and no sense of urgency.”

“Third-party vendor management companies trying to act as a firewall between hiring managers and us. They don’t want us having a conversation with each other. It is crazy and it doesn’t work.”

Problems encountered in the recruitment process . . . and solutions

As you can see, there are various problems associated with recruitment and selection. It doesn’t matter the state of the economy or the marketplace; there will be problems. The only unknown is what kind of problems. Our State of the Industry Report addresses that unknown. While there are multiple problems faced by recruiters in this current economy and current market, some are problems are more prominent (and more pressing) than others.

So what can we say is the #1 in terms of candidate problems faced by recruiters? That would be the inability to find enough quality ones or enough qualified ones in the marketplace.

Then, what can we say is #1 in terms of client problems faced by recruiters? That would be clients’ tendency to drag out the hiring process and not move quickly enough during it to successfully hire top candidates.

So . . . we’ve identified the biggest problems associated with recruitment and selection. What about solutions to those problems? Ask and ye shall receive . . .

Recruitment solutions for the #1 candidate problem

Okay, we’re a little biased here at Top Echelon, so you’ll have to excuse us. When it comes to sourcing hard-to-find candidates, we 100% endorse membership in a split fee recruiting network. Sure, you have to split the fee, but as we’re fond of saying, “Half a loaf is better than no loaf.” Or to put it in recruiter terms, “Half a placement fee is better than no placement fee.”

But wait: there’s more. Top Echelon also offers recruitment and selection training courses as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series of free webinars. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library. And as you’ve probably already guessed, we have a number of training videos about sourcing hard-to-find candidates. Renowned souring guru Shally Steckerl has conducted the majority of these sessions. They include the following (click the title to access each video):

Recruitment solutions for the #1 client problem

Client education for recruiters is difficult, especially in this challenging market. Hiring managers and decision makers just don’t act with a sense of urgency. Or with enough of a sense of urgency. What’s the solution? How can you speed up the hiring process so that your client doesn’t miss out on great candidates? (And you don’t miss out on a great placement check?)

I’m pleased to announce that we’ve written a blog post that specifically addresses these questions. That blog post is titled “5 Ways to Speed Up the Recruiting Process.” What are those ways?

  1. Determine if filling the position is a priority.
  2. Identify the true decision maker.
  3. Educate the client about current market conditions.
  4. Secure a commitment.
  5. Set other expectations.

While it might seem at times to be a Herculean task, if you can succeed in properly educating your clients about current market conditions, the placements might start to flow like honey. It is easy? No, of course not. But would it be worth it? Let’s put it this way. If a recruiter was granted three wishes, they might spend one of them on “I wish all of my clients kept top candidates engaged in a streamlined hiring process that lasted no more than three weeks.” Then they’d still have two more wishes.

Problem solving in recruitment: download the report!

Search consultants’ biggest recruitment problems are just one part of Top Echelon’s 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report. This special report contains much more, including the following:

  • How recruiters are marketing their services
  • The best methods for advertising jobs on the Internet
  • The top complaints clients have about candidates
  • Recruiters’ top priorities for the coming year
  • Where to advertise your jobs to reach the most candidates
  • What recruiters think about the future of the profession

Download the 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report!

And don’t forget, Top Echelon also offers one of the most affordable recruitment software packages on the market. The price is just $59.50 per user per month under the annual plan. Click here for a FREE 15-day trial of the software.

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