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Typical HR news headlines read “Businesses Rethink Recruiting Amid Hiring Struggle,” “Organizations Struggle to Hire as Job Openings Soar,” “Staffing Shortages Threaten Services to Vulnerable Populations.” Sound familiar? All these articles call out the need to adapt our hiring processes, but many of the struggles your recruiters and talent acquisition team face are nothing new and have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Recruiters, we’ve walked in your shoes and feel your pain! In this blog we’ll identify the biggest challenges you face and offer insights into how HR leaders can work to eliminate those roadblocks and start winning the war for talent.

Your Recruiting Process is Inefficient

Let’s examine your existing recruiting process. Is it paper-based or are you leveraging technology? If you’re leveraging an applicant tracking system (ATS), do you have Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) capabilities? What about your hiring practices? Are you still requesting every applicant take the same old assessment you’ve been giving since the beginning of time? Are you requiring candidates provide several references? If you identified with any of these questions, we have some suggestions on how to revise your recruiting process to create a better candidate experience.

Paper-Based Requisition and Application Processes / Antiquated ATS

If you fall into this category your recruiters are facing a huge challenge to attract qualified candidates, much less get them to the offer stage. A lack of technology makes is near impossible for recruiters to work efficiently. Having to manually track requisitions, approvals, and even any required metrics takes more time than recruiting for job openings. If automation is not possible at this point, review your current process - are there steps that can be removed? You may not be able to fully automate but you can find ways to remove wasteful tasks or processes that can streamline the process and shorten the time to hire.

If you are leveraging an ATS, does it offer CRM capabilities? If so, enable those features! If not, you should still be leveraging your ATS to keep your existing candidate pool warm and updated of potential openings you aren’t starting from scratch every time.

Assessment Overload

Don't get us wrong, assessments have their place and are a necessary tool for many positions. In this case, we are talking about those assessments that have been given to candidates before they are hired, and no one knows why they are still being used and what value they provide. From personal experience, we have been on the receiving end of one of those assessments (which equated to a mini-SAT exam) and it gave real concern about what the job may actually entail. Even after joining the organization no one knew why that assessment was required. The takeaway here is just because it’s always been done doesn’t mean it’s a best practice, and it can be a turn-off to quality candidates. Take the time research other tools that may be more helpful in evaluating a candidate’s qualifications if an assessment is necessary and when it should be required.

Outdated Reference Processes

Being certain about making a good hire is something we all strive for, but at what cost? Sure, it may seem like everyone can provide a reference or two, but when we up the ante and require references to be prior direct supervisors, for example, things can get more difficult. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes, as people change jobs, contact info changes, and references become stale. Do you personally maintain all your relationships from previous employers? If the answer is no, it’s likely that your candidates are in the same boat.

Not only does it cause heartburn for your candidate, but it will also ultimately delay your time to fill or time to start when you consider how long it takes for references to return your call or email (if they bother responding at all – remember, they have day jobs too). The clock is ticking! Let’s face it, the chances of someone who was listed as a reference providing a bad reference is slim. Your candidate listed them for a reason, so what information will you gain and is it worth the wait?

We aren’t telling you to throw these practices out the window, we’re simply bringing attention to things you may be doing that provide little to no value and encouraging you to review them to determine if they are still relevant to your hiring processes today.

You Have an Exhaustive Interview Process

Picture this, you are a candidate who has been invited to interview with the hiring manager for an exciting new opportunity. You finish the interview, and the manager tells you someone will be in touch to schedule a second interview (woohoo!) That’s not out of the ordinary, so you have the second interview. And then a third…. and a fourth interview (what?!)

In a market as competitive as we have today, many candidates do not have the tolerance level for these practices, especially when they can easily join another organization with more streamlined processes. Aside from deterring your candidate, this practice can speak volumes about your company culture. If it takes four interviews to hire a new employee, how long does it take to get other approvals? Is this an organization that requires multiple approvals for everything? Does it take twice as long to get things done as it should? Will my colleagues value my time? The last thing we want to do is send candidates red flags and give them reason to pause. The interview experience tells a candidate just as much about the employer as it does the other way around. Be sure your interview process is one that draws the candidate in instead of scares them away. You’re already fighting an uphill battle – don’t overcomplicate it!

Your Salary Ranges and Benefits Packages Are Not Market Competitive

Salary ranges and benefits packages are often a roadblock for recruiters in securing the best candidate for a particular role, especially if the competition is offering a better package. How often are you reviewing your salary ranges and benefits to ensure they are market-competitive? Are you in tune with what your industry and direct competition is offering? Competitive salary and benefits packages are table stakes when it comes to high-volume, hard to fill positions.

Given today’s landscape, nursing is a prime example. Let’s say you are looking to hire an experienced nurse for your hospital. Finding one may be a challenge but once you’ve gained interest, how do you close them? It’s likely that if they are looking for a new opportunity, they’re considering other opportunities as well. What sets you apart from your competition?

We’ll assume your salary ranges are in line with your competitors (no more/no less). Are you in-tune with what candidates want today and what benefit offerings are important? If you have a high volume of offer declinations based on benefits or salary (or if you don’t know the answer to this question), it may be time to look at your compensation and total rewards packages. To attract and retain talent you need to be aligned with what’s important to your candidates, as we know that can change based on many external factors - a pandemic perhaps? A best practice is to review your jobs on a regular basis, look at the market, and find out directly from your employees what’s important to them. You may be surprised by their answers!

Your Hiring Managers Need Some Coaching

As a hiring manager, the additional task of hiring a new employee on top of everything else they are responsible for can be a balancing act. We can empathize with being pulled in various directions, but if there is an opening your organization is trying to fill, it’s important that the hiring manager prioritize the candidates as much as your talent acquisition team does. Poor hiring practices can lead to loss of the best candidates! Here are ways to tell if your hiring managers need coaching:

Their Feedback Isn’t Timely or Non-Existent

This is one of the worst things any hiring manager can do, and one of the easiest ways to prevent losing a good candidate. Coach your hiring managers to review new candidates daily. Have them work it into their day. If they are interested in a candidate, tell them to act vs. waiting to see if someone better comes along – it’ll help move the process along and they can cross that off their list! If they are not interested in a candidate, ask them to provide feedback on why they may not be a good fit for the role. Again, a little time now will save time in the long run.

They're Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Perfect candidates are like unicorns – few and far between. Coach your hiring managers to carefully review qualifications when evaluating potential team members. What skills/characteristics does a candidate possess that cannot be taught? What can be learned with a little hands-on experience? It’s much easier to teach someone how to master a specific process than it is to teach them how to treat your customers. Coach them to be realistic and keep the result in mind. Would it be better to wait six or eight months for the perfect candidate (that may never come) or hire a quality applicant who can be taught the things they don’t know? In those six to eight months spent waiting, they could have made a solid hire and their team could be fully operational.

They Don't Know What They Want

Though the exact opposite of what previously mentioned, hiring managers who don’t have a good grasp of what they want can be just as much of a roadblock as having unrealistic expectations. If they aren't able to define what is needed for the role, you could advise them to hold off on posting the opening. They won’t be doing themselves or potential applicants any favors by posting a job only to be uncertain of what it will take to be successful in this role.

If you need to coach on where to start, review the formal job description, if you have one, and stick to the minimum qualifications as it will broaden your applicant pool. Keep it simple and document what is needed to do the job and don't include anything that isn't absolutely necessary. For example, if you don't need 20 years of experience, don’t put it in your job description as it might deter applicants from responding to the post.

Winning the War for Talent

When trying to win the war for talent, there are often factors we cannot control, which is why it is more important than ever to take an honest and open-minded look at your processes and behaviors. Manage what is in your control and ask yourself how you can have a positive impact on potential candidates. Update old practices, ensure you’re offering a competitive compensation package for the specific roles you’re looking to fill, and be an active participant in the recruitment process is an excellent start to winning over your candidates.

Still have questions? If you think you're in need of advice on how to improve your talent acquisition process, we'd love to help! We've assisted over 125 clients across multiple industries automate and streamline their HR processes and can share even more best practices with you. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary call with one of our consultants.

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