How to Outsmart the 3 Biggest Recruiting Challenges

July 14, 2015

It’s no secret that recruiters have trouble finding the talent they need to fill key roles. Manpower’s 2015 Talent Shortage Report points out that in 2015, 32% of employers report facing difficulties in filling jobs this year.

While this number represents an 8% decline from 2014, it’s still more than twice as high as 2010, when only 14% of employers reported challenges to staffing key roles. Here are some of the top reasons why, according to Manpower’s survey respondents:

  • Lack of available applicants (33%)
  • Lack of relevant experience in the market (19%)
  • Lack of technical competence (17%)
  • Lack of industry-specific qualifications and certifications (14%)
  • Lack of workplace competencies and soft skills (11%)

These challenges are entirely possible for recruiters to tackle and overcome. Here are 3 additional stats that explain how and why.

Trend 1: Recruiting needs are growing faster than budgets

Source: LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends Report

Hiring volumes and budgets have both been increasing over the last 3 years, but the gap between the two metrics is widening. In other words, hiring needs are growing faster than the budgets allocated to supporting those needs. The bottom line is that recruiters need to achieve greater impact, at higher levels of efficiency.

Recruiters need to find new ways to drive efficiencies—which means that you need to generate the strongest possible impact with every sourcing technique.

Here are some ideas to try:

  • Attend industry meetups. Meet target candidates in person, at events that they’re already attending. Understand that these individuals aren’t necessarily looking for their next jobs, but are open to learning more about your company—and open to passing along referrals.
  • Build out your brand presence on social media. Create a LinkedIn Company Page, post regularly to groups, and spend time analyzing discussion threads that candidates are likely to be reading. The more visible you become, the more likely it is that candidates will come to you.
  • Personalize every candidate interaction, to the best extent possible. If you’re cold pitching candidates, take the time to learn about them on a personal level. When it comes to recruiting, quality of interactions will trump quantity. Think about it—are you more likely to respond to a blatant cold-pitch or a thoughtful, personalized message?

As the adage goes, it’s important to work smarter—not harder and achieve more with less.

Trend 2: 75% of recruiters aren’t using data

Source: LinkedIn’s 2015 Data Driven Recruiting Report

Instead, they’re pressed for time as reactive and inefficient order takers. Rather than building scalable, repeatable processes through quantitative insights and technology, they’re conducting searches manually—a process that, as with any job function, can feel like throwing spaghetti at the wall.

By incorporating data into their candidate searches, recruiters can improve their efficiency, pinpoint ideal hires, and fill roles faster. According to one stat, when talent acquisition teams use data to hire, they are 2x more likely to improve their recruiting efforts and 3x more likely to reduce costs and gain efficiency.

There are several straightforward ways for recruiters to bring data to their routines. Some tips include:

  • Establishing an ideal talent pool. You can start by identifying your highest performing team members. What are the skills that they bring to the table, and what traits do they share in common? Based on these skills, experiences, and education, you can run searches that help you uncover and focus on opportunities in your particular talent market.
  • Uncover your talent pools. Start by looking at companies, educational institutions, and groups with large concentrations of ideal hires. By focusing on one organization or group at a time, you can perform searches more strategically and efficiently.
  • Quantifying your total addressable market. Know the competition that you’re facing and where to prioritize your focus by quantifying your total addressable market—defined as a collection of individuals who possess a minimum set of requirements. With this approach, you’ll be able to calculate a likelihood score for finding and hiring your ideal candidate.

With data, you can target your searches to pools of available candidates, in addition to individual-level skillsets, personality traits, experiences, and professional backgrounds. With focus, your research process can become more impactful, and you’re less likely to miss the mark.

Trend 3: 75% of professionals self-identify as passive candidates

Source: LinkedIn’s 2015 U.S. Recruiting Trends Report

In other words, your best hires probably won’t come to you. You need to go out and find them.

Many passive candidates are open to exploring new opportunities, but on the whole, they’re happy where they are. As a recruiter, you need to find channels where your candidates are spending time, craft a value proposition that speaks to your candidates’ career aspirations, and create a personalized experience for every candidate who you contact.

In the U.S., 72% of recruiting organizations prioritize passive candidate outreach. What they’ve learned is that this approach requires a new set of strategies and skills.

Here are some techniques that recruiters and employers are adopting:

  • Become a part of your candidates’ circles. Encourage your team members to attend industry events, spend time in LinkedIn Groups, and join ongoing discussions that your candidates care about.
  • Craft personalized messages. Research your candidates before cold-pitching them, and share something of value with every point of communication. This guide to writing effective LinkedIn  can help you develop your strategy.
  • Implement a balanced sourcing plan. Recruiting strategist Lou Adler describes this process as a “40/40/20 sourcing plan.” He recommends focusing 40% of your efforts towards building a pool of followers, expanding employee referrals, and conducting boolean searches to laser-focus on specific traits. Another 40% should be spent on proactively targeting referrals through a combination of direct calls and emails. The remaining 20% of your focus should be devoted to job boards.

The bottom line is that precision and empathy will be your most valuable tactics. Stay focused, find unicorns, and fill roles faster by reaching candidates on a personal level.

Final thoughts

Recruiting is challenging, and top talent is tough to find. What these stats reveal, however, is a clear set of steps that can help your company outsmart these pain points to find the people that you need. Focus to be efficient, leverage data, and create a pipeline of passive candidates for a high-performing strategy.

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*Image by stavos

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