How Recruitment is Fueling its Own Talent Shortage
Are you unintentionally scaring off great recruits?
By Tanya Axenson
By now, we've all heard the news: there's a shortage of talent. Companies can't seem to find people with the critical skills to move their business forward. Those elusive capabilities could be in management, leadership or vital IT- or STEM-related skills.
Some business leaders blame their hiring troubles on an education shortfall in certain areas. They may blame new competitors offering compensation they would struggle to match, rapidly retiring baby boomers, or policies that make it difficult to hire talent from abroad. These are all legitimate issues behind the talent shortage, but they are not the only ones. In fact, one of the most important causes for many companies is right under their noses.
Despite the great challenges that already exist in filling job posts today, many successful organizations are taking a closer look at their own recruiting practices as a contributor to their talent shortages. Findings from a recent study by Allegis Group shed light on recruiting pitfalls and reveal that, even in the most successful recruiting functions, there are always specific opportunities to fix issues that often hide companies from the talent they need, or, worse yet, drive great talent away.
Survey Results Reveal Pitfalls
In mid-November, Allegis Group released its latest state of recruiting report, Staying in Front: An Inside Look at the Changing Dynamics of Talent Acquisition. Based on a survey of nearly 7,000 employers, talent acquisition professionals and job candidates from around the world, the study gauged the satisfaction of companies across key talent acquisition practice areas, as well as stakeholder views on major trends.
According to the survey, less than one in 10 (8 percent) of employers strongly agreed their recruitment process enables them to fill open positions quickly, attract top-quality talent and optimize costs. The vast majority of employers (92 percent) also expressed less-than-optimal satisfaction with their recruitment process.
This scenario is worsened by a communication disconnect between in-house talent acquisition teams and business leaders, as well as other shortfalls impacting employee hiring and retention. The survey data highlights areas needed for improvement and provides insight on what works, and what doesn't, for organizations trying to step up their recruiting capability.
So, if you're worried that your organization is contributing to its talent acquisition woes, you're not alone. Consider the issues that follow and ask if your organization is up to the challenge of fixing them. The result may be a real a recruiting advantage for your organization in a market of talent scarcity.
Issue #1: Misunderstood Expectations for Candidates
Mismatched expectations for "turnkey hires" are driving qualified candidates away. According to the survey, only 28 percent of hiring managers at companies expect a perfect match -- candidates that arrive fully equipped with necessary skills and experience. Yet, 50 percent of the talent acquisition pros they work with, and 53 percent of candidates, think full qualifications must be met. This communication disconnect may cause recruiters to reject candidates that hiring managers may actually consider for employment. Likewise, it may cause qualified job seekers to reject the opportunity before they even apply.
To address the issue, start with the job description. Are hiring managers simply feeding requirements to recruiters? If so, stop taking the instructions for granted. Talent acquisition needs to push back on the business to determine how much each requirement truly matters. The same questioning between hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals needs to extend across the talent acquisition lifecycle, from job definition to sourcing, as well as candidate evaluation and selection.
Issue #2: Looking for connections in all the wrong places?
Yes, it's easy to assume the next great hire simply isn't out there. That's because many companies are still relying on non-creative approaches to attract talent. It's not that a build-it-and-they-will-come attitude won't work for certain hires, because in some cases, simply posting jobs will bring people to the table.
But what can a company do to start digging deeper for talent?
The survey reveals preference gaps between the way candidates look for work and the way employers look for candidates. Seventy percent of candidates cite online searches as a top means of connecting with opportunities, but only 47 percent of employers rely on search optimization as a top way to bring candidates to the door. The secret is not necessarily to heavily rely on one method of being found but on balancing across all sourcing venues, from referral programs and social media to career-networking events and employer-rating sites.
The lesson: don't rely on one source. Keep many lines in the water.
Issue #3: Driving new hires away?
Believe it or not, one critical point in the hiring cycle that influences talent acquisition success actually occurs after the hire is made -- the onboarding process. And poor onboarding sends new hires to the exits.
Of the surveyed candidates, 54 percent were "somewhat" or "very likely" to leave an organization based on a poor onboarding experience. When it comes to readiness for a new hire's first day -- encompassing introductions to teammates and key stakeholders, manager meetings and facility tours -- more than 70 percent of hiring managers say they "always" cover these activities, yet only 23 percent to 50 percent of candidates agree.
What does it take to solve onboarding shortfalls? The solution begins with ownership and accountability. Establishing a consistent onboarding process requires coordination across multiple functions, from HR to IT, and management within the department hiring the talent. Make the case to continually monitor and improve coordination in onboarding. The payoff, in terms of employee engagement and retained talent, can help reduce overall turnover and take some of the pressure off talent acquisition to replace lost employees.
Looking ahead: Just good enough just isn't good enough
There is no such thing as "just good enough" when it comes to recruiting. The market has grown increasingly competitive across many skill sets, particularly in the professional and technical arenas. This survey shows there are vast areas for improvement in talent acquisition.
Identifying what is and is not working -- and taking steps to fortify efforts -- will enable firms to close gaps, enjoy a stronger reputation, attract a greater pool of candidates and, ultimately, come out on top in the recruitment marketplace. This is an approach that's not only right for improving talent acquisition, but is essential for shaping the future of business.
Tanya Axenson is global head of HR for Allegis Group, a global staffing and talent-acquisition-services firm with approximately 500 locations worldwide.