Employee Engagement

Is Hiring Actually Getting Harder?

Over the last decade, recruiters have found it increasingly challenging to find the right people to fill job openings. A number of factors are at play, but we're only scratching the surface of the present-day recruitment conundrum.

Over the last decade, recruiters have found it increasingly challenging to find the right people to fill job openings. A number of factors are at play. Candidate skills in high growth industries such as health care, information technology, and construction are becoming scarcer. The unemployment rate in Canada and the US is extremely low, which means fewer available candidates. But this is only scratching the surface of the present-day recruitment conundrum.

Why does it seem difficult to hire good people?

According to an article in USA Today, the low unemployment rate is also influenced by the 62.7% of Americans who are no longer looking for jobs. This labor force participation rate has been falling for a while due to the millions of Baby Boomers retiring each year. Another factor to consider is the increasing rate of adults who have limited themselves to career opportunities due to the opioid crisis that has hit America hard.

In the post-recession economy, things have been slow to recover in many industries and those who lost their jobs then moved on to other occupations, leaving gaps in the talent pool. The rise of artificial intelligence and robotics across all industries will demand more skills and eliminate others. Even with the rate that the educational system is preparing workers for future jobs, recruiters find themselves in a kind of “limbo” where candidates have the upper hand and they must use new methods to source and hire.

What is recruitment technology’s role in this problem?

In some cases, outdated recruitment technology is hampering the results of recruiters. For example, applicant tracking systems that require candidates to search for jobs from a long list of openings. Candidates do not want to spend a lot of time searching. Then there are the long applications that either do not allow candidates to upload a resume properly. This creates a great deal of frustration for candidates — causing them to walk away. Recruitment technology that has not been updated has very little “human” feel to it. Automated emails that only thank the candidate for applying are passe.

Pro Tip: Here’s how to improve candidate experience by effectively using your ATS

The other problem with older recruitment technology is that it’s focused on numbers. In the past, sheer volume of candidates meant that recruiters could whittle down the list to about 10% and then secure employees at a high rate. This model no longer works well in recruitment, but the data doesn’t reflect this shift. Now recruiters must focus on performance objectives (rather than job requirements) and narrow the focus to a small pool of candidates who have these qualities. Relationship building and diversity hiring are more important than speed of hire.

What’s the hiring landscape’s role?

As mentioned above, the hiring landscape has flipped 180 degrees in just the last few years. Qualified candidates are scarcer in many industries, especially those in the STEM careers. Recruiters must find more creative ways to source talent, and this includes tapping into the large amount of passive talent that’s out there.

In order to attract talent, many employers have increased incentives (like sign-on bonuses, unlimited paid time off, and flexible or reduced work weeks). Recruiters should work closely with human resource leadership to determine what perks are in demand by their workforce and increase the marketing around this.

Instead of focusing on job longevity, recruiters must be thinking about the changes that are occurring as a result of new technology. Skills are changing rapidly to keep up and many jobs will become obsolete in the next few years. Soft skills and the love of learning are becoming more valuable because they are adaptable to a new world of work.

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What is technology’s role in solving recruitment problems?

Fortunately, recruitment technology has taken center stage on improving recruitment practices and processes. With smart tools that improve the candidate experience, recruiters can add a more personal touch to their interactions. Artificial intelligence allows for faster matching of candidate qualities to job types. Recruitment screening helps recruiters to target the right candidates sooner, so they can connect with them and get them secured for interviews before the competition does. Recruitment platforms have expanded to include room for contractors and freelance candidates too.

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When technology is used properly in recruitment, it makes for one seamless and positive experience for candidates. From their first encounter with the organization, through interviewing and onboarding, smart recruitment technology can produce better results in hires. Everyone wins.

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