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In 2020, this is how recruiters will tackle these common frustrations.

Neil Morelli

Recruitment frustrations are far and wide. It’s the ability to connect the right candidate with the right job that makes the struggle worthwhile.

Still, some challenges are out of your control as a recruiter. The skills shortage and low unemployment, for example, are inhibiting many talent acquisition professionals from quickly sourcing and hiring qualified candidates.

In fact, in a 2018 ManpowerGroup report, 45 percent of employers said they can’t find the right skills they need to fill open roles. Nearly a third of employers also said the main reason they can’t fill roles is a lack of applicants.

While the skills shortage and low unemployment are undoubtedly significant challenges, they aren’t the only two factors slowing the recruitment process.

In a recent survey of 600 recruiting and talent acquisition professionals at companies with 101 to 5,000 employees, by our team here at Berke, we discovered which common frustrations are impacting recruitment. We also explored solutions that they’re using to tackle those issues.

Here are a few of the notable frustrations these professionals face every day and how they’re preparing to overcome them in 2020:

Finding and identifying quality hires.

In 2020, it won’t be budgets and time-to-fill that are getting the most attention. Talent acquisition professionals are turning their attention to quality-of-hire.


In fact, 83.3 percent of recruiters in our survey said quality-of-hire is a very important hiring metric to their company, and they are more concerned with it than speed of hire.


Additionally, 67 percent of respondents said cost-per-hire is a very important metric to their company.

Just over 30 percent of our survey respondents believe quality-of-hire is going to be more important in 2020 than cost-per-hire, manager satisfaction, and retention rates.

Unfortunately, 33 percent also noted that not having enough candidates in their pipeline is a job-related frustration they face on a regular basis. This means to find quality hires, talent acquisition professionals must go beyond their traditional resume reviews. You must get creative by widening your scope, which can only be done when candidates are judged by more than their resumes.

Start by using job analysis for each role before searching for talent. Ask employees, managers, and supervisors to contribute to the job analysis, so you have a complete view of the role and responsibilities. The goal of the job analysis is to come up with a list of competencies that are required to succeed in the role. Too often hiring teams focus on experience, rather than competencies. Keeping competencies at the forefront of your search helps to broaden the range of potential candidates. For example, if you are looking for a sales representative, and remove applicants who don’t have any sales experience, you may miss a candidate with adjacent marketing experience, who has the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in a sales role.

Once you know what qualities and skills a candidate must possess to succeed in the job, improving quality of hire becomes a more attainable goal. Job analyses will add objectivity to your recruitment process. Each competency you use to measure candidates is observable through pre-employment assessments. The presence of data leaves little room for bias or following ‘gut instincts’ that are fallible.

Agreeing on qualities an ideal candidate possesses.

You can’t make a quality hire if there isn’t a consensus on the definition of ‘quality.’

36 percent

Unfortunately, for 36 percent of our respondents, that’s the case. They noted a lack of consensus about what qualities an ideal candidate should have as a job-related frustration they deal with daily.

The lack of consensus ranks slightly higher than the issue of not having enough candidates in the pipeline (33 percent).

The lack of consensus stems from different perspectives about what constitutes an ideal candidate. When your hiring team operates on different beliefs of what an ideal candidate looks like, tension and disagreements arise. As a result, an already challenging decision is further complicated.

Hiring managers, recruiters, and the C-suite must come to a unified conclusion about what qualities an ideal candidate possesses. Here at Berke, we have a process that keeps teams on the same page. Once we complete job analysis, we create a hiring profile that defines the high, medium, and low impact traits. Formalizing what qualities the ideal candidate should possess keeps stakeholders on the same page and ultimately increases consensus about whom to hire.

Determining job fit.

You can’t improve quality of hire if employee job fit is out of sync. Measuring job fit refers to how well people’s natural abilities align with the job requirements. However, with traditional forms of screening, such as resumes and previous experiences, it’s challenging to effectively determine if a candidate will fit the role, and excel.

Respondents in our survey are moving beyond traditional forms of screening for job fit. Referrals had the highest average effectiveness rating, followed by test results and references in determining job fit. Resumes, experience, and credentials were viewed as the least valuable.

bar chart of responses showing referrals at 3.4

The future of recruiting relies on access to accurate data. Trusted data often comes from advisors in your network. The best referrals are generally from current and former employees. They, more than anyone, know what it takes to succeed on your team. More importantly, they know the passion, motivation, and values needed.

Accurate data also comes in the form of test results. Candidate assessments provide consistent, unbiased information that brings candidates’ personalities and skills to life. Additionally, test results provide a more objective viewpoint than what the person presents during an interview.

Once you have the data on each candidate, you can determine how well they align with the role’s required skills and the cultural aspects of your organization. Knowing which candidates are matches, allows you to spend time sitting down in a one-on-one setting with only the most qualified, well-fitting candidates. The more time you have to get to know these candidates, the easier it will be to identify the best person for the job.

Moving past the screening phase.

Reviewing job applications is a challenging, time-consuming task. It is made more frustrating by the fact that it’s tough to accurately evaluate a candidate based on the list of qualifications and experiences provided on resumes.

36 percent

In fact, 36 percent of survey respondents said a job-related frustration they face daily is the difficulty to sift through applications to find top talent.

This frustration is likely why 51 percent of our respondents noted spending the most time in the screening phase. That’s significantly more than those who spend the majority of their time sourcing, selecting, and onboarding combined (36.7 percent).

Once this long, drawn-out process is over, it’s time to move on to the interview stage. Talent acquisition professionals hope this step will give them more detailed insights into candidates. After all, a significant amount of time was spent carefully screening and hand-selecting candidates based on a list of experiences and skills.

In reality, interviews often don’t reveal all the information needed to make a quality hire. And with one wrong hire, you’re sent back to the screening phase. Thankfully, modern recruitment tools make it possible for recruiters to screen more efficiently and to get to know candidates on a more human level.

The majority of recruiters (48 percent) in the Global Survey: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Reshaping the Role of the Recruiter report by Korn Ferry say Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made their job easier. The recruiters in our survey agreed.

48 percent

In fact, 47.7 percent say they’re evaluating pre-employment assessment tools in the next 6-12 months.

Another 36 percent are shopping for interview scheduling tools.

Technology can play a critical role in decreasing common recruitment frustrations. If you are thinking about implementing new technology, first understand where your recruitment process is hitting snags. Use your current metrics to discover where your team needs the most help. Are they staying in the screening phase too long? Do they think they have quality candidates only to find out later that they weren’t a great fit?

Sit down with your team to discuss the metrics you’ve uncovered. Ask them why they believe they’re not excelling in those areas and what would help them move past roadblocks. Then, research what tools and technology will meet their needs and help them improve.

Before implementing new technologies, outline what you hope to achieve using the technology -- monitor performance quarterly. What works for your team to decrease common frustrations in 2020, will likely need to be updated or revised in years to come.

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