The biggest names in HR share how anyone looking for top talent can overcome the industry's biggest challenges

Staff Writer

Unemployment is at an all-time low. The job market is now largely candidate-driven, and there are more jobs available than candidates to fill them. For hiring professionals, that means it’s getting harder and harder to find that perfect candidate to join the team.

To better understand the job market and the common issues affecting hiring professionals, WorkConnect by SAP conducted a survey of the biggest challenges hiring professionals are facing. Besides identifying and attracting quality candidates, the survey revealed that hiring professionals are having difficulty managing open positions, filling those positions in a timely manner, and collaborating with team members to make a hiring decision.

Attracting, hiring and retaining talent requires a well-thought-out and strategic process. In order to overcome challenges, you need to make some changes in your hiring process to improve your results and land the candidates who will excel in your organization.

Here are six of the biggest challenges hiring professionals are facing and what some of the biggest names in the hiring and recruiting industry recommend to solve them:

1. Identifying quality candidates

According to the survey, 96% of hiring professionals wish they had better access to qualified candidates. But while the pool of qualified candidates has shrunk, hiring professionals may be focusing on the wrong criteria.

Todd Raphael of ERE Media says, “I find it sad – for lack of a better word – when I read about companies saying they can’t find people. Are they looking for all people, or just young people?”

If your focus is too narrow, you may be ruling out candidates who could be well-suited to your team.

You should also be open to finding candidates in non-traditional places. Paula Clapon of Hppy recommends “investing in your local community of students, volunteers and people who are passionate about what your company has to offer. Constantly connecting with them through events, learning opportunities and an ongoing online presence will keep you top of mind for these people. The more you develop the community around you, the better chances of having quality candidates.”

2. Long lead time

Between reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, checking references and making an offer, the length of time between posting a job and getting someone in the door can be significant. But the best candidates are off the market within 10 days – not even close to the average time to hire.

That’s why you can’t afford to hire only when you have an open position. Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender says, “Organizations should always be looking for talent. And if they find someone who is awesome…hire them. The right person will bring enough value to cover their salary expense.”

You also need to provide recruiters with the right information to find the ideal candidate for your team. John Zappe of TLNT.com recommends hiring professionals “spend time regularly with your recruiter so that person understands you, your needs, the specific work and meets with your team, too.”

3. Pressure to fill open positions

Management is often eager to hire immediately, and so are hiring professionals –  86% want their hiring tasks accomplished in an efficient and time-saving manner. But with the difficulty in finding qualified candidates and other challenges, efficiency is not always one of HR’s strong suits.

To deal with the pressure that comes with hiring, hiring professionals need to be strategic in their processes.

Clapon believes hiring professionals should bring someone on board to be that strategic planner. She says, “If we’re discussing a sales revenue forecast, we expect to see market research, competitor analysis, internal benchmarks and KPIs. Why would HR be any different? The talent they’re bringing on board is a precious resource. It demands efficient pipeline management, succession plans, performance indicators and data analysis.”

4. Managing job postings

Hiring professionals are using a variety of channels to spread the word about their open positions, but 79% of them find it challenging to post to multiple job boards simultaneously.

Job boards aren’t the only channels hiring professionals need to focus on, either. Social professional networks are actually the top source of quality hires, yet only 56% of hiring professionals use them.

Tony Restell of Social Hire says, “Managing how candidates perceive your business through a compelling social media presence, strong Glassdoor reviews and favourable commentary from existing employees all impact these conversion rates in ways that have a material impact on the overall hiring effectiveness of an organisation.”

5. Collaborating with coworkers

It’s no secret that involving multiple people in the hiring process is beneficial. In fact, 94% of WorkConnect by SAP survey respondents say multiple people are involved in a typical hire. But 86% wish it were easier to collaborate with their peers.

Lauby offers a suggestion for more effective collaboration. She says, “I recently heard about a process that I think is super interesting. It’s to have recruiting facilitators. These are trained individuals who facilitate the process. They are not necessarily HR people and they’re not decision-makers in the hire. Their role is to facilitate. I like it a lot.”

6. Spending time on non-hiring tasks

For many hiring professionals, the actual process of hiring has become only a small part of their responsibilities. Eighty-five percent of survey respondents spend a significant amount of time on employee training and development, while 82% spend time on compensation issues and 47% on benefits management.

Barbara Berger of Career Wellness Partners says spending time on non-hiring activities like training, performance management and other admin tasks comes at the expense of having a focused and strategic hiring process. She states, “Now more than ever, it is particularly challenging for SMBs to have the internal resources to manage the hiring process skillfully and with confidence. Hire well to put the right people on your team or consider outsourcing certain processes that detract from strategic recruiting initiatives.”