The Top 5 Digital Recruiting Challenges According to Employers (and How to Tackle Them)

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With 7 million-plus job openings and an unemployment rate of 3.6%, the U.S. labor market continues to lean heavily in favor of candidates. Job seekers not only have more flexibility in choosing where they work but also enjoy on-demand access to career opportunities through any number of job boards, communities, social media channels, and other online resources.

But for employers, the millions of unfilled positions have created an HR headache.

Even with the proliferation of digital recruiting tools, recruiting isn’t as easy as you’d expect it to be in the 21st century.

If anything, finding qualified candidates is more challenging, complex and outright time-consuming. While record-low unemployment rates and the much-discussed skills gap are in play, what, exactly, is holding back hiring?

We went straight to the source for answers, surveying 575 U.S. employers across more than 50 industries. We asked them about their No. 1 challenge when recruiting through an online job board, website or community.

Here are their top five responses, with some advice for addressing each challenge.

1. The Challenge: Too many irrelevant or underqualified applicants

53.5% of survey respondents said they aren’t receiving enough relevant applications or qualified candidates. These responses echo claims of a widening skills gap and beg a couple of questions: Are employers setting unrealistic candidate expectations? And, are the position requirements listed in their job ads unclear?

However, a closer look at the survey data pointed to another culprit. More than half of employers who cited irrelevant or underqualified applications as their top challenge prioritize posting their ads to general job boards. Such platforms cast a wide net, but are they the most efficient means of recruiting?

The Solution: Think quality over quantity

Avoid the clutter and narrow your search with industry-specific or niche job boards. For example, if you’re looking for a software developer, post your ad to a job board that targets technology professionals.

With this approach, you’ll receive a lower volume of applicants, but the quality of the candidates will be higher – saving you time, cutting costs and allowing you to focus on other value-added tasks. If unqualified candidates continue to slip through the cracks, an AI-powered resume screening tool can help automate some of the process and lighten your load.

2. The Challenge: Lack of local talent

20.8% of employers said they struggle to find qualified talent in their area. While this is partially attributed to a shortage of qualified talent – period – employers may simply need to adjust their expectations and be more accommodating.

The Solution: Be flexible

The competitive job market requires you to search beyond your own backyard for talent. Think of hiring a distributed team and attract qualified candidates who may otherwise overlook your ad due to geographical reasons by offering a flexible, work-from-home schedule or even relocation assistance. But if this is not feasible, brush up on your Boolean search skills to generate hyper-relevant results when using an online resume search tool.

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Hiring a distributed team

If you can’t find local talent,
expand your geographical horizon.

3. The Challenge: Fewer applicants

Of employers surveyed, 11.5% said their No. 1 online recruiting challenge is an underwhelming number of applicants. This is another indication of the talent shortage and a consequence of the tight labor market, but it also signals that HR managers could benefit from expanding their recruiting toolsets.

The Solution: Diversify your resources

While the mantra “quality over quantity” still holds true, you won’t find your ideal applicant if you’re looking in the wrong places. Improve your chances of attracting your unicorn by diversifying your recruiting toolbox.

Test each resource for recruiting different candidate personas.

Once you see which sources are most effective for attracting certain types of candidates, you can prioritize where you advertise. For example, you may find that social media is effective in finding entry-level candidates while a niche job board is best at bringing in seasoned, career-minded talent.

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4. The Challenge: Ghosting

More than 10% of employers said their top online recruiting challenge was being “ghosted” by candidates who either don’t show up for interviews or don’t respond to their communications.

This is not too surprising, as the current market gives job seekers more freedom in choosing which opportunities to pursue and when. Applicants feel that dipping out on an interview or sending a hiring manager straight to voicemail have minimal repercussions. For the employer, however, candidate ghosting is frustrating, wastes valuable resources and can significantly set back the hiring timeline.

The Solution: Communicate clearly and often

Pull out your best recruitment marketing tactics to attract candidates at the top of the funnel and nurture them through each step in the hiring process. Engage them with useful content about your company, your open positions, your workplace culture, and even career advice. Be courteous, personable and helpful, and candidates will be more likely to be more responsive.Candidate ghosting

Treating your candidates professionally and making them feel
valued will make them reciprocate in the same way.

5. The Challenge: Sub-par job ads

Lastly, 2.1% of employers said they are most challenged with writing strong ads that get responses. No longer do we rely on a five-line “help wanted” ad in a local newspaper to attract applicants – today’s more sophisticated job boards and recruiting tools use candidate-matching algorithms to proactively connect top talent with employers.

But without ample descriptions and carefully selected keywords, the right candidate will have a harder time finding you.

The Solution: Create richer job descriptions

Include as many details about your open position as you can and specify relevant skills to improve your chances of being found in a job board, search engine or other online tools.

In addition, use your ad to highlight what it’s like to work at your company. What types of unique benefits do you offer? What is your office environment like? Such details can be prime selling points for on-the-fence applicants and support your overall recruitment marketing efforts.

In closing

These are just a few of the challenges cited by survey respondents, but one thing is for certain: finding qualified, relevant and responsive candidates has become a frustrating, time-consuming, uphill battle.

While a surplus of job opportunities is positive news for economic and business growth (and of course, candidates), it is overwhelming already busy HR professionals and hiring managers.

Alleviate some of the pressure by expanding your sourcing toolbox, focusing on the quality of applicants over quantity, refreshing your job ads and communicating with candidates during each stage of the process.

We have plenty of advanced digital HR tools and technologies at our fingertips – it’s time for recruiting tactics to catch up.

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