4 Major Hiring Problems and How to Solve Them

Discover solutions to four major hiring problems, from too many unqualified applicants to low retention rates, with these expert strategies for success!

Ed Hallen
December 6, 2019

Time and time again, CEOs identify recruiting and maintaining talent as the primary internal concern they face. Relying on walk in applicants isn’t feasible, and simple postings on job boards can have vastly different results for different businesses. Most employers find themselves dealing with applicant pools that are either so large they can’t review everyone, or with a disappointingly small selection of applicants to choose from. In addition, losing candidates during the hiring process or soon after a hire has been made can lead to huge costs from open positions and incomplete work.

As an employer, you may have run into one of these issues in the past, but you don’t have to deal with them in the future. Below are four major hiring problems and how you can solve them for your business.

1) Too Many Unqualified Applicants

It’s easier than ever to apply for a position, which is great when your on the job hunt, but painful when your the one stuck looking at resumes of candidates that aren’t even qualified for your entry level positions. Overall, there are two measures you can take to isolate your applicant pool to just the candidates that meet your expectations.

Set a realistic base level criteria for applications based on skills and experience, and quickly reject applications below that threshold. Don’t base it on what it takes to be a great new hire, but figure out your bottom line, and quickly reject everyone that doesn’t meet this baseline.

Some hiring software, including Team Engine, can allow you to create a profile for your ideal candidate, taking into account the required experience for the role, as well as the “nice to have” qualifications and qualities. With this information, you can rely on software to do the screening for you, as well as rank your resulting applicant pool based off of how well they match your expectations.

Add a clearly laid out section to your job description going over basic requirements to help unqualified candidates opt out. For example, if you are going to automatically reject all applicants for a driving role if they don’t have a CDL B license, let the people know! Separating your qualifications and experience portion into “need to have” VS. “nice to have”, is a great way to save job seekers time applying for a position they won’t get, and to save you time on the other end.

2) Too Few Applicants Overall

Consider the aspects of the position that impact applicant sourcing, and identify how you can optimize the role. For most companies, the lack of applicants results from one of four areas:

Pay/Compensation doesn’t match candidate expectations

Use online job postings for similar roles in your area to find the base level of pay candidates are looking for. It’s possible that candidates are going to competitors for more pay.

If possible, include the compensation details in your job description - going in-depth into the benefits of the job can help increase your position’s visibility with job seekers and push your role to the top of job boards.

Lack of talent nearby

Unfortunately, sometimes the people you need just aren’t nearby. Consider what a reasonable commute is and look for people in that area. In certain areas, you can offer employees discounted bus passes and other perks to encourage people to work for you, even if the commute is relatively long.

If possible, look for candidates that would consider relocating. Team Engine collects data on applicants, like average commute time, and can automatically asks candidates if they would relocate, saving you time.

Invest in your training, If there are no candidates that meet your current expectations, decide what amount of time your are willing to invest in training new employees. Then, change the requirements to fit the job market for your area, and focus on bringing new employees up to speed.

The job is highly specialized

Have employees that have done the job before design the base level requirements for the job. No one is an expert their first day. Even with highly specialized roles, allowing time and patience for ambitious candidates that are competent to grow into the job can increase retention, and decrease the time a role is left unfilled.

Separate the need to have skills and experience from nice to have. As above, training a candidate into a position helps improve retention and encourages employees to grow their abilities

Type of Work

Some jobs are less appealing, but that doesn’t mean that your job description needs to be unappealing as well. highlight the aspects of the job that are selling points. Are the coworkers supportive? Do you provide great benefits? Think of what sold you on the company, and find a way to sell job seekers on the same thing.

Emphasize the opportunities for growth in the company. Most people understand that entry level or less-than-exciting opportunities are the first step towards finding a fulfilling career. Lay out a clear plan for upward mobility in the company, and convince candidates that their future is bright.

With all of this, consider where you are sourcing applicants from. Post on multiple job boards, consider new avenues to reach candidates like targeted ads, and use employee referrals (which account for up to 48% of new hires).

3) Candidate Drop Off During Hiring Process

If you've found a perfect applicant, chances are other companies have found them as well. More than anything, move fast and reach out right away when you find a great applicant. Spare time from when they apply to when they interview, or until they get a job offer, is just another day for them to accept a position with one of your competitors.

Communication is key, spend 10-15 minutes a day reviewing candidates. If someone meets your minimum requirements, send a quick message letting them know you are interested to keep them engaged. Additionally, at each stage in the hiring process, be clear about next steps and timeline. In every interview, let promising candidates know when they can expect a call about what happens next. With all your outreach, keep it personal. Letting candidates know you care will buy you more time, and help you get them on your side.

Keeping candidates informed is important, but getting people in the door should be the priority. Schedule interviews in as short of a window as possible using an interview scheduling tool, and move their first day up to the soonest they can do. A common tactic is to build a sense of urgency by offering a job and giving new hires a short window to respond.

4) Low Retention of new hires

Some industries have resigned themselves to constant hiring due to poor retention, but they don’t have to. Using techniques like exit interviews can help identify why there’s low retention, and implementing fixes can make people stay for years, even if it’s in an unappealing position. If your employees are leaving after just a few months, you’ll likely find out that you aren’t doing one of these four things:

Investing in new hires

Spending more time on training at the get go can help you build a stronger relationship with your new employee. Not only will they be more effective at their job, they’ll also understanding that you’re investing in them.

Being realistic about the responsibilities in the job description

You should sell job seekers on the opportunities that can come from working for you, but if a candidate enters a role expecting greater things, they’ll start searching for them with other companies.

Using applicant sourcing methods that build a connected workforce

There’s a reason why companies pride themselves on having a family atmosphere. We spend the majority of our waking time at work. If you don’t like the people you work with, you won’t want to stay in that position for long. Use candidate sourcing methods like employee referrals to build a culture of support. If you’re working with your friends, you’ll look forward to Monday instead of dreading it.

Emphasizing strong leadership

It has been said time and time again, people come for the compensation, they stay for the boss. A strong leadership team can provide direction and support to new hires outside of training, and can even help fix most of the other retention problems laid out above.

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