Common Hiring Challenges and How to Overcome Them

January 7, 2020


Employees make or break businesses. The team members you hire now could have the drive and ideas that help you move the business to the next level. They could also alienate your customers, create conflict and drag down profits. If only it was easier to tell what kind of employee a job applicant will turn out to be. Though you can’t predict the future, you can shape your hiring process to make it easier to find those candidates who belong on your team. It all comes down to avoiding some common hiring challenges.

Reaching the Right Candidates

It doesn’t matter much how smooth and efficient your hiring process is if your candidate pool is weak. Connecting with jobseekers who would be a good fit for your needs is perhaps the biggest challenge for hiring companies. Ideally, by the end of the hiring process, you’ll have a group of candidates who all have the skills and traits that are necessary to succeed in your open positions, and the challenge will be choosing the very best ones to hire. That can’t happen if you don’t bring those people into the process in the first place.

So how do you reach candidates who could flourish on your team? Look at how you advertise openings. First, critically examine the way you word the job descriptions in your job postings. You want candidates to read those descriptions and be able to assess whether the job would be a good fit for them day to day. Job tasks should be described honestly, not sugar-coated to highlight the most attractive parts of the work. If there’s already someone working in a role you’re hiring for, work with them to craft a list that accurately reflects the job.

Also, get clear about any requirements that are nonnegotiable to weed out applicants who won’t advance in your hiring process. If you won’t hire a candidate who doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree or reliable transportation, for example, the job posting should state that these are absolutely requirements and other applicants won’t be considered. At the same time, make sure you’re not requiring any skills or characteristics that aren’t truly essential to doing the job. For example, does the person in this role truly have to be able to lift 50 pounds with regularity? Don’t list that if it’s not really true, as it could discourage skilled candidates who have physical disabilities from applying.

Finally, look at where your job openings are posted. If you’re only placing them on conventional job-posting sites like Indeed, you’re missing a huge group of candidates – including those workers who might not be looking for a job but would be willing to make a change for the right opportunity. Use social media, reach out to applicants who have made the final round of your hiring process in the past, make sure postings are shared internally so you can promote from within and encourage employees to make referrals.

Streamlining the Process

Making good hiring decisions can’t be rushed. The process can take months, from crafting the perfect job posting to negotiating salary with the final candidate. It takes time to fully vet your top applicants, interview them and get everyone’s input on who to hire. All the steps are important, but your team could waste a lot of time if the process is inefficient. Can you adopt a new applicant tracking system that manages some of the administrative tasks associated with finding applicants? Can you pare down the list of decisions makers who have to weigh in on hiring? Are you using standardized assessments that let you quickly compare your candidates?

If you don’t already, consider creating a talent pool that includes top prior applicants, current employees who want promotions and high performers employed by competitors. When a job opens, contact these people directly to evaluate their interest. You could bypass early stages of the hiring process by going directly to candidates you already know.

Assessing Employee Fit

How an applicant answers interview questions can tell you a lot about them, but not everything. Depending on the nature of the available job, an applicant’s responses might actually tell you very little about how the person would handle the day-to-day work.

Some companies have interviewing applicants complete job fit assessments, which are designed to test things like a candidate’s personality, attitude and cognitive speed. There are also less formal ways to make these assessments, though. Incorporate fit-related questions into your interview process. Does the candidate expect to become friends with coworkers? What kind of role does the person tend to play when working as a member of a team? What are the most important factors that determine whether the candidate is happy or unhappy at work? Also, look for ways to assess how the employee will approach and complete work projects. Depending on the job, you may be able to assign sample tasks as part of the interview process.

Some companies also ask their current employees to have informal talks with top candidates, assuming that those workers know best what it takes to succeed in the organization and can honestly answer candidates’ questions. This strategy relies on having employees with a lot of job satisfaction, of course; unhappy workers won’t do much to convince applicants to join your team.

Hiring is hard work, even for experienced HR professionals. Your hiring process might need to evolve in order for your organization to attract top talent. Commonwealth is here to help you navigate the challenges and devise strategies that work. If you haven’t seen it already, check out our recorded webinar, Recruiting and Hiring Great Employees . Still have questions?  Contact us today.

Compare Plans View Demo Self Assessment Subscribe to Insights