Why You May Struggle To Recruit – And How To Fix It!


Many businesses find recruiting a challenge. Sometimes roles lie unfilled for months. Other times, applications flood in but there just isn’t anyone who fits the bill.

A new survey from Forde HR Cloud found that as many as 2 in every 3 business managers admit to struggling when it comes to recruiting staff, thanks mainly to the following obstacles;

  • Lack of skills and experience (50%)
  • Lack of applicants (27%)
  • Challenging salary expectations (19%)


Whilst recruitment isn’t easy, there’s loads you can do to improve your hiring process and strategy. Here we look at them one by one, to understand the issue and how you can overcome them:

Challenge 1 – Applicants Not Skilled / Experienced Enough

It’s a competitive job market in a recovering economy. Graduates in particular, may apply with the education to do a job, but lacking the experience to meet the criteria. With this back drop, many job seekers struggle to find a role that meets their needs or exact experience and find themselves sending out CVs left, right and centre in the hopes they may get lucky.

If a business feels it is plagued by applicants not meeting their expectations, there are a number of solutions.

Firstly, it may be prudent to reassess the role requirements and ease up on the necessary criteria. This means, looking for transferable skills, experience similarities, and more importantly, personal attributes and the potential that a jobseeker has to fulfil the role. You could be turning away good candidates because of a few technicalities and CV gaps, who might just need a little training to get them to where you want them to be.

Another aspect to review is the job description itself. To avoid confusion over expectations, ensure requirements are clearly laid out and are detailed enough to guide applicants. The pitfall to watch out for is not to make the description so linear and narrow that it alienates candidates altogether. It’s advisable to make sure you explain fully the type of person you would like to join your business and what they will be doing.

A third remedy is to review the applications process itself. It may be too easy to apply to the role – simply uploading a CV and hitting send may result in an increase of “hit and hope” applications. The counteract this, consider a more detailed application form requiring answers to a few screening questions like “tell us a time when…” or “what appeals to you about this role”. You should insist on a covering letter and/or request examples of work, i.e. a portfolio. The added advantage of doing so is that it will speed up your shortlisting process too, saving you the need to read every CV end to end.

Challenge 2 – Lack of Applicants

An inbox empty of CVs is a sign of one of two issues – either your vacancy isn’t being promoted effectively, or it is not attractive enough for candidates to want to apply. Or both.

If you want to maximise your recruitment marketing, then you need to cover both the obvious and the not so obvious bases. Yes, it’s important to appear on traditional platforms; post it on your website, free job boards, paid job sites if you have budget, newspapers, and professional membership organisations.

Alongside this, however, the ad should be on social media. A massive 67% of jobseekers found their most recent role on Facebook. Advertise the position using LinkedIn job listings, Facebook ads or Twitter hashtags like #JobFairy.

Finally, ask your existing team for referrals and to reach out to their own networks. This can be incentivised too with a signing bonus. If an incentive scheme sounds like a good idea, just make sure it’s caveated and paid upon the new hire passing a probation review. The scheme does not aim to encourage your team to recommend just anyone.

If you’re still struggling after you’ve covered all the “attraction” bases, become a proactive recruiter. This means searching places like LinkedIn and blogs yourself to find talent you could actively reach out to and lure to join your business. Industry conferences and local networking events are other great places to have those face-to-face conversations with people as you head hunt.

Improve Job Application Response Rates

If the issue is actually that jobseekers are fully aware of your ad but are choosing not to apply, then you need to take a fresh look at how you communicate your business. This notion goes beyond the formalities and role requirements as mentioned above and focuses on your wider branding.

Do people know what it looks like to work with you? Do you have a website or social media presence that goes behind the scenes? Do you communicate your values and your culture so people get a feel for the environment they would work in? And, importantly, if you offer great benefits like flexible working or training and development, is that publicly promoted to would-be employees?

These are all important considerations for those actively job hunting, especially those with experiences and the skills to hit the ground running. As highlighted above, those candidates are sought after so if you want the best recruits, you need to position yourself as the best employer in the market.

Challenge 3 – Salary Expectations

Sometimes there is no getting around the challenge of a limited salary budget. When you’re competing to lure talent against big businesses who offer big salaries, that can seem like an impossible challenge.

However, it’s important to understand that the modern workforce is interested in much more besides their take-home pay.

Employee benefits packages are about much more than wages. All employees want a work-life balance so flexible arrangements or good holidays are extremely attractive, and essentially free. Some workers may appreciate healthcare or gym memberships, others may be content enough with Friday beers after work, pizza Tuesdays or a day off for their birthday.

Many employees appreciate the opportunities for career progression and training and development that will help them in their lifelong careers. Look at what you offer in these areas and communicate it well. In particular, an option for frugal businesses is hiring graduates. These people are, after all, the top talent of the future. Already knowledgeable and desperate for practical experience, graduates are highly motivated to learn and much cheaper to hire than highly experienced staff. Research has shown that Millennials tend to place more emphasis on elements such as company values and work they enjoy, over high salary scales or bonuses.

Ultimately, recruiting the best talent requires a lot of effort. You need to communicate who you are and what you want clearly and positively in a way that attracts people to your business. Being open to new recruitment channels, different candidate backgrounds and alternative benefits packages will set you on the right track to avoiding the most common recruitment pitfalls.


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