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5 Common Hurdles in the Hiring Process and How to Overcome Them

David Law

Mon, 10 Jun, 2024

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 9 minutes

Navigating the hiring process is a crucial aspect of building a successful organisation. However, several hurdles can hinder its efficiency and effectiveness. Here are five common challenges in the hiring process, along with strategies to overcome them:

Hurdle 1 – The hiring process lacks organisation and there is a lack of agreement among the hiring community.

The Issue

Are you noticing discrepancies in the flow of your data between initial conversations and the first interview, or between the first interview and the assessment? This could be attributed to a lack of structure in your recruitment process and a lack of alignment within the hiring community. The pressures of time and excitement may lead to a hasty hiring process without fully defining the desired candidate profile and the roles of all involved parties.

It is important to have a clear understanding of the ideal candidate for your organisation, their potential sources, effective outreach methods, and appropriate evaluation criteria. Additionally, internal meetings with relevant stakeholders should be planned.

In order to ensure a successful and efficient recruitment process, it is crucial to resist the temptation of improvisation and instead prioritise thorough planning. Neglecting this crucial phase can result in misalignment within the hiring community and ultimately, subpar results. Furthermore, it can lead to a disappointing experience for both candidates and hiring managers, and in the worst-case scenario, a costly mistake and damage to your brand reputation. It is imperative to avoid this unfavourable outcome.

The Solution

A crucial first step in addressing this issue involves a shift in mindset. The outdated perception of recruiters as mere order takers must be replaced with a recognition of their role as valuable partners to internal stakeholders. As such, their responsibility is to offer expert guidance and advisory services throughout the hiring process, ultimately ensuring optimal outcomes for the organisation. This necessitates the establishment of strong relationships with stakeholders, as well as comprehensive education initiatives across the hiring community, to foster a sense of trust.

Once the mindset shift is successfully achieved, several strategic and tactical measures can be implemented to establish a structured recruitment process and foster alignment throughout the hiring community.

  • Establish a strong procedure for approving and accepting a role – this provides valuable background information on the purpose of the hire, level of importance, potential flexibility, team dynamics, primary duties, technology involved, and other relevant details to prepare you for discussions with candidates. It also ensures alignment between you and the hiring manager from the beginning. Utilising a template for this process promotes consistency and standardisation.
  • Conducting community kick-off meetings – allows for a clear definition and confirmation of everyone’s understanding of the role requirements. It also allows for the discussion of target companies for potential candidates, assigning responsibilities in the hiring process, and outlining the assessment criteria and expected feedback timeframes. Our Talent Partners find it beneficial to review 10-20 sample candidates with the hiring manager in real-time during these meetings to quickly establish the desired criteria for the role.
  • Develop and utilise interview scorecards – this practice guarantees consistency and impartiality in evaluating candidates for every position. It also maximises the efficiency of both your and the candidates’ time, eliminating any potential duplication in the hiring procedure. An essential aspect of this is educating your hiring team on how to utilise these scorecards and ensuring that each stage of the interview follows the designated format.
  • Train your hiring team on the latest tools and technology – including familiarising them with platforms like Google Meet and Zoom and instructing them on how to provide feedback for applicants in your ATS. While it may require a few training sessions, the payoff in the future will undoubtedly be worthwhile.
  • Establish a plan for communication schedules – whether it involves methods like asynchronous communication or not, make sure to establish clear expectations from the beginning on how you and your hiring team will communicate. At Fulcrum, we use a combination of standup meetings, Slack notifications, weekly syncs, and consistent reporting to maintain alignment among our internal stakeholders. This approach also allows us to address any issues, foster strong connections, and address any inquiries.
  • Establish clear expectations for candidates – once your internal team is in agreement, openly communicate with candidates to inform them of what to anticipate during the hiring process. This may include the individuals they will meet with and when; the purpose of those discussions, the number of stages in the recruitment process, and the expected timeline.

Something our Talent Partners have found particularly impactful for our customers is creating an “Interviewer” onboarding program. This allows any new people that join the hiring community to be brought up to speed on the hiring process quickly and smoothly.

Hurdle 2 – The hiring process is complicated and the level of interest from potential candidates is low.

The Issue

Do you notice any discrepancies in your data regarding the ratio of outreach to hiring? Are a significant number of candidates dropping out during the hiring process? This could indicate that your hiring process is too complex or that your pool of potential candidates is not fully engaged. We understand that you want to attract top talent, which may lead you to implement a rigorous process. However, a lengthy hiring process can result in disengagement from both candidates and hiring managers. It’s a fine balance to maintain. How many stages are involved in your hiring process? How many individuals do candidates have to meet with during the interview process? Are the assessments appropriate for the level of seniority you are hiring for? For example, if a candidate has to meet with the recruiter, hiring manager, team members, founder, external advisor, and even the office dog, it may raise concerns. Is there a lack of trust in decision-making within your organisation? Or a culture of making decisions based on consensus? One particular aspect that often causes delays in the hiring process is the take-home task. These tasks require a significant time commitment from both the candidate and the hiring manager, so they should be carefully considered to avoid any potential issues.

The Solution

As an expert in your field, you have a good grasp of what qualities make a candidate the right fit for a role. There are commonly accepted practices for effectively assessing candidates, which you can use to challenge the current approach. Utilise data and market intelligence to determine the most effective steps for the specific role you are hiring for.

Further examine your data to pinpoint the exact cause of candidate drop-offs. Request feedback from candidates, track the completion of tasks, and analyse the time it takes for candidates to progress through the hiring process.

Consider if the take-home task is clearly aligned with the role and if it achieves its purpose efficiently, or if it may be asking too much of candidates. Make sure the task is relevant to the level of the role and consider seeking input from current employees in a similar position. This will help determine the task’s suitability and set realistic time frames for completion, as well as ensuring your expectations of candidates are reasonable.

If candidates are disengaging early in the process, such as during outreach or screening, it may indicate that what you are offering is not strong enough. In a competitive market, proactive sourcing requires effectively promoting your opportunities. This starts with understanding the motivations of your potential candidates and how the role or company can fulfil them. Keep in mind that what appeals to a salesperson may be different from what appeals to an engineering manager, so tailor your messaging accordingly with a personalised, multi-platform approach.

Avoid using generic messaging and instead demonstrate genuine knowledge and enthusiasm. Consider using creative methods such as videos, voice notes, and personalised messages from the hiring manager to catch candidates’ attention and make a lasting impression. Sometimes, even a simple gif can be effective.

Hurdle 3: Your hiring process lacks prompt communication and meaningful feedback.

The Issue

Does the time in stage appear to be too long? Are candidates expressing concerns about feedback and communication during your hiring process? This could indicate a problem with communication and feedback throughout the hiring process.

As a Talent Leader, how often have you been told “We had reservations about their suitability” or “They didn’t seem to align with our culture”?

Unclear, inconsistent, and impractical feedback can greatly hinder the effectiveness of your hiring process—especially since it falls on you to turn it into actionable steps.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon and we often see it because of indecisiveness or inadequate use of appropriate tools for providing feedback.

In fact, 54% of candidates have abandoned a recruitment process due to poor communication from the recruiter or employer—and feedback plays a significant role in this. The looser your internal communication schedule is, the more obstacles it can create for the candidate.

This can be attributed to inadequate training and abilities of hiring managers (which we will address), the lack of formal interview scorecards and feedback methods, a less structured communication schedule, or incorrect use of an ATS.

The Solution

Ensure a timely decision-making process by providing prompt feedback to candidates, training hiring managers on effective interviewing techniques, and guiding them on how to record their thoughts in the existing system or ATS. Don’t hesitate to implement 24-48-hour deadlines for submitting interview feedback and schedule debrief sessions with the hiring team after final interviews. These sessions should be 15 minutes long and allow for alignment in the hiring decision and the opportunity for the recruiter to address any problematic interviewer behaviours.

Educate the hiring community on the importance of timely and constructive feedback. This not only enhances the candidate experience but also facilitates further calibration for the role, promotes fairness and impartiality in the interview process, and positively impacts the employer’s brand. Take ownership of the feedback process and clearly assign responsibility for sharing feedback with candidates using a suitable method. Make sure the feedback is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) and helps the candidate in their job search.

Remember that platforms like Seek Companies and Glassdoor publicly display interview feedback to potential candidates and allow them to review their experience with your company. A negative experience for one candidate could deter future Gold Medal candidates from considering your company. Even if the feedback is not yet ready to be shared with the candidate, stay in touch with them. Communicate regularly on the progress and be transparent, maintaining a positive relationship with the candidate as their Talent Partner. This can make a significant difference in their level of engagement and satisfaction.

Hurdle 4: Your hiring community lacks the ability to attract and engage candidates, resulting in low levels of interest and participation.

The Issue

Another issue that can be identified by looking at the duration of each stage in the hiring funnel is a potential obstacle. One of the major difficulties we encounter is not having enough resources on the interviewing panel to handle the number of hires needed within the given timeframe. Sometimes, although a hiring plan may have been approved, there may not be enough hiring managers available due to a lack of skills or training, or other competing business priorities. The hiring process requires both time and resources, and those who are chosen to participate in the process alongside their regular responsibilities need to have enough availability in their schedules to effectively assist in expanding the team. Not only can scheduling interviews be a source of frustration for your Talent team, but it can also result in a lengthy and protracted process for both the candidate and the employer due to a lack of availability. This can ultimately lead to candidates losing interest and having a negative experience.

The Solution

When planning your hiring process and staffing your talent acquisition team to meet the demand for new hires, it is important to consider the availability of your interviewers. It is necessary to understand how much time your interviewers will need to dedicate to reaching your desired number of hires. This can be determined by analysing your level of effort data. It is crucial to plan for this upfront, as it allows you to expand your pool of interviewers early on, optimise the hiring process based on available resources, provide interviewer training and shadowing, and implement agile methods of assessment if necessary. It is also important to communicate the interview process timeline clearly to candidates. For instance, if you are hiring an Engineer and the hiring committee has limited time to review intensive technical tests, you may consider conducting a 1-hour paired coding session instead. We strongly recommend blocking off time in the calendars of your hiring committee members for conducting interviews each week. This demonstrates your respect for their time and allows them to continue with their own responsibilities and focused work. It also streamlines the interview scheduling process and helps avoid the back and forth of coordinating calendars. Tools like Calendly can be used for automation in this process, and many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) offer this functionality as well. Our Talent Partners also suggest rotating hiring managers to avoid interview burnout and maintain positive engagement levels with both the hiring managers and candidates.

Hurdle 5: You are having trouble successfully finalising candidates.

The Issue

Are you disappointed by your low offer acceptance rate? It can be disheartening when you go through the entire interview process, receive glowing feedback from the hiring manager, and finally extend an offer to the perfect candidate. And then they declined it. It’s a tough blow. How did this happen? They seemed like the ideal fit. They excelled in all assessments, and would have been a valuable addition to your team. They checked all the boxes. But evidently, you didn’t check all of theirs. If this is unexpected, it may be a sign that there are issues with your hiring process. There are problems with the offer itself, the salary, and overall compensation and benefits package, or with how candidates are managed throughout the process. In a worst-case scenario, it could be a combination of all three.

The Solution

When determining the requirements for a position, it is important to establish a budget based on thorough market research and comparisons with similar roles. It is also essential to have a discussion with internal stakeholders to determine if there is any flexibility in the budget. Once the budget is set, it is crucial to be transparent about the salary range for the position from the beginning. According to Glassdoor, 45% of job seekers consider salary and compensation as the most important factors when considering a job. However, many companies are hesitant to disclose this information to candidates, resulting in wasted time for both parties. It is recommended to include salary information in the job advertisement, or at least during the initial application process. Remember, the hiring process is a two-way street, and it is important to respect the time of the candidates you are considering. Our Talent Partners have found it beneficial to have a pre-close conversation with candidates, where they can openly discuss their thoughts on the opportunity, their comfort level with the potential salary package, any concerns or hesitations they may have, and any questions they may have regarding relocation. Asking the candidate directly, “what would prevent you from accepting an offer from us at this point”, can also be helpful in understanding their perspective.

It’s also critical to know if the candidate is speaking with other companies. This question should be asked early in the hiring process, not just so that this doesn’t come as a surprise further down the line, but so that you can speed up timelines if and where needed.

Discover the top 5 common hurdles in the hiring process and learn how to overcome them with our expert guidance. Our strategies help you streamline your recruitment, enhance the candidate experience, and secure the right talent efficiently. Write to us today!

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