Despite the challenging economic climate, many businesses are still struggling to hire the talent they need. The economy may be slowing down, but unemployment rates in the US and Europe are still surprisingly low. This leaves many jobs unfilled and companies all around the world are facing talent shortages and tough-to-fill skills gaps. According to ManpowerGroup, in 2023, 77% of employers report difficulty filling roles – a staggering 17-year high.
HR and Talent Acquisition (TA) leaders are up against many challenges when it comes to recruiting – everything from sourcing candidates that have the critical skills the organization needs, to making sure that sourcing processes are fair and unbiased.
The HR and Talent functions are under a lot of pressure to do more with less, so efficiency and effectiveness of your talent sourcing and hiring processes has never been more important.
So what are the most common sourcing challenges that TA teams like yours are likely to face, and how can you overcome them?
Attracting candidates with the right skills
Skills are becoming the new currency of the workplace. More and more businesses are beginning to adopt a skills-based approach to Talent Lifecycle Management, and are gaining a better understanding of how to determine whether or not they have the right people with the right skills, working in the right roles.
In order to attract and hire candidates with the critical skills your organization needs, you must first have a good understanding of the skills you already have internally. Once you have that knowledge, you can identify the skills gaps that are left, and can focus your hiring efforts on those particular skills.
This is where a lot of companies run into problems – they don’t know what skills they have – which means they don’t know what skills they need to source.
An AI-driven HR tech solution can help shed light on the skills gaps your organization may have, and can help guide recruiters and hiring managers to know which candidates (internal or external) have the critical skills your organization needs to succeed.
Finding the ideal candidate profile
Sometimes businesses identify great candidates, but they are placed in roles that don’t allow them to utilize those skills fully. And other times, the sourcing process takes longer than it should. Both of these scenarios lead to wasted time and money.
If the business is not sourcing the right candidates, it can lead to potentially bad hires. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that companies stand to lose up to one third of the employee’s first year salary for each bad hire. So if the employee makes $90,000 per year, and they turn out to be the wrong fit, it could cost the employer up to $30,000 – which is less than ideal – especially when you consider the current economic conditions.
And if you’re not finding the best-fit candidates efficiently, you are wasting resources and recruiting hours, which pinches the TA team’s budget even more. These costs add up, which is why sourcing candidates with the critical skills you need quickly, and at scale, is vital to sustainable growth and long-term business success.
With the right AI-driven sourcing tool, your recruiters and hiring managers can confidently source candidates knowing that they very likely have the skills that are needed to do the actual work each open role requires.
Building a strong employer brand
A big part of attracting the right candidates is having a strong employer brand. Today’s top candidates research potential employers before they even consider applying for a role or speaking with a recruiter.
9 out of 10 job seekers say they would be more likely to apply for a role if the company’s employer brand is actively maintained. And 78% of job seekers say that the overall candidate experience is an indicator of how well (or not) an employer treats their people.
Building a strong employer brand that will attract the candidates your organization is looking for is crucial for these reasons. Candidates want to understand what it would really be like to work for your organization, before they commit to doing so (or even before they commit to an interview).
During a talent shortage, the employers who put time and energy into maintaining and growing their employer brand will likely attract more (possibly better) candidates, simply for this reason.
To ensure that you can keep up with business demand and the competition, make sure that your employer brand is well defined, and is displayed in all the right places (learn more about that here). Today’s talents desire to see the ‘human’ side of your brand, because that’s what they connect with most.
Sourcing candidates proactively
Far too many businesses have fallen into the reactive recruiting cycle. This means that recruiters only begin to source candidates after a role has opened up and needs to be filled urgently. This is all too common and is “the norm” for many organizations.
This is a costly way of sourcing and hiring for a few reasons: the urgency and immediate need for talent could potentially lead to a bad hire, and other employees on the team have to pick up the slack in the meantime – often leading to burnout. The good news is, there’s a much better way.
With an AI-powered candidate sourcing tool, you can more accurately predict the skills your teams and your organization will need in the future, so you can begin sourcing candidates with those skills now – before the need is dire.
This not only prevents hiring managers from making the wrong hiring decisions, but it also helps take the pressure off of the sourcing and recruiting teams. With the right tools and technology, they know exactly what they need to look for, and they can identify candidates who will be able to fill skills gaps as they open up.
Ensuring your sourcing processes are fair and equitable
Another challenge that many companies are facing is the issue of bias in sourcing. Even with the best intentions, everyone has at least some level of unconscious bias, and this can be extremely problematic in the talent acquisition process. Recruiters and sourcers may be eliminating candidates during the sourcing process prematurely, due to an unconscious bias they don’t even realize they have.
Your organization should be sourcing (and eventually hiring) candidates based on the skills they have, first and foremost. If other characteristics (i.e. socio-economic status, gender, race, religion) come into play, even subconsciously, not only can this prevent your company from meeting diversity targets, but it can also raise some serious concerns around discrimination and can do long-term damage to your brand.
AI-powered tools can be great resources to help sourcers identify better candidates, in a fairer, more equitable way. There are many solutions on the market that claim to help businesses source faster, or find better-quality candidates, but buyer beware – not all AI is the same.
It’s critical that when you select an AI-powered sourcing and hiring solution, that you choose one that has been audited by a third-party to ensure that the tool actually reduces and minimizes bias in the sourcing process, not the other way around.
With a fairer and more equitable sourcing process, you can be confident that no qualified candidate profiles are being overlooked. And of course, your employees and leaders can enjoy the benefits of having a more inclusive, diverse and equitable work environment.
Finding the right candidates with the right skills in today’s market is no small task. But you can take a lot of the guesswork (and the manual work) out of your recruiting process, with the right tools that can help you tackle your toughest talent challenges.