10 Recruitment Challenges Every Company Faces and How to Fix Them

12 Jun 14:00 by Jamie Silman


Whether you’re a recruitment consultant at an agency or an internal HR manager, it’s likely you’ve faced some of the same recruitment challenges.

The job market has changed drastically, giving candidates the upper hand in the process, and it’s important for companies to do more than just post a job vacancy to an online job board and wait for the perfect candidate to apply!

If you’re having trouble recruiting, this list of 10 common recruitment challenges will help you get a better understanding of why they occur, and how you can fix them.


1. Attracting and Engaging Qualified Candidates

With the UK’s unemployment at its lowest level since 1974, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to attract and engage qualified candidates for their open positions.

It’s very much a candidate-driven market, meaning it’s often the companies who are competing, rather than the candidates.

Employees who have decided to make the move will have applied to a number of different positions, and good candidates will be snatched up quickly.


How to fix it

For your business to attract quality candidates, you have to advertise your jobs where they’re looking. Putting a job opening on your website and waiting for applications to roll in might have worked a few years ago, but it just doesn’t cut it any more.

In fact, with the emphasis candidates are putting on making multiple applications, as many as 42.9% search using a job board and 32.1% search using career sites; so make sure you’re advertising on the right platforms for your industry.


2. Reaching Passive Candidates

With unemployment levels so low, it’s been estimated that only 30% of the global workforce are actively looking for a new role. However, a whopping 74% of the workforce were open to making a move for a job in 2016, meaning that reaching passive candidates should be a priority for every business.

But finding passive candidates can be tough because, by definition, they aren’t looking for a new position. This means they won’t be browsing job boards or looking at job adverts on LinkedIn.


How to fix it

Reaching passive candidates means you’ll have to take advantage of your network.

Encouraging employee referrals and networking at industry events can help to uncover potential candidates who aren’t actively looking to change jobs, but might consider it after hearing about how great things are at your company.

It has the added bonus of giving you the chance to get to know them before having them apply for a role.


3. Finding Local Candidates

A major challenge that smaller companies often face is trying to find qualified candidates who live within commuting distance of their business.

People only want to commute so far, and the skillsets available in your area will have a big impact on how easily you can find new employees.


How to fix it

Unfortunately, this is one of the more difficult problems to solve.

If people with the right qualifications don’t live within a commutable distance there are a couple of options.

  1. Improve your package to encourage people to relocate.
  2. Advertise the job as a role in the nearest city and allow flexible working
  3. Bring in someone with less experience and invest in training them

These can all be costly, but they can also be a great way to make the role more accessible to a wider range of people.


4. Slow Hiring Time 

Try thinking back to the last time you applied for a new job.

It probably involved sending applications to a long list of companies, answering the same questions repeatedly in telephone discussions with HR Managers and Recruiters, and organizing interviews with a few companies before finally accepting an offer.

It’s hard work, and candidates want to move on with the process as quickly as possible in the same way that you want them to start as quickly as possible.

The average time to hire in the UK is 27.5 days. And it should come as no surprise that as much as 57% of job seekers lose interest in a job if the hiring process is too long.


How to fix it

Having a concise and documented recruitment process will help reduce the time between identifying a need and the new starter’s first day.

Make sure any staff who are responsible for hiring are aware of the process and follow your guidelines to ensure there are no delays, and the process runs as smoothly as possible.


5. Retaining Top Employees

Finding and hiring great employees is just the tip of the iceberg – once you’ve found them the next challenge is creating an environment in which they want to stay!

It’s estimated that 75% of the global workforce will be made up of millennials by 2025, and they’re often looking for more than just a competitive salary, so what are you offering that’s making your company stand out?


How to fix it

Revisit your incentives scheme and try to incorporate perks that go above and beyond, or at the very least match, what your competitors are offering.

The days of a fully stocked beer fridge and a few ping pong tables keeping people interested are long gone. Many companies are now offering flexible hours and remote working options, so if you’re not offering these perks employees may be tempted to look elsewhere.


6. Building a Strong Brand

With a wealth of information available at our fingertips, candidates now have the power to look into a company’s history before they even send their application!

According to Glassdoor, a job applicant will read six reviews about a company before forming an opinion about them, and 69% of job-seekers will not accept a job with a company if it has a bad reputation, so making sure you have a strong brand will help ensure you’re not missing out on the best candidates.


How to fix it

Spend time talking to your candidates to get a better understanding of how you can improve your processes and turn them into advocates.

Work with your marketing team to help show what life is really like at your company. You could encourage employees to build their personal brands, which will all showcase the culture you’ve created within your business, and help you to attract more like-minded people.


7. Ensuring a Good Candidate Experience

With such a low level of unemployment, it’s no wonder candidate experience can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your recruitment.

Candidates have the power to pick and choose the jobs they apply for, and will often avoid overly-complicated application processes.

In fact, 60% of job-seekers admitted they’d stopped filling out a job application because the process was too long.

But interestingly, creating a good candidate experience doesn’t just help you attract more candidates; 15% of job-seekers put forth more effort into their position if they had a positive hiring experience!


How to fix it

Simple things like including basic information, like salary scale and perks, into your job adverts will help to ensure people only apply to roles that suit them; reducing any negative feelings towards your company when someone finds out their long-winded application process was for a position paying half of their current salary!

Treat your candidates the way you’d want to be treated. Let them know if there are delays in the process, keep them up to date on how things are progressing, and definitely let them know if they’ve been unsuccessful in their application!


8. Recruiting Fairly

Having a team made up from a diverse group of employees has many benefits.

Different cultures and backgrounds can help your businesses build a better understanding of customers’ problems, and research has shown that diverse teams can solve problems more quickly.


How to fix it

Using a job description and person specification helps to ensure you’re comparing candidates based on their abilities; reducing the chance of unconscious bias affecting the decision, and a diverse interview panel will help to reduce hires being made on “gut-feeling.”


9. Reactive Hiring

Almost every company is guilty of reactive recruitment.

Someone hands in their notice, or receives a promotion, and only then does the job search begin. It seems like a logical process.

But it could be as long as 2 – 3 months between finding and interviewing a candidate, giving them time to work their notice period, and them actually start the job.

Taking a proactive approach means you’re constantly working to create a network of passive candidates, which allows you to react more quickly and reduces your time to hire.


How to fix it

Having a strong employer brand can help attract candidates to submit speculative applications, or to respond to job roles quickly when they appear, and creating a database of candidates can also help to improve the speed at which roles are filled.

If a role needs to be filled quickly, hiring a contractor could be a great way to give yourself more time to find the perfect candidate, but this can be costly depending on the skill level of the employee you’ll be replacing.


10. Not Making the Most of Data

There are a whole host of metrics companies can track to help improve their hiring process, but often it can be difficult to know how to make the most of the data given how much we have available these days.

It can be tempting to ignore the numbers, and opt instead for a more traditional approach, but using the data you have available can have a huge impact on your business over the long term.

How to fix it

At the very least you should keep track of your time to hire and cost per hire, and your marketing team should be able to help you track the source where your best candidates are coming from.

These can usually be handled by an ATS and will allow you to focus your efforts and reduce expenses for future hires.



We get it – this can seem like a daunting list!

It’s all too common for companies to be making several of these mistakes in their recruiting process, so don’t be discouraged if your company has made a few!

But if you’re committed to improving your recruitment processes, you’ll be rewarded with a much more efficient hiring process, and more time to focus on the smaller jobs that normally get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.

Start by looking at the list of challenges to see which sound familiar, and begin keeping track of the mistakes your company might be making. Once you have a good idea of the stumbling blocks you keep bumping into, you can start to work towards improving those areas of your recruitment process first.

Good luck!


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If you’re looking for an engineering recruitment specialist, Entech have over 20 years of experience in finding and placing top engineering talent at industry leading firms.

If you’re hiring engineers, get in touch with a member of the Entech team today and let us find you the perfect candidate.