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The Immediate Suspects: Tackling Recruitment Challenges Head-On

Struggling with recruitment? It's easy to blame factors like budget, location, or market conditions. But what if these 'immediate suspects' aren't the real culprits?

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Jun 7, 2024

In the recruitment process, a few “immediate suspects” come to mind when answering the question, “Why is it so hard for us to recruit employees?” Although these “immediate suspects” certainly have an impact, focusing on them hinders our ability to recruit for a simple reason: we have no control over the market, budget, or location. However, there are other factors we can influence.

It’s important to note that despite our instincts, these prominent factors are often not the main reasons for recruitment difficulties. Sometimes, what is hidden from our sight is much more significant.

But first, let’s introduce the “immediate suspects.”

The leading immediate suspect is money.  People often say, “We are a non-profit/small company/social organization/government body, so we don’t have much money to offer in salaries. People come but don’t want to stay because of the pay.” Money affects employee salaries, the recruitment management system, marketing campaigns, and general online advertising and recruitment funds.

The second immediate suspect is the organization’s location. This is often phrased as, “We are located too far in the north/south/periphery, and there is no convenient public transportation to reach us.” Candidates cite leaving due to the distance, or conversely, “We are in the center, and there is a lot of competition around us.”

The third immediate suspect is the market. Common statements include difficulties in recruiting “because of the war,” “because of the pandemic,” or “it’s a candidate’s market.”

The truth? I completely understand the frustration, difficulty, and tough feelings. When there is a war, your budget isn’t approved, or more candidates withdraw due to salary issues, it seems like these are the reasons. I’m not ignoring this; some will withdraw their candidacy because of the salary offered.

But you and others work there with the salary the organization can offer. Some people will be willing to work despite market and location conditions. That’s the reality, and there’s no way to change it. The challenge is finding a way to recruit despite circumstances beyond our control.

What is in our control?

We need to build a recruitment process that attracts people who know and are connected to the organization. When candidates are emotionally connected and motivated to work with us, even a lower salary won’t be a deterrent. This can be achieved by attracting candidates through referrals, such as a friend bringing a friend.

Another effective method is building a community for professionals in our field or recruiting from our customer base, who already know and trust us. Recruiting through customers can be a significant channel for organizations whose products or services are sold locally. Additionally, reaching out to past candidates or former employees, making internal transfers, or offering professional retraining to current employees looking for new challenges can provide many opportunities.

Placing a lot of emphasis on the candidate’s experience. Communicate with candidates, update them on their status throughout the process, conduct satisfaction surveys about the process, and ensure they receive professional and good treatment from the interviewers along the way. Ensure that interviewers conduct professional interviews, have been trained in interviewing, and do not ask questions like “What does your husband do?” or “How will you manage the commute?” and also not “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and a host of other less effective and more annoying questions from the candidates’ perspective.

Dealing with biases and narrow profiles defined by managers. Managers might specify preferences like “only men,” “only young people,” “only Russian speakers,” or “only Technion graduates,” which limit the pool of suitable candidates. Raising awareness of these biases and providing tools for conducting professional interviews will help prevent the loss of good candidates who might otherwise be overlooked.

Transforming the organization into a recruiting organization. By enlisting the management, recruiting managers, and various teams to take an active part in the organization’s recruitment processes. From advertising to locating candidates through involvement in the interviewing and screening process. The more employees throughout the organization see themselves as part of the process, the easier it will be for you to attract and locate accurate candidates.

Training managers in situational-behavioral interviewing. I have already touched on the power of interviews to influence the experience, prevent biases, and create a process people enjoy. More than anything, a situational-behavioral interview helps us predict the organization’s suitability more accurately. Training managers and the recruitment/human resources team create a common language and a basis for screening and selection based on facts from the field – concrete examples that attest to the candidates’ performance.

These are just a few strategies you can focus on to succeed despite the challenges. I hope you find some useful ideas here for recruiting in your organization. I would also love to hear about your success stories from the field.

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