The 5 Most Common Recruiting Ailments for SMBs and Startups

Last week, I talked about the importance of focusing on your company’srecruiting priorities when choosing an applicant tracking system (and in the process, ‘fessed up to my own software purchasing blunder).

This week, I thought it would be helpful to share the five recruiting ailments that we most commonly observe in the course of talking to hundreds of small to midsize businesses and startups around the world. Whether they’re based in Seattle or Sydney, Sao Paolo or Stockholm, it’s uncanny how frequently these same five challenges present themselves.

Which ones are all too familiar to you?

  • Diagnosis: Application Agony
    Sample symptoms: “Candidates aren’t applying!”; “I’m struggling with our employee referrals process!”

    It’s a noisy, competitive world out there. Today’s candidates exhibit varying levels of intent as they consider jobs (from super-passive to actively jobseeking), and the better ones are bombarded by opportunities. In that context, companies often struggle to attract the quality applicants they need.

    When is technology the culprit? Sometimes, the company’s application process is not at all applicant-friendly. As Workplace Trends research has shown, 60 percent of job seekers say they have quit applying to a position due to the length or complexity of the application process – and that number will only continue to rise as we become ever more mobile-dependent. Try applying to one of your own jobs and see what kind of hoops you’re making your own candidates jump through.

    In other instances, a company doesn’t have software in place that enables employees to easily make referrals. If you don’t think that’s putting you at a disadvantage, consider this: one in 16 employee referrals is hired (and one in 12 if you have fewer than 200 employees). So if your entire team can’t quickly submit referrals using, say, a browser extension, and track the progress of their referred candidates, you’re cutting off a major source of quality candidates.

  • Diagnosis: Sourcing Stress
    Sample symptoms: “I don’t know how to source candidates, so I don’t do it!”; “I’m stuck managing passive candidates in spreadsheets!”; “I want to build a talent pipeline where I can keep track of future candidates!”

    Hiring has utterly transformed over the last 10-15 years. As LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends research reminds us, 90 percent of professionals are interested in hearing about new job opportunities, but only one-third of the workforce is actively looking to make a move. So if you aren’t proactively reaching out to passive candidates to start a conversation, you’re missing out on the majority of the viable talent pool.

    I won’t pretend for a second that sourcing is easy – but then again, technology often makes it harder than it needs to be. Sometimes we see companies struggling to get sourcing efforts off the ground because they can’t easily pull passive talent into their ATS and easily message them. Other times, recruiters resort to keeping spreadsheets on the side and end up managing these vital candidates outside their ATS (pro tip: if you find yourself using a spreadsheet to keep track of passive talent, stop. It’s time to find recruiting software that better meets your needs). And without technology that is built to coordinate reach outs, it’s pretty darn difficult be timely, relevant and organized in a way that will impress your dream hire.

  • Diagnosis: Scheduling Shenanigans
    Sample Symptoms: “Scheduling interviews is the bane of my existence!”; “I’m losing candidate interactions in my inbox!”

    Once you’re ready to move forward with a candidate, then comes the fun part of scheduling them for a screen or an onsite interview. I use the word “fun” ironically of course, because the average ATS makes it anything but.

    If you find yourself juggling multiple calendar windows while trying to set up an interview panel, or cursing interviewers when the need arises to reschedule, it’s probably a sign that it’s time to explore technology that will make your life significantly easier. Today’s better ATS options sync seamlessly with your email and calendar, provide visibility into the actual availability of every interviewer, and even let you book conference rooms right within the ATS. So with this ailment in particular, there’s a clear known cure.

  • Diagnosis: Interviewing Irritations
    Sample symptoms: “My interviewers bombard me in Slack or email right before an interview for details they should know!”; I spend my life chasing down interview feedback!”

    Recruiting, when done well, is a synchronized team sport. The right information – candidate resume, interview logistics and key questions to ask, feedback from the interviewer – flows from system to employee and back at the right time, enabling recruiters, hiring managers and interviewers alike to do their job well and deliver a stronger candidate experience.

    Unfortunately, we often encounter the reverse when we talk to frustrated hiring teams, and technology is to a great extent the culprit. I once worked at a company where the recruiter would literally roam around the building for hours, pouncing on errant interviewers who had gone to great lengths to avoid using the legacy software the company had deployed to ‘manage’ recruiting. Meanwhile, I’d be in a tailspin heading into an interview with a candidate, because I lacked clear instructions on what my colleague wanted me to focus on in the interview, and the simplest things – like accessing the candidate’s resume on the go – were way harder than they should have been.

    If you are facing similar engagement problems across your organization, you need to face the truth: your candidates can tell this is a struggle, and it may not end well if you’re trying to hire them. It’s time to find a system that gives every member of your team instant and direct access to all the candidate’s details and the interview kit they should be following, while making simple – fun, even – to submit feedback. Bonus points for technology that integrates seamlessly with the technology your interviewers already live in, whether that’s email or Slack.  

  • Diagnosis: Reporting Rut
    Sample Symptoms: “I have no idea what parts of my recruiting process are working/ not working!”; “We don’t really report on specific recruiting metrics!”; “I need to pull advanced reports for my executive team!”

    Whether you have a fully built-out recruiting team, are a one-person function, or have yet to hire your first recruiter, reporting remains a real struggle for many companies. Many systems lack easily accessible reporting that delivers fast answers to key questions like “How effective are my various sources of hire?”, or “How quickly are candidates moving through our pipeline?”

    Meanwhile, as recruiting becomes a higher priority at your organization, executives are bound to have key questions that you’re going to want to answer in a hurry. A lot of the recruiting community still seems to be getting to grips with reporting; if it’s a major source of pain for you today, you’ll want to spend time laying out the metrics you’d like to be able to measure in order to know whether your recruiting efforts are on track or not.

    If one or more of these ailments resonates with you, here’s the good news: modern recruiting software can help you overcome them. For more details on how to choose the right recruiting software for your company, download our guide How to Choose an Applicant Tracking System in 5 Steps, or drop us a line.