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7 Struggles Companies Face Attracting Quality Talent

Guest Post by Michael Klazema

The goal of every hiring process is to hire the best talent for the job. But what happens if the best people aren’t applying in the first place?

Many businesses struggle to attract top-tier talent for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the issue is location. Sometimes, the business is not well-known. Sometimes, the company has a reputation for being a dissatisfying place to work. Regardless of the reason, every business needs to be able to attract good people to achieve the best results.

Here are seven of the most common hurdles businesses face in bringing top talent to the table and what you can do to solve the problem:

Standing Out From the Crowd

The challenge:

During the recession, employers had all the power. There was a shortage of jobs and a surplus of people desperate to have them. Companies had the pick of the litter as far as top talent was concerned. Today, the economy has bounced back, and the job market has reversed. Now, demand for skilled, qualified people outpaces supply. With so many enterprises competing for top talent, it’s harder for companies—especially smaller businesses—to cut through the noise and attract the best people.

The solution:

It’s all about employer brand. If you’re not in a place to woo the best workers with higher salaries, you must win their attention by offering the best place to work. Promoting a vibrant company culture, offering creative perks and benefits, and maintaining a fun, active social media presence are all things that will help you stand out from the crowd.

A Shortage of Skills

The challenge:

Not only are companies competing for the best people; they are also competing for the most qualified people. In high-demand fields like engineering, software development, and nursing, employers are fighting to find people with the specialized skills and qualifications necessary to perform the job at hand.

The solution:

Remember not to settle for an unqualified worker just because finding top talent is difficult. Stay selective with who you interview, and use skills tests, reference checks, or background verification to make sure people you are thinking about hiring are as qualified as they claim to be.

Location

The challenge:

Talented professionals—especially recent graduates—tend to flock to urban areas to take high-paying jobs with name-brand companies. Businesses located in less desirable areas naturally end up drawing from a limited applicant pool. For these companies, location is arguably the single biggest barrier to attracting top talent.

The solution:

If possible, give employees the opportunity to work remotely. By letting people telecommute, you can bring world class talent into the fold from afar. Plus, with remote workers, you save money on office space, technology, and more.

Shift in Employee Needs

The challenge:

Millennials are looking for more from their work benefits than just health insurance and 401(k) contributions. If you are offering modest paychecks, spicing up your benefits package might be your best bet for attracting great people.

The solution:

Get creative. There are so many cool benefits you can offer your employees: wellness programs, onsite gyms or fitness classes, office book clubs, spa services, free snacks and drinks, generous maternity and paternity leave, flex time — the list goes on and on. Adding just two or three unique perks to your benefits package can help you stand out from other employers.

Offering a Positive Candidate Experience

The challenge:

Candidate experience is vital if you want good people to seek opportunities with your business. Everything from the ease of submitting the application to the level of communication throughout the interview process can impact how prospects see your company. The problem is, while every business hires people, most are not hiring experts – meaning more room for mistakes.

The solution: 

Simplicity, communication, and speed are the most important factors to remember with candidate experience. Keep the process simple, and keep lines of communication open with every single person you interview. Finally, try to move quickly. If you wait several weeks to review resumes, send interview invitations, or make job offers, the best candidates are going to lose interest or be scooped up by other employers.

Getting Past the “Stepping Stone” Mentality

The challenge:

Young professionals tend to view jobs more as stepping stones than as long-term careers. They are more likely to work a job for a few years and then move on than settle in and devote a big chunk of their life to your business.

The solution:

A big factor at work here is salary. Statistics show that talented professionals can get much bigger pay increases by moving from one business to the next than they can through annual raises at a single company. If you can establish a reputation for rewarding your best people with raises and promotions, you’ll improve retention. You can also invest in your employees in other ways with ongoing learning and development opportunities.

Disorganized or Inconsistent Interviewing Processes

The challenge:

From unclear job descriptions to hiring managers who can’t answer fundamental questions about the job at hand, a disorganized interview process will hinder the applicant experience and send talented professionals toward the door.

The solution:

You must show candidates you know what you are doing. First, plan a consistent interviewing process to follow every time you fill a position. If you are creating a new job, sit down and sketch out the responsibilities and required skills fully. The more you do to prepare—and the more consistent you are from one hiring process to the next—the more professional your business will seem.

Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.