Broken recruitment

To many, it seems like recruitment is broken.

Businesses are struggling to attract – and keep – top talent, complaining there’s a shortage of it.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of talented and skilled job seekers out there wondering exactly what recruiters are looking for.

So why is this happening? And can we mend this situation, or do we just have to make do?

To answer these questions, I partnered up with Claire Angus, who’s the Head of Recruitment at Cambridge Network, and Business Psychologist Kelly Drewery.

Together, we spoke to over a hundred UK-based businesses and workers to find out about their experiences of recruitment and retention in today’s turbulent job market, and to understand the major challenges they’re facing.

From these conversations, we identified the top 6 issues that businesses say are causing them the most concern.

1 Workforce planning has hit the rocks

The jobs market has experienced some pretty choppy waters over the past few years. Factors like Brexit and the pandemic have rocked the recruitment boat, making it harder for businesses to plan both their workforce and their work spaces more than a few months in advance.

44% of recruiters are finding it harder to work out where people could be physically based to do their job.

But there are risks to short-term, reactive workforce planning – such as taking on the wrong candidates, or overlooking potential talent you already employ. The challenge for businesses is how to plan proactively and for the long term to help steady the ship.

2 Speeding up the recruitment process could mean hiring the wrong people

Many businesses are finding that if they don’t keep up with the fast pace of recruitment, they’re losing out to competitors. In-demand candidates may have multiple offers on the table, so it’s crucial to get in there first. But rushing the recruitment process could mean there isn’t enough time to properly assess whether someone’s right for the job.

The pace of it, having to recruit fast and taking what is available, I constantly worry – have we got the right people?”

So how can businesses speed things up without making costly mistakes?

3 It’s harder to find the right talent

These days the job market seems to be made up of round workforce holes and square-peg candidates who just don’t fit. Recruiters are struggling to know who to target, making it more difficult to hire the right quality of candidates.

“There don’t seem to be enough candidates to fill the roles. Maybe we need to rethink what a good candidate is?”

Workers think that recruitment is broken and are puzzling over what employers actually want. To overcome this mismatch, businesses need to rethink who they hire, and how they attract and select them.

4 Negotiating a competitive employment deal is a headache

With the right candidates seemingly in short supply, competitors are hiking up salaries to attract top talent. And counter offers are more prevalent than ever before – a high percentage of workers are deciding to stay with their current employers after being offered more money.

So how can employers find that balance between offering new recruits attractive and competitive employment deals, and making sure current employees get a fair deal too? And what can businesses with limited cash do to compete?

47% of employers are finding it more difficult to negotiate a suitable deal with candidates.

5 Onboarding isn’t working any more

It can be soul-destroying to go through the whole recruitment process only to lose your brand-new employee before they’ve even got started.

36% of employers have noticed a greater number of new recruits are leaving during onboarding.

This is a particular problem with hybrid working where new recruits are finding it difficult to get up to speed with the job, to bond with their new colleagues, and to really get to know the business and its brand. So how can businesses adapt their onboarding to reflect the move to hybrid working?

6 Retaining new staff has become a big issue, particularly in the first year

Recruitment can sometimes feel like a merry-go-round – as one person gets on, another gets off. This constant cycle is fuelling a reluctance to invest in training and development. But a lack of training and development is one of the reasons workers leave their jobs.

Other reasons cited are having to deal with overwhelming workloads when a business is experiencing staff shortages, and missing out on the social aspects of work caused by the move to hybrid working. And so the carousel continues, round and round. But what can businesses do to stop it?

A fifth of recruiters we spoke to reported that it was becoming increasingly difficult to retain new recruits in their first year.

The challenges outlined above are causing businesses real pain – but the good news is, they can be overcome.

Make do or mend?

Earlier on, I asked whether it’s possible for the broken recruitment process to be mended – and my answer to this is ‘Yes!’

Fellow recruitment, retention and diversity specialists Kelly Drewery, Sarah Stones and Jo Stansfield and I run a series of half day masterclasses designed to address your recruitment and retention concerns. If you’d like to find out how we can tailor these sessions to meet your needs, please get in touch.

And if you’d like to read more about our research, you can find all the details in the report we’ve put together: Bridging the Recruitment Gap.