10 common recruitment challenges for HR professionals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Recruitment is an integral part of any HR professional's role and critical for helping an organisation build a thriving workforce ready to support business growth. The entire recruitment process is sometimes relatively complex, especially if an HR professional is hiring for multiple roles at once. It's common for HR professionals to face several challenges during the hiring process, which you can mitigate with proper preparation and by understanding how they usually unfold. In this article, we explore ten common recruitment challenges for HR professionals and how to work through these challenges.

Related: What does an HR recruiter do?

10 recruitment challenges for HR professionals

Understanding the typical recruitment challenges for HR professionals helps you plan accordingly and establish potential solutions before the issues arise. Knowing how you might address these different challenges is crucial for maximising success and creating a more efficient hiring process. Ten of the most common of these challenges include:

1. Attracting the right candidates

A common struggle for HR professionals working in recruitment is finding the right candidates for the position they're advertising. Screening applications is a time-consuming responsibility, particularly if an HR officer is going through hundreds of applications or hiring for multiple positions at once. One way of mitigating this issue is ensuring the job description is properly refined and establishes a clear list of necessary skills and job requirements. This is a quick way of attracting the right people and supporting a ‘pre-screening' process to identify individuals not right for the role.

You may also consider using part of the job description to talk about the brand of the business, the benefits available to the position and the culture you've developed within the workplace. This gives candidates an idea of how you operate. Some HR professionals choose to add qualifiers to a job description, including questions that help them quickly select the most qualified candidates. Finally, consider providing a salary range and outline the career development that the position may provide. This allows an applicant to get a good idea of the experience level needed and potential progression for successful candidates.

Related: Finding the best candidate for every job

2. Creating a positive hiring experience

Having a hiring process that's positive for both the employer and the employee is vital for building a brand's reputation. On a practical level, if a candidate feels the experience was negative or unprofessional, they may reject a job offer. Likewise, if the hiring experience was positive, they're more likely to respond to communication. Improve the hiring experience by speaking with current employees and getting their feedback on the different aspects of the interview, including the standard of communication and professionalism. This allows you to identify weaknesses and improve upon them.

A positive hiring process also helps recruitment once an employee leaves. If an individual had a good time with the organisation, they're more likely to be advocates for the brand. Positive reviews and employee testimonials often have an impact on applicants who are researching the organisation during their application. This improves brand reputation and attracts applicants looking for an organisation with a specific environment or culture.

Related: How to become an HR coordinator and the skills required

3. Engaging passive applicants

Passive candidates are individuals not actively seeking work but open to hearing about new employment opportunities. They differ from active candidates who are actively searching for a new role in that they aren't typically looking at recruitment websites or working alongside a recruitment agency.

Social media helps a brand engage with passive candidates. Many individuals open to work follow different organisations on social media or have job alerts set up, which are both channels you may use to target and engage with potential applicants. Consider posting more on social media about your work culture and how your employees are progressing within their roles. This presents a positive environment to external parties and may persuade some passive candidates to contact you. You may also take a more proactive approach and invite applicants to events or roles you feel are suitable.

Related: HR metrics and KPIs: Definition, characteristics and examples

4. Hiring without bias

It's critical to have a standard hiring process to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias. There are many different strategies for eliminating bias, which may open up your applicant pool and ensure you attract top talent. A relatively simple change is ensuring that you ask all candidates the same questions, which allows you to directly compare answers on the same flat criteria. Attending sensitivity training and diversity workshops also helps an HR professional learn more about avoiding bias. Finally, assemble a diverse team during the hiring process, as this provides multiple perspectives around a candidate.

Related: Why is HR important? An essential guide

5. Building an efficient workflow

Having a streamlined recruitment process is a good way of ensuring you create a positive and efficient hiring experience for both employers and potential employees. Streamline the recruitment of new hires by simplifying complex steps or automating certain workflow elements. Start by identifying any weaknesses or bottlenecks in the wider operation. You may implement software to help with candidate screening or management. This removes time-consuming tasks from the role and allows an HR professional to focus on choosing the right candidate.

Related: How to conduct an interview (with tips and advice)

6. Choosing the right candidate

Even if an HR professional creates a positive experience, a final challenge is choosing the right candidate for the role. Selecting the wrong candidate may cause problems in the future and result in reduced revenue, productivity or employee relationships. It's crucial to avoid this by implementing the best practices as early as possible in the selection process. Interviewing candidates is vital for identifying someone that fits both the role and the company culture. You may use tasks to evaluate a candidate's technical ability or implement scorecards that measure suitability.

7. Adopting a data-led approach to hiring

A modern approach to recruitment is working from data that you've accrued or found through external research. You may identify patterns in successful hires and apply this to your current recruitment efforts. Metrics to consider are qualifications, past performance and experience. If you find that applicants who regularly move between roles tend to be more productive for a limited period, you can use this knowledge in the future.

Using data allows a business to remove assumptions from their hiring process and supports a team in reducing the potential for hiring bias. This data-led approach may apply to an entire team, as collaboration helps build an overall picture of what metrics you want to track and those that are successful. This leads to more informed decisions, which underpin long-term success. Only track metrics that are relevant and useful. Once you have a framework in mind, regularly review your performance and see how different trends might help you refine your recruitment.

Related: What is organisational development? (With benefits and tips)

8. Adapting to new technology

Depending on your organisation, the software and techniques you use during recruitment drives may differ. Many modern recruitment solutions attempt to make the process more efficient, but implementing these in an established operation may face challenges. For an HR professional, properly researching new technology that streamlines certain tasks or acts as an all-in-one solution is typically the best option. You may formally pitch a product or give the reasoning for switching to a new platform, which requires good communication skills and the ability to convey your thought process.

Related: The interview process: a complete guide

9. Hiring for multiple roles at once

It's not uncommon for HR professionals to regularly recruit for multiple positions at once. As organisations grow, the need for new employees with new skill sets also increases. This is a challenge for HR professionals, but they may mitigate the problem by adopting organisational software or common time-management techniques. It's beneficial to prioritise vital tasks against other responsibilities and ensure that candidates receive regular communication and updates on their progress across all open roles.

If you're working as part of a larger HR team, collaborate with other team members to manage the workload. Establish a standard workflow that makes sense to each colleague and which allows your team to deal with busier periods more effectively. You may use group sessions to set mandatory criteria for each open role and get feedback on how a candidate has performed, as this provides the opportunity for a broader range of perspectives.

10. Taking a proactive hiring approach

A proactive approach to recruitment is the concept of building a talent pool that you can contact as roles open up. As you hire successful candidates, keep other applicants' records on file so that if a similar role appears, you have an immediate option to choose from. You may also invite people to your talent pool if they enquire about a position. Managing a talent pool is a core part of an HR professional's role if they're heavily involved in recruitment, and it's often made easier by adopting organisational software such as spreadsheets or databases.


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