The Biggest Challenges in Talent Acquisition:

Recruiting talent is never easy. It takes time, effort, and the right acumen. Here is what experts have to say about the biggest challenges our industry faces in recruiting talent:

Stacey Wetterer, Director of Management Programs at Cintas said, “If you are 100% sure you have found the right candidate, you will be right 75% of the time”.

Her comment makes you wonder, even when you are sure you are making the wrong hiring decision 25% of the time, how much is this costing your company (in both hard and soft dollars)? And why are we making these costly mistakes for at least one out of four candidates recruited.

Today, the talent industry is being disrupted by new generations entering the workforce, technological advances that dramatically impact how we live and work, and changing demands- from the customers our businesses serve to the employees we hire.

Let’s look at the some of the biggest talent acquisition challenges:

  1. We need to acknowledge the change

“The only constant is change and we all hate change. Some more than the others. We have to find a way to embrace change, get motivated by it and harness it rather than fear it. It’s like losing weight. We all know how to lose weight (eat the right foods, eat at the right times, eat the right amounts, exercise, drink plenty of water, get eight hours sleep, etc.), yet many of us don’t. So, we know change is coming and will continue to come. The question is: how will we respond or react?”

­– William Tincup, President at Recruiting Daily

With today’s labour shortages and skills gaps, employers are not only racing to hire the best and the brightest, but also trying to define future of work. To contend with rapid (and often uncertain) change, employers are turning to recruitment operations for the answer. By implementing centralised, streamlined recruitment operations, recruiters can help their companies prepare for the future of work by anticipating industry trends, combating global talent shortages and identifying how other external forces may affect the company talent pool.


  1. We need to move beyond transition recruiting

“Recruiting is not set up to succeed in the new world of talent. We are still asking recruiters to think transactionally: put the butt in the seat. The future is about building relationships. The future is about seeing and leveraging the entire company to find and grow talent. The future is connecting recruiting closer to the business and leadership and not just to HR. The future is asking recruiters not to burn through more applications in an hour, but to do the things that actually attract those amazing talents.

–  James Ellis- Consultant, Author, Podcaster, Speaker

Today, it’s not about filling a position just to fill it, it’s about cultivating relationships and creating an outstanding candidate experience. Recruiters can address these challenges by implementing a robust candidate relationship management (CRM) strategy. Recruitment CRM, makes candidate engagement more personal and direct, which is becoming increasingly important to younger generations. And by leveraging technology (e.g., effective use of social media platform), recruiters can build stronger candidate relationships at scale, powering talent pipeline growth.

“As we turn lens toward candidate-centered design, we have a huge opportunity to improve outcomes for companies and candidates.”

– Adam Godson- Senior Vice President, Global Technology Solutions at Cielo


  1. We need to recruit for new Jobs and Careers

 “Employers’ need for analytics and technology specialists has grown faster than the talent pool, making the “Talent war” very real! “

– Lauren Santimauro, Campus Recruiting Manager at A.T Kearney

The future of work is here. From remote positions to the GIG economy, the way we work has changed dramatically over the past several years. According to Deloitte, in the next decade,47% of today’s jobs will disappear. Further,58% of employees think they will have a new career in the next five years.

Shannon Gaydos, a senior global talent strategist at Boeing and founder of ‘The 2050 Project’, has commented that school curriculums are not keeping pace with technology, leaving an entire generation unprepared for work. For example, Gaydos notes that 65% of students in USA in primary school today will end up in jobs that don’t yet exist, effectively disrupting the traditional model of college career. In India things are no different and we may be even worse than this.

  1. We need to cater to the rise of GIG economy:

As millennials become more aware and connected these days, they prefer work opportunities that give them more than just financial freedom. They are looking for freedom to work remotely and to fix their own hours. Even companies are looking to optimise the size of their workforce by hiring employees on contractual or short-term project basis. GIG economy is creating 56% employment in the country and is growing at a rate of 20% to 30% annually. As flexible hiring becomes the way to maximise efficiency for growing organisations, hiring managers need to do away with traditional hiring methods and look for newer avenues for sourcing and attracting the right talent.

GIG workers are not likely to be attracted by traditional perks of a regular job such as job security, benefits etc. Therefore, recruiters need to identify other things such as challenging and meaningful work, and higher flexibility to attract the new-age workers. Hiring leaders will also have to apply an increased focus on building a strong employer brand, as working for well reputed, socially responsible brands is a rising trend among millennial employees.

5.We need to focus on developing strong Leadership:

With increasing ambiguity in the market, companies are required to have a clear long-term vision in place, with a strong leadership to drive it. The challenge has gone beyond hiring good talent and has moved to retaining and developing them into business leaders. It is of vital importance that firms train their first-time and junior employees for future leadership. Despite 83% companies knowing that leaders can emerge at any level in the organisation, only 55% of them have implemented leadership development programs for all levels.

The responsibility of HR managers has to be expanded from just hiring ‘A-list’ talent for filling company positions to aligning their current talent’s career aspirations with company goals. It is essential for the leadership to support their HR in providing a clear career development path to high potential employees (HIPO). This is becoming a steadfast way for developing loyalists who envision their future along with the company. Futuristic companies such as EY, Upwork and Paycor, Unilever, P&G etc offer great innovation learning and growth programs to their employees to prepare them for leadership roles.

6.We need to leverage new technologies and digitization

Today, technology is constantly changing and HR is not untouched by digitization and other technological advancements. From sourcing talent to shortlisting the best candidates to assessing the best fits, all hiring processes are now being revolutionized due to technology. The HR today is also responsible for helping employees adapt to changes due to technology and innovation. In addition, talent development through reskilling and upskilling has become one of the critical tasks for HR professionals.

  1. We need to increase focus on the employee experience

As challenging as it is to hire HIPOs today, it is even more difficult to engage and retain them. Due to the huge expenses attached to employee turn-over, the emphasis on retaining high performing employees has never been higher. Smaller firms do not usually have the budget to retain employees with the help of attractive benefits such as insurance schemes, retirement plans, ESOP, long term retention bonus, etc. Therefore, the focus lies on improving their employee experience and making that the biggest brand USP.  The companies with a positive employee experience have gone on to reap major financial benefits.

In conclusion, the People Managers, who are adapting quickly to new talent trends and hiring techniques, automation and digitization are more likely to be successful in Industry 4.0 and the future of work.

Compiled & written by MK Tamuly

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