Businesses are facing more recruitment challenges than ever. And our reports show the IT jobs and recruitment market has slowed down in 2023, from the post-pandemic boom we have seen in recent years.
But recruitment hasn’t become any cheaper. Meaning that in a competitive market, IT businesses are having to spend more time, energy, and resources on hiring.
Which means it’s more important than ever, that you know these common recruitment challenges that businesses face, and how you can overcome them.
6 Common Recruitment Challenges For IT Businesses
We’ve spoken to some of the IT Business Hiring Manager’s we work with to discover what their biggest recruitment challenges are, and then how we advise working to overcome them.
1. Making Bad Hires
One of the biggest risks with recruitment is making bad hires. And with how costly a mistake it can be, this should come as no surprise.
The actual cost of making a bad hire is difficult to ascertain, due to the extreme amount of variables such as recruitment costs, spent salary, training and onboarding costs, reduced productivity, and potential loss of earnings to just name a few.
An article from Apollo Technical breaks this cost down, with the U.S. Department of Labour puts the cost of a bad hire at 30% of the first year earnings of the position.
Whereas the CEO of Link Humans put the average cost as high as $230,000 (£180,000).
Which is to say nothing of the time and energy wasted.
So what steps can you take to improve your hiring process and reduce the risk of making bad hires?
How to Improve your Interview Process to Avoid Making Bad Hires
One of the most important steps to reduce the risk of bad hires is to properly understand what you’re looking for, and have a process to evaluate the candidates you interview for these skills.
Start by mapping out the responsibilities of the opposition that you are looking to fill. What are the skills and experience that the person needs to be able to be successful in this role? And what attitude and values does this person need to have to be a good fit for the position and for your company?
Once you have this list, it’s time to rank each of these skills and attributes in order of importance. Give each attribute a score out of 10 on how important it is, which will enable you to identify which skills are most critical and which candidates are most qualified.
During the interview you should ask questions to score candidates on these competencies. It’s best practice to have multiple interviewers, so they can compare scores. This also means having at least two interviewers who can effectively judge the candidate’s knowledge on the specific role, and will likely need a degree for experience and expertise on the subject.
While this is one of the most important ways to reduce the risks of bad hires, it is also just one step of many. Read here for a complete guide on how to reduce the risk of bad hires.
2. Finding Candidates That Are The Right Fit For Your Business
One of the biggest struggles can be finding candidates who are the right fit for your role.
For example, let’s say your business is looking for a Network Engineer.
You find a great looking candidate with a title that matches. They have all the necessary skills, the right years of experience, and attitude that would make them a perfect fit for your company. But then it turns out that they haven’t worked on the specific technology or software that your company uses.
And when you need to hire urgently, sometimes you don’t have the time to find the candidate who is perfect for your business. So what can you do?
How to Find Candidates Who Are Right For Your Business
If you’re struggling to hire or need to hire urgently, it’s important to know where to compromise, and where not to.
When mapping out the responsibilities of the role and the skills and experience needed, these should also be separated into “negotiable” and “non-negotiable” skills.
Because while some skills will be important for the role, that doesn’t mean you would completely discount someone from the process because they don’t have that skill and it is “negotiable” for them to have.
This could be because you are willing to teach them the skill yourself, or they might be suitable for a different position in the company.
3. Reaching Passive Candidates Who Aren’t Looking For a New Job
Of course you might not have the candidates you need coming to you. Because often they aren’t looking for a role. Why do they need to, when they have recruiters reaching out to them all day on LinkedIn?
But if your job adverts aren’t working, what other ways can you sell your company as the great place to work that it is?
How to Reach Digital Marketers Who Aren’t Looking For a New Role
One great step you can take, is encouraging your employees to become advocates for the business on social media. Sharing personal content or images from social events on their own profile is a great way to highlight your company culture, and that your employees enjoy and our pride of being a member of the team.
And it can be a huge risk for someone to take, leaving the safety of their job and moving to your company. So highlighting your company culture and showing how it is a fun place to work can help to ease any fears that candidates might be having about whether to apply to your company or not.
Additionally (if you don’t already), your company should invest into a recruitment referral scheme. Instead of just having your employees advocate for your business, they can also be your recruitment partners!
After all, the most expensive referral scheme is still cheaper than using a recruitment agency. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
4. Competing With Other IT Businesses For the Best IT Professionals
IT Professionals are in high-demand, and they are often bombarded by recruiters on LinkedIn or by email. And when your company does have their interest, you’re probably not the only one. The IT professionals you are interviewing are also likely to be interbeing at several other companies as well.
So what can you do to separate yourself from the business you’re competing with, for the top talent in your market?
How to Compete For the Best Digital Talent
Obviously to win the high-demand candidates and best IT Professionals, you need to set your business apart from the rest. So here’s 3 tips on how to beat the competition:
1. Use the shining examples of your employees as success stories.
When you’re looking to expand your team, highlight the success stories of your employees that currently work there.
Your employees who have been with your company a long time, have seen lots of career progression and opportunities for training are more than likely happy to discuss with prospective employees about their experience working at your business.
So creating content for your website and social media, whether written testimonials or video interviews is social proof that your business is a great place to work.
2. Offer as much flexibility as your business will allow.
One of the most important things to the IT Professionals we work with is flexibility with their working: Hybrid working, flexible working hours, remote working and not to be travelling on the road 24/7.
Now obviously not every role or every company can offer remote working. But showing that your business is willing to offer as much flexibility as it can, shows candidates that you’re a business that puts them first.
3. Make the time for the interviewees and candidates, when it suits them.
Speaking of flexibility, is being flexible in the interview process. Which means interviewing candidates when it’s most convenient for them!
This can mean giving up your time outside of your usual work hours to speak to candidates, which is obviously going above what you’re contracted to do.
But if it means that you can interview those candidates two or three days earlier than when you would have been able to otherwise, it can make all the difference. Because while giving an offer to a candidate first isn’t everything, it can make a huge difference!
5. Losing Candidates To Counter Offers
Losing great looking candidates to counter offers is the nightmare of every Hiring Manager. After you’ve invested the time and resources of multiple high-level people within the business into the interview process, made your decision and made the offer, only for them to decide they want to stay where they are.
But with how in demand highly skilled IT Professionals are, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more and more counter offers.
So, what can you do to prevent losing your candidates to counter offers?
How to Avoid Losing Candidates to Counter Offers
Sometimes when a candidate accepts a counter offer, it feels like there’s nothing you could have done. After all, you explained the benefits, sold the company well and made a solid offer.
But counter offers aren’t outside of your control. There are steps you can take to pre-empt and prevent them.
1. Build a genuine connection with the candidate.
We always advise that you use the first interview and initial meeting as less of an interview, and more of a chemistry meeting. Showing a genuine interest in what a candidate is looking for and why they’re looking to leave their current role, shows you have their best interest at heart.
It also helps you by finding out how best to appeal to a candidate by telling you what motivates them, which lets you argue against any counter offers they do receive.
If they do receive a counter offer you will be able to fight back: Why would they accept a counter offer that is simply offering more £££, when you know they’re looking for a role where they will have exposure to project management.
2. Be upfront about the counter offer, don’t avoid the topic.
Expanding on the above, is getting it all out in the open and asking the candidate, “What could an employer do to keep you?” Again, this lets you know how to beat any counter offers they receive.
3. When you make an offer, make your best offer first.
Lastly, when you do make the offer, give them the best off first. This reduces the likelihood of them accepting a counter offer without telling you or giving you the opportunity to offer a higher salary.
And when you do try to lowball a candidate and then counter with a higher salary, it’s often too late. The trust has already been broken and you’ve lost their interest.
Of course there are just a few of the ways in which you can avoid your candidates accepting counter offers. For more, read our comprehensive guide on how to beat counter offers here.
6. Your Job Adverts Aren’t Bringing in Enough Quality Applicants
If you’re paying to advertise your jobs on job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, or CV-Library, then it’s important that you actually see some return on this investment. So if your job adverts aren’t bringing in enough applicants and you haven’t considered interviewing any of them after a week or so, then you have a problem.
Because not only is it a complete waste of time, energy, and resources, it can hold up the hiring process significantly.
So how can you write quality job adverts that stand out and have people jumping at the chance to work for your company?
How to Improve Your Job Adverts
The most important thing to consider when you’re writing a job advert is that it’s just that, an advert. You should know who it is you’re trying to grab the attention of, and sell the position to them.
Tip 1: Selling the Opportunity
If you’re hiring for a junior position, then you will need to discuss the opportunities for training and development, and the career progression. Because that’s what will matter most to someone who is just starting out in their career. Meanwhile someone further in their career, at say a Director level, will have different priorities.
Tip 2: Salary
And one of the most important things that applicants look for when considering a role, is salary. A report from LinkedIn found that 91% of respondents said that seeing a salary on a job advert would affect their decision to apply or not: And that 82% of respondents would perceive a company more favourably when seeing a salary range in a job description.
However, it’s worth considering whether it’s the right thing to do for your business. Because sometimes, it’s not the salary that is your big selling point.It could be your award-winning training programme and the support that you offer with earning certifications, that will be a huge boost to an IT Professionals career.
Or it could be the remote, hybrid or flexible working that your company offers that is the big selling point.
And if your salary you’re offering is slightly less than others on the market, you could be losing out on potential new hires before they see these other benefits and perks.
These are just a few insights on writing job adverts that attract quality candidates. For more information on how to write job adverts read our guide here.
Of course, working with a recruitment partner like us here at Dynamic is a great way to overcome these common recruitment challenges. Because we advise you on, or take care of these recruitment challenges for you! For more information on what we can do to support your business, have a look here and get in touch!