Top 5 Frustrations In Corporate Recruiting

Recruiting is difficult. Hiring an awesome employee is a very personal experience for both the candidate and the hiring team. Candidates have aspirations, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. Recruiters have the same, with the added pressure of big hiring goals to hit. We’ve been curious to know more about the things corporate recruiters perceive to being in their in their way to hitting those hiring goals. In essence, what are your roadblocks that cause you frustration and result in you missing your goals?

We talked with 20 top corporate recruiters over the last two weeks about these frustrations.We took avid notes, and boiled the feedback down to 5 key themes that continually came up. While some of these 5 themes may surprise you, odds are they won’t.

Which of these top challenges are you facing?

1. Hiring managers aren’t involved

A room full of recruiters is no match for a hiring manager and recruiter working together.

We’re consistently hearing that recruiters and hiring managers aren’t on the same page. Yes, there are the small percentage of hiring managers who are savvy about hiring and deeply involved in the process. However, the large majority of hiring managers could do a better job of “participating in their own rescue”.

Corporate recruiters are well familiar with the “where’s my candidates?” response from hiring managers, yet they can’t get fast and accurate feedback on the candidates they’ve already submitted.

Corporate recruiters want a better way to get their hiring managers engaged, and bring both sides together in attracting top talent.

The expectation is not that the hiring managers need to do all of the work. It’s that they’ll provide fast and accurate feedback, as well as participate in events and social media.

Hiring managers and corporate recruiters working together can lower the cost of hiring, improve the quality of the team, and do so while reducing the time to fill.

2. Our online systems suck

Seriously? You want A-players to create a login?

No matter how nice the careers page looks, most recruiters think the application process still stinks.

Corporate recruiters often bypass the online application process altogether. They’ll actually enter a top candidate’s information for them as they don’t want to turn them off. This relegates the online application process to being more of a formality than an inbound talent lead generator.

While generating inbound leads for candidates is important, there’s another alarming frustration with online recruiting systems. Recruiters can’t easily see the right data to make smart decisions.

Simple analytics that are hard to track include: traffic sources to the careers page, sources for clicks on apply, source of hire, cost per hire, and time to fill. These are super basic data points in the world of online recruiting, and most corporate recruiters we talk to attempt to track these items manually.

Tying these systems together in an easy-to-use fashion is on the wish list for almost every recruiter we talk to. We continuously hear: “I want a system that works more like a CRM”.

3. Each recruiter is managing too many reqs

The low end of what we’ve heard is a recruiter managing 15 reqs at once. On the high-end it is up to 50. There’s no way even the best of the best in recruiting can manage that number effectively. Good recruiters know how to prioritize their open positions, but inevitably every hiring manager thinks that their open position(s) is top priority. This creates an environment in which recruiters lose efficiency.

The end result of this volume is a “cookie-cutter” approach. The bad news about a “cookie-cutter” approach is that top candidates can smell it, and hate it. The response rate to general InMails on  LinkedIn is between 15%-20% on a good day. Returning phone calls is even lower than that.

Corporate recruiters in this situation need to help transform their company into one with a recruiting culture. The bottom line is that your employees are your best recruiters. That is why referrals consistently rank #1 as the source of hire. Recruiters see the technology increasingly available to get hiring managers (and other employees) involved in hiring. But the biggest challenge is really the ability to change the culture to that of a “recruiting organization”.

That’s the only way the pressure of 50 open reqs at once can be lifted.

4. The bar is too high

A high bar can leave high-potential candidates on the outside looking in.

Primarily in the Engineering world we hear that the bar is too high. It’s common to hear that it takes 10-15 onsite interviews to get a hire. We’ve even heard as high as 25-30 onsite interviews to get to a hire.

This seems amazing, and incredibly inefficient. Considering those candidates may have had 3 hours each dedicated to them to this point, that could be up to 90 hours of recruiting time without an actual hire. The best companies we hear of, by the way, have been able to get this number down to 5 onsite interviews per hire.

We heard of several common factors leading to this high ratio. They included: a lack of knockout questions during the application process, an unorganized feedback loop during the pre-screening phase, and simply too high of expectations for the talent that is “hirable” for your company in the market you’re in.

The last one may be the biggest reason in the minds of recruiters. If that is the case, more market data and coaching to the hiring managers may be in order.

5. Our brand isn’t sexy

Not all recruiters feel their company has the “rockstar” brand.

It’s true that we’re often talking to companies in New York City and the Bay Area who are competing with the Googles and Facebooks of the world for talent. However, you can zoom out and see that the issue of branding hurts companies of all sizes and verticals.

Let’s look at the Financial Services vertical. We’ve had many conversations in this vertical over the last two weeks. We’ve often heard about companies in this space not feeling like they have a brand top candidates want to with anymore. And if they do want Financial Services, they are looking for companies like Square and Stripe who have sexy new products and designs.

These companies have a culture which is hidden away behind archaic online systems, and “regulatory compliance”. Look, I totally get that Financial Services companies have to be smart about compliance. However, once today’s generation of top candidates gets a whiff of “compliance”, they’re moving on to the next opportunity.

The key to taking the pressure off, and building your brand, is to focus on your employees. We wrote about this recently with 3 Tips To Start With Employer Branding.

Provide employees with venues to tell their story. Whether it is at a meetup, social media, an online chat, or a Google Hangout putting your people up-front will reel top candidates in. You’ve got to start somewhere, and that’s the best and easiest place to start.

You’re not alone

As we talked with corporate recruiters it became obvious that these 5 themes are common in many companies. Sure, different companies have different issues but the same themes around involvement, technology, and expectations kept coming up.

There’s a litany of processes, tools, and educational material to help get your team up to speed. However, at the end of the day it comes down to execution. It’s easy to get stuck with “paralysis by analysis”. You’ve got to chunk your problems down, and find people in the company who are willing to help. The recruiting team alone cannot attract and lock-up the sheer volume of folks needed to get most companies to their hiring goals.

Above all else, it’s a team effort. That makes hiring manager involvement a logical first step.


Views: 2318

Comment by JP Sutton on July 27, 2013 at 11:01am

Hi Jason, I think there are many variables to consider here when comparing Recruiting to HR. Sure they work hand-in-hand, but HR is much more an integrated business function than Recruiting is. Having been on both sides of the coin myself. I can say that Recruiting is much more Shark-like and Sales related than HR, no question about that. Getting into HR isn't exactly the easiest thing to do either. Any real company has strong pre-requisites to becoming an HRM or HRD- (education, experience, certifications, etc.) something Recruiting lacks still. This has to be considered when making any type of transition in a career format. I myself, left HR to open a firm and have never looked back. Also, I would have to say that another huge variable is the type/level of recruiting a person does has a significant importance of the competence level that goes along with their recruitment quality. For me, my HR mgmt. experience made me a successful recruiter, and earn more money than I could ever do in the HR realm. Good Article though...


Comment by Seth Lidren on July 27, 2013 at 4:38pm

The first thing my Director told me when I took my job was, "I need everyone (including Recruiters) to be Generalists."  I looked at my req load (at the time, 320+) and looked her in the eye and I said, "I need recruiters."  We've never looked back.  Now, Corporate Recruiting is a great stepping stone for individuals to get into HR due to the amount of exposure to every function that recruiting gets (in all honesty, that's why I dove into recruiting was for the HR aspect)--but corporate recruiting functions are doomed to fail if they allow that "paperpushing" mentality to resonate.  If you want that job, apply for that job.

The concept of corporate recruiting only wanting to do paperwork is a sham.  It's all about the mindset and the vision of the HR Leaders.  My boss plucked me from the "dark side" for a reason--and it wasn't to be a generalist or build generalists

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on August 2, 2013 at 1:20am

More to the point, most hiring managers hate recruiting, yet have an incredibly narrow and arrogant world view when it comes to bringing new staff onboard.

Many think they're doing the community at large a favour by even having a job vacancy and don't understand the concept of having to present the company/department/job in a positive light to attract suitable candidates.

All of that then gets compounded when they demand someone doing the same job for another company because they don't want to train or mentor someone who in the mid-term would probably be much better because they have something to prove and this new job provides them with logical career advancement.

Instead what you get are too many companies hiring candidates who are making sideways moves for little more reason then it pays more or they perceive the new employer to be the new flavour of the month in brand terms.

More recruiters need to stand up to this bullshit and look their hiring managers in the eye and tell them why they're wrong.


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