Modern-day talent acquisition: Challenges and solutions to ensure candidate joining

Featured in India Today

Here are some challenges faced by businesses seeking to hire top talent and the solutions to face such challenges.

Until a decade ago, the time invested in a job was seen as a vital factor that determined employee loyalty and increased candidates’ appeal to future employers. Long-tenured employees typically worked for the same employer for more than five years and according to the then-prevailing narrative, potential employers would reprove the practice of not sticking to one role, or even disregarded job applicants for not being able to hold down a position for long enough. In such an employer-driven market, corporates were willing to turn down professionals simply because job-hopping signaled a lack of commitment. But, the tables are turning and perspectives are changing in today’s candidate-driven market.

As we begin to see continuous evolution in the work environment, phenomena like job-hopping and offer-shopping are on the rise, and businesses seeking to hire millennials and Generation Z understand that the concept of job permanency will no longer apply to the coming generations of professionals. Instead, the new-age workforce will seek to pick the best work opportunity that offers growth as well as flexibility.

And why shouldn’t they? Several organisations have transitioned from in-person to remote positions, dismissed their employees or have revamped processes to adapt to disruptions like technology change, newer ways of working and the pandemic.

Employers surely recognise that the present-day talent is going to change jobs more often today than in the past, and have come to terms with the rise in frequency of this change. This acceptance allows businesses to remain open to a larger pool of talent in the current candidate-driven market where candidates have the upper hand due to trends such as the Great Resignation and demand-supply mismatch of skilled resources.

And though these trends continue to make recruiters anxious, what makes it worse is being turned down by potential employees who interviewed with you but eventually chose to join hands with a competing business. It is at times like these when the organisations take a step back to devise an alternate plan.

Some may take the extreme measure of blacklisting the drop-out candidates, while some may re-start the entire process of recruitment again. What would you do to attract top talent and ensure their joining? A great way to achieve your goal is to start by understanding and eliminating the obstacles in the way.

The high rate of candidate dropouts during the recruitment process today invariably indicates that finding a good resource is as critical as getting them to join the organisation. Candidates today sit down for multiple job interviews, field offers and select a favorable prospect – one they will leverage to negotiate terms of employment and pay raise with their current or potential employer.

According to research from staffing company Robert Half, nearly 32% of professionals in 2021 wanted to change jobs for higher salary and career advancement.

Candidates are clearly reflecting on what is important to them – a high rank, growth prospects, remuneration, and the opportunity to work with leaders. They use these aspirations to find better offers and evaluate them when the offer is made. Some even shop for offers to sharpen their interview skills and groom themselves for bigger brighter roles, while some may simply skip showing up on the committed day and time.

And while offer shopping is an overall sign of an expanding business horizon and booming job opportunities, it can be a frustrating phase for a company that’s unable to land the best talent.

For business, a candidate who accepts the offer only to pull back at the last stage is not just a massive waste of time but a moral setback too. According to Glassdoor, one in every six candidates (or 17.3% candidates) drops job offers made to them! In the technology sector, this number grows to one in five candidates (or 19.4%)

As a business, you may end up wasting funds, energy and bandwidth of resources, only to find yourself stagnant and now questioning the integrity of future candidates.

Here are some other challenges faced by businesses seeking to hire top talent:

  • Weak employer branding in a noisy recruiter market
  • Shortage of skilled resources for your business needs
  • Failure to quickly, accurately and fairly test candidates’ skills
  • Candidate’s choice of another employer over you for higher salary, better profile or location proximity
  • Counter-offer and growth opportunity from candidate’s current employer

In the face of such indecisiveness, ghosting and colossal wastage of effort and time, companies must determine ways to engage the candidates and ensure that they join.

Increasing the offer-to-joining ratio

A majority of companies prefer not to divulge their offer decline data because of its unfavorable impact on employer branding. And yet with limited reporting of drop-out cases, the percentage comes close to a substantial 20 percent.

According to industry standards, the offer-to-joining ratio stands somewhere at 68-80 percent for lateral hires and 24-36 percent for campus recruits. However, some companies have identified solutions to address and prevent post-offer dropouts:

1. Empathy-driven Onboarding Process – With Covid-19 compelling employees to work remotely, recruiters must reimagine onboarding to work virtually. Instead of virtualising their existing onboarding programmes, enterprises must reinvent and redesign onboarding to concentrate on empathy and engagement to make new recruits feel connected to the business.

2. Seamless Candidate Experience – Conversations struck with a candidate before selection and onboarding are part of the ‘courtship period’ where the right messaging, consistent behavior and gratitude for the candidate’s time and effort can go a long way. This is where the talent acquisition team can convey the company story and highlight the culture, thereby reflecting transparency and building trust during the hiring process.

3. Non-traditional Value Proposition – It is important for enterprises to align their value proposition with the organisational culture, vision, mission and values. Companies must build and deliver value proposition that prioritizes employee engagement, flexibility, wellness benefits, diversity and inclusion, and different ways of career advancement through professional learning and development.

4. Upskilling and Reskilling – Due to the surge in technology adoption across industries, the new-age workforce prioritises learning new skills and future-proofing their careers by devoting a significant portion of their time to learning and development. According to Harvard Business Review, about 82 percent of employees and 60 percent of HR directors agree that workers must hone current skill sets or acquire new ones once a year to maintain competitive advantage in the job market.

Companies can pique the job applicants’ interest by supporting this aspiration and offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities through advanced training programmes. This innovative move will help businesses position themselves as stronger employers, thereby gaining and retaining the attention of the brightest workers.

Adding transparent and regular communication to the above mix will ensure that you are always able to maintain a candidate pipeline that’s already interested in your company. Convey all updates to potential employees and share accurate results with them so they can align their expectations.

Businesses that wish to source, hire and deploy suitable talent must be able to comprehend the priorities of the future workforce. They should embrace the new work models and develop a workforce that is eager to learn, grow and advance in their domains. This will motivate and engage existing workers, while inspiring and gaining the attention of the best new recruits who can then take your business to the next level.


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