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Readers Share Real-Life Solutions to Today’s Biggest Recruitment Challenges

Thanks to everyone who – in response to last week’s “We Ask, You Win” contest – shared their company’s biggest challenges in recruiting and retaining workers.  You gave us some great feedback, and I’d like to share some of those answers with the rest of our readers.

Challenge: “I have too many resumes to sort through.”  The influx of resumes recruiters and hiring managers are receiving right now can be both a blessing and a curse. As one reader puts it, “It’s great to have lots of choices [as far as resumes go], but the burden of time spent on this can be touch to manage.”  (Burden might be an understatement: One reader reported receiving as many as 800 resumes for a recently advertised job opening.)

Solution: “With the economy the way it is anyone and everyone applies for jobs regardless of title or description,” says reader Michelle, a source of frustration for many readers.  Michelle gets around this challenge by pre-screening applicants by asking them to answer detailed and specific questions.  Customized screening questions saves you time by enabling you to quickly distinguish between those applicants who actually meet the qualifications for the job and those who are simply “applying to anything and everything in hopes of the chance of just finding work,” as reader Shannon Crone put it.

(FYI, if you’re a CareerBuilder client, you should know that you can take advantage of free screeners – personalized questionnaires that job seekers fill out as part of the applciation process – to help weed out unqualified applicants.)

Challenge: “We can’t offer competitive compensation to retain and attract valuable employees.” Due to tighter budgets and fewer monetary resources, many companies (understandably) are wondering how they’re going to attract and retain valuable workers unless they can offer competitive rates.

Solution: First, make sure you’re aware of today’s going compensation rates. Many employers today are relying on old salary reports or historical data – which do not account for today’s economic situation and are therefore outdated.  Utilizing third-party talent compensation reports to pull real-time data from industry and area competitors will give you a clearer idea of what your competitors are offering – and the results may surprise you.

Second, think about what you can offer them that won’t cost as much.  Can you offer  relocation fees? A signing bonus?

Third, realize that salary isn’t everything for today’s job seekers. They also want a place that respects their need for a work/life balance.  Consider any unique benefits you offer – anything from flexible schedules to recognition programs to wellness benefits – and make sure you emphasize those anywhere you can – beginning with your job advertisement.

Kelly, a reader who says her company’s greatest challenge is competing to retain and attract employees at a time of reduced salaries and a frozen 401k match, says her company plans to stay competitive by communicating the value of the experience employees gain by working at the company and being part of a leading and growing company in its industry.

Not wanting to lose their top performers and well aware of the need to engage their employees, another reader, Angela, says her company recently implemented an employee recognition program to improve employee morale, engagement and retention.

Good call, Angela: Employee recognition programs effectively lead to lower turnover rates, according to The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent and Accelerate Performance, based on 10 years worth of data on 200,000 managers and employees. According to studies cited in the book 79 percent of employees who quit their jobs give “a lack of appreciation” as a key reason for leaving.

Challenge: “I can’t find the qualified candidates I need.”  For some of you, it’s not that you can’t offer candidate the right price, it’s that you can’t get the candidates in the first place. This is especially true for those recruiting for candidates with highly specialized skills, which is the predicament one reader has found himself in when looking for a particular type of health care professional.

Solution: Frustrated by the current supply of candidates, he has started reviewing psychology industry publications to source candidates.  (A tactic that isn’t unlike what Seattle-based Tableau Software recently did when it needed a Web developer with extensive knowledge of Drupal:  the company’s recruiters began surfing niche social networking sites that catered to Drupal enthusiasts, where they eventually found their new hire.)

For reader Nick Tompkins, geographic location is an obstacle to finding qualified candidates, who are hesitant to consider relocating to his company’s rural location, where there is a limited availability housing market. To counter this challenge, Nick is working to change relocation benefits for professional hires, as well as partnering with the local chamber of commerce to build more affordable rental housing.  Last but not least, the company is focusing on its stability and “strong industry position in the current economy” to sell itself as a desirable place to work.

Challenge: “We can’t respond to candidates the way we want to.” Reader Keil Werner says that, as a recruiter, his greatest challenge – bigger than sorting through the plethora of resumes he’s getting – is making the time to respond to these candidates in an effort to maintain good relationships with these candidates and build a network from which he can source qualified candidates in the future.

Solution: Keil brings up a good point about the importance of not only fulfilling the immediate need to hire, but also working to grow your talent pool so you’ll have an easier time filling positions that open up later on. Not to mention that maintaining ties with candidates can be good for both your employment brand and your businessOne way to keep the lines of communication open with candidates is to set up automatic e-mail alerts that tell applicants that their resume has been received and where it is in the review process – either through your company’s internal careers site or with the help of a third party.  If you use CareerBuilder’s Resume Database, for example, you can use the free ”My Letters” tool to create and save up to 20 different automatic response letters to send to job seekers after they submit an application to your job.

Care to add your two cents? Got any advice of your own to share?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
6 comments
Clare
Clare

We receive what seems like millions of resumes on a daily basis. Depending on what you want out of a candidate, I've found it can help to specify in the job to include a certain phrase in the subject line, for example. Those who apply and don't I spend minimal time on if at all, because I'm looking for someone who's detail oriented and conscientious.

Also, in regards to not being able to offer competitive salary, a lot of the most exceptional job seekers out there are looking for opportunity more than a higher salary. Focus on your really awesome company culture or the fact that you have a ping pong table in the break room and company parties every month, etc.

Clare
Clare

We receive what seems like millions of resumes on a daily basis. Depending on what you want out of a candidate, I've found it can help to specify in the job to include a certain phrase in the subject line, for example. Those who apply and don't I spend minimal time on if at all, because I'm looking for someone who's detail oriented and conscientious.

Also, in regards to not being able to offer competitive salary, a lot of the most exceptional job seekers out there are looking for opportunity more than a higher salary. Focus on your really awesome company culture or the fact that you have a ping pong table in the break room and company parties every month, etc.

Clare
Clare

We receive what seems like millions of resumes on a daily basis. Depending on what you want out of a candidate, I've found it can help to specify in the job to include a certain phrase in the subject line, for example. Those who apply and don't I spend minimal time on if at all, because I'm looking for someone who's detail oriented and conscientious. Also, in regards to not being able to offer competitive salary, a lot of the most exceptional job seekers out there are looking for opportunity more than a higher salary. Focus on your really awesome company culture or the fact that you have a ping pong table in the break room and company parties every month, etc.

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