Top 5 recruitment challenges to overcome in 2024

January 2, 2024

As we enter the new year, employees may look to start afresh with the time-old ‘new year, new me’ mindset. Sometimes, this can include a career or job change, leaving many organisations with the increased pressure to replace lost talent – and fast.

However, over the past few years, the world of recruitment has evolved – from the rise in hybrid and flexible working to the introduction of new technologies – and to ensure companies have the best chance in hiring the right person the first time, they must stay ahead of the curve.

In this blog post, we look at five of the most pressing recruitment challenges 2024 will bring, and how you can overcome them.

Table of Contents

Ongoing skills shortage

Although slowing slightly, the skills shortage is showing no signs of stopping in certain occupational groups as we enter 2024. With the effects of Brexit and the aging population, there is still very much a clear lack of technical skills across a range of industries including healthcare, construction, and engineering. In fact, McKinsey suggests that without concerted action by employers, two-thirds of the UK workforce could lack basic digital skills by 2030, while more than ten million people could be underskilled in leadership, communication, and decision-making.

Instead of continuing to only search for that perfect candidate who ticks every box, organisations should also consider interviewing individuals with transferable skills and a strong willingness to learn – focusing on attitude, not just skill. Taking on apprentices or graduates who you can train and develop over time can also be a great way to mold a team that fits with your culture and work ethic, too.

In terms of how you conduct your search, relying solely on applications just doesn’t cut it anymore. Businesses should look to widen their net and focus on reaching out to passive candidates (those who haven’t applied for the role but have the necessary experience or attitude) to expand the talent pool. One way to access this type of information is to work with in-house talent acquisition specialists who utilise CV search technologies and applicant tracking systems.

High expectations of flexible working

The rapid adaption to home working as a response to multiple lockdowns during the pandemic, alongside the growing focus on employee health and wellbeing, has left candidates with a much stronger expectation of flexible working opportunities than ever before. As such, people are now much more selective of the vacancies they apply for based on the flexible working arrangements on offer.

Despite the contrasting views on the productivity effects of hybrid working, the fact of the matter is that it’s now a key factor in employee attraction and retention – with 38% of candidates stating that they wouldn’t accept a role if the business doesn’t offer hybrid working, according to Hays.

As such, hiring managers may want to consider flexible working arrangements, especially if they are struggling to fill vacancies. But it’s not just about being flexible in terms of the place of work. Offering flexible working hours can also have an impact on application rates, not forgetting the recent spotlight on the 4-day working week.

For organisations where flexible working is not an option, you should be as upfront as possible at the start of the hiring process and clearly state within the job description that the role is fully office-based, to set the expectation from the outset.

Highly competitive market

Alongside the skills shortage, the labour market is also very competitive. And although vacancies may have decreased from September 2023 to November 2023, they are still higher than pre-pandemic levels according to the Office for National Statistics, with a larger amount of open roles than there are candidates to fill them.

What’s more, is that counteroffers are on the rise. The CIPD Labour Market Outlook August 2023 found that 40% of employers have made a counteroffer in the past 12 months. Two-fifths (40%) of these counteroffers were for a higher salary, and 38% matched the competitor’s salary.

To overcome this problem, it’s crucial to provide a positive and effective candidate experience throughout the entire recruitment process: from the first communication right until the employee’s start date.

Think, is your employer brand consistent within every touchpoint? Is your wider benefits package in line with what other organisations are offering? Do you provide any onboarding technology to ensure regular communication whilst the candidate works their notice period?

Lack of candidate commitment

Something that comes hand-in-hand with an increase in remote or hybrid working, is online job interviews using platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Of course, these technologies enable a larger number of candidates to apply and be assessed for a role with ease, which is good news when you’re looking to gather a strong shortlist in a short space of time.

However, this simplicity increases the chance of attracting candidates without a genuine interest in the vacancy who might drop out further down the line, or those who are only continuing through the process to gain experience, considering a remote meeting takes a lot less time and commitment than turning up to a face-to-face interview.

Organisations must try to strike a balance here, as you want a good number of candidates to apply in the first instance, but at the same time, root out any timewasters. According to Stand Out CV, less than half of employers still require a face-to-face interview in 2023 if the candidate passed the video interview stage.

As such, a solution to this challenge could be to conduct remote (video) first-stage interviews to gather a large pool of talent initially, but then follow up with face-to-face second or final-stage interviews which can confirm the genuine interest and commitment of those shortlisted.

Jobseekers using AI to script interview content

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been at the forefront of many business leaders’ minds recently with its various use cases. For recruitment, however, AI can bring both positive and negative outcomes depending on how, and by whom, it’s used.

On one hand, hiring managers can harness AI to automate otherwise manual tasks such as sourcing and matching candidates to job roles or writing job descriptions. On the other hand, job seekers can use AI to script CVs and cover letters and answer applicable questions. It’s now getting increasingly harder to differentiate the candidate’s own work from that of technology.

Something organisations should consider is using additional assessment methods – such as on-site tasks, group exercises, or personality tests – throughout the hiring process, to understand each candidate’s abilities without the aid of AI.

If you need recruitment support to help you find and secure top talent, Vero Recruit might be just what you’re looking for. Our talented team of in-house recruitment specialists work with you, as an extension of your business, to find the best culture-matched candidates for the job. Get in touch to find out more.

 

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