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Why It's So Hard to Find Qualified Candidates — And What You Can Do About It

Why is hiring so hard right now? Recruitment costs are up, and increasing employee churn is driving up the number of positions they need to fill. But adding to those challenges is the fact that it seems harder than ever to find qualified candidates. Is it all in your head? Or are labour shortages and competition for talent making applicants you’d actually want to hire fewer and farther between?

There Are Fewer Qualified Candidates

You’re not imagining it. The search for qualified candidates has become more difficult. But why? A climate of economic uncertainty — like the one we’re experiencing now — has historically made people more willing to work. But there are several factors driving a shortage of workers right now that mean you probably won’t find a line of qualified candidates for every position you need to fill.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the circumstances driving the worker shortage and why it’s so hard to find good employees.

Competition for Talent

Competition for Talent Is Increasing

Job vacancy rates in Europe nearly doubled between 2020 and 2022, climbing from 1.6% to 3.1%. The increase began with the Great Resignation, which has seen workers leave their positions in search of higher pay and greater flexibility, and continues with the Great Renegotiation — a push for improved work-life balance among workers. In fact, around one-third of the region’s workforce anticipates quitting their job in the next three to six months.

But with so many people quitting their jobs, why is it so hard to find qualified candidates?

The shortage of labour caused by people quitting means there are also more companies desperately looking to fill the gaps left by these trends. Qualified candidates don’t stay unemployed for long.

Demographics Are Shifting

The oldest members of the Baby Boomer generation — people born between 1946 and 1964 — hit retirement age in 2011. Between now and 2030, approximately 10,000 members of this demographic will reach retirement age each day. For many organisations, that means their most senior employees are departing, taking with them the knowledge and experience acquired over decades of work.

While the millennial generation is large enough to fill the gap left by Boomer retirement, millennial candidates don’t have the experience and expertise of their predecessors — many of whom worked in the same field (or even for the same company) for their entire career. In addition, many younger people are eschewing blue-collar positions and seeking higher-paid positions at companies that share their values.

How to Find Good Candidates for Jobs

So with increased hiring competition and fewer candidates looking for the types of positions you need to fill, what do you do? It may seem like a shortage of labour is inevitable — but it isn’t. There are several steps you can take to ensure you have a steady supply of applicants that meet your needs.

1. Refine Your Job Postings

Vague or poorly written job postings will be ignored by precisely the people you’re hoping to reach. Qualified candidates may pass on responding to your recruitment ad because they’re not certain what you’re looking for. Close to one-fifth of workers considering an application for a different job never applied because the posting was vague or confusing.

3 Steps to a Compelling Job Description

1. Use standardised titles.

Applicants typically search for jobs using the title they have or hope to get. Overly generic or too creative titles are less effective.

2. Keep it simple.

There’s no need to write an essay filled with technical terms or industry buzzwords to describe what you’re looking for. Ask existing staff to explain the role and use their words.

3. Offer something compelling.

Highlight your organisation’s values and benefits of working there. Sell your company as a place candidates would want to work.

How to Find Good Candidates for Jobs

2. Rethink Your Requirements

A lengthy list of strict requirements may seem like a good way to weed out unqualified candidates, but it can also eliminate applicants who might be the perfect fit for your organisation.

Consider what skills or certifications are strictly required for the position you’re filling — do applicants really need that four-year degree AND three years of experience? Opening up your search to include candidates with adjacent skills — qualifications that might help them perform well in the role — will ensure you don’t reject qualified candidates before they even have a chance to apply.

3. Broaden Your Search

Not every qualified candidate is looking at the job board or website you prefer to post on. The more places your recruitment ad appears, the higher the chances you’ll find qualified candidates. Programmatic recruitment platforms can help diversify and expand your hiring pool while reducing the amount you spend on recruitment marketing.

At Hirematic, we combine the power and efficiency of automation with human expertise to help you reach more qualified candidates without increasing your recruitment marketing budget. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help reduce the hiring challenges you’re facing.