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Good Intention, Poor Execution – Why most companies fail to attract talent

Human Resources is a major element in both the development and success of many companies. Arguably, within the HR function, the acquisition and retention of talent is one of, if not the most, pivotal roles that it may perform.

However, in reality, while all companies have good intentions, an inability to overcome hiring challenges restricts their level of success in attracting high quality candidates (measured by skill level, aptitude and cultural alignment).

The rationale behind misfiring recruitment is the consequence of a host of ever shifting elements. These elements can be attributed to two sources. First, the general external conditions (e.g. general employment levels, skills shortages) that are effectively uncontrollable to most companies. Second, the conditions internal to a company as a consequence of constraints in either budget or time.

We think there are 3 key areas of focus for HR and if these are properly managed, they can transform a company’s capacity to attract the top tier candidates.

An Acknowledgement of the Time to Hire

  • Time to Hire is an important area that costs a company time and money. According to Mariah Deleon citing a 2015 report, Why is Hiring Taking Longer written by Dr Andrew Chamberlain, interviews processed have increased by 3.3 to 3.7 days since 2009. That is a 12% increase. Shouldn’t companies be getting more efficient and speeding up the process? What is going on inside organisations these days?

  • Is this because everyone is too busy, there is a need to involve more stakeholders, more steps have been added to the process, more channels for candidate attraction are used. Whatever the reasons, this trend is disturbing. Some candidates really disengage from a lengthy hiring process and step away.

Engaging and Attracting the best candidates

  • The quality of potential candidates can be dependent on the sourcing channels from which they are acquired. Using sources not suited for the type of roles will fail to attract the right people, once again wasting time and money. According to Deleon and a Brandon Hall Group Report, Understanding the Impact of Employer Brand, many managers when hiring shift through 100 plus resumes on average on major job boards (often due to generic job ads) before sourcing suitable candidates with the skill alignment and cultural alignment requested. The targeting of ideal candidates through more specific resources such as specialist recruiters can result in more specific, more applicable prospects. The means by which candidates are identified by companies needs to be constantly tracked to determine effectiveness.

Get the Culture Fit Right

  • While this may mean making qualitative judgements, decisions on culture fit can also be linked to analysing data around indicators including staff retention, performance ratings, internal promotion etc. Establishing a deeper and more in-depth definition of culture fit is really encouraged. Research from a book Hiring for Attitude by Mark Murphy, showed that in study of 20,000 individuals 46% of hires were unsuccessful (terminated, resigned, received disciplinary action) within the first 18 months. Of that 46% 89% were a result of attitude, poor interpersonal skills, lack of motivation etc. Only 11% were unsuccessful as a result of lacking technical skills.

Although HR are impacted by elements both controllable and uncontrollable an acknowledgement of the time to hire, a researching of where the most suitable candidates are and a definition of cultural fit can be significant areas where most companies can improve.

What do you think? Where can most companies improve in attracting the best talent?

Photo by from Pexels

Original Sources:, Mariah Deleon, January 2016., Mark Murphy, June 2015

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