Inbound recruitment - Common issues and alternative solutions

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By The Fetcher Team

Inbound recruitment - Common issues and alternative solutions

9 mins read

Alternatives to inbound recruitment
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Today's job market is fiercely competitive, and finding the right talent can be challenging for even the most seasoned recruiters and hiring managers. Across the country, job listings are down while inbound applications are skyrocketing.

While a flood of inbound applications can be a valuable source of potential candidates, relying solely on them rarely yields ideal results. Let's explore some common issues recruiters and hiring managers face when relying solely on inbound applications for their job openings.

Don't limit your talent pool

1. You’re significantly limiting your talent pool

One of the main issues with relying solely on inbound applications is the limited talent pool it creates. Depending exclusively on candidates actively searching for jobs often results in missing out on passive candidates who are not actively looking but could be an excellent fit for the role.

Surprisingly, a staggering 70% of the global workforce entered their current job as a passive candidate, meaning they were approached about the open position by the hiring company vs. applying directly. And while these passive candidates do take more time and resources to find upfront, they are 120% more likely to make a strong initial impact on your business. Well worth the effort.

To optimally grow your talent pool, you should actively engage with passive candidates through networking events, social media, and employee referrals. Great teams consider recruitment an ongoing process rather than a start-and-stop affair.

If your budget allows, consider investing in an outbound sourcing tool or CRM to help better facilitate and enhance your communication with potential candidates. If your budget is tight, there's no shame in getting scrappy. Personal emails and messages always perform well, and candidates will appreciate you for it.

How to avoid unqualified candidates

2. You’re reducing the quality of your candidates

Another issue with relying solely on inbound applications is the potential quality of candidates. While you may receive a large number of applications, not all of them may be suitable for the role. Many candidates may not have the required skills or experience, leading to a time-consuming screening process. Often, candidates will throw in an application for roles to see what will happen in a spray-and-pray approach to job hunting. Sorting through these types of resumes can distract from the process and may lead to fatigue and even burnout.

In a pair of studies conducted by global talent staffing firm Robert Half, HR managers said that, on average, 42% of resumes they receive are from candidates who don't meet the job requirements. They also found that 78% of candidates admitted they would apply for a role when they don't match all the qualifications.

To address this issue, recruiters should clearly define the job requirements and use targeted job postings to attract qualified candidates. Passive outreach can also help eliminate many headaches and boost the quality of your candidate pool. By having potential candidates already in your pipeline, you can start approaching great fits for your open roles instead of waiting around for the perfect candidate to find you.

Still need convincing? Sourced candidates are not only more likely to make an impact, but are also more qualified upfront. 1 in every 72 sourced candidates is hired compared to just 1 in every 152 non-sourced candidates. This is impressive given non-sourced candidates are interested and actively applying to your role.

Increase your Time-to-Fill (TTF)

3. Your Time to Fill is higher than it needs to be

Relying entirely on inbound applications can also lead to an increased time to fill positions. Since you are limited to the candidates who apply, you may need to wait longer to find the right fit for the role. Similarly, if you are flooded with resumes and applications, the time it takes to find the needles in the haystack can be a time-consuming and mundane process. This often results in delays in filling critical positions, impacting your team and organization's overall productivity.

It's essential to be proactive in recruiting passive candidates through various channels to reduce the time and effort required to hire new employees. A talent pipeline should be established and maintained to ensure a pool of qualified candidates is available for future job openings. This way, you can have a ready-to-go pool of candidates when the need arises.

Diversity & Inclusion

4. You're at a greater risk of hiring a lack of diversity

Another critical issue to consider is the lack of diversity in the candidate pool when relying solely on inbound applications. Candidates who apply for roles may not represent diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This lack of diversity can lead to a homogenous work environment that may not be conducive to innovation, creativity, and collaboration.

Sourcing for diversity is a nuanced process, and can be a challenging one. 38% of recruiters say finding diverse candidates to interview is the biggest barrier to improving diversity. To promote diversity and inclusion in the hiring process, you need to broaden your recruitment efforts and actively seek out candidates from a wide range of sources, including social media, networking events, job fairs, and referrals from current employees. Doing so increases the likelihood of finding the best talent and ensures your search has been exhaustive.

Language is also crucial in promoting diversity and inclusion in your job listings. Pay close attention that your listings are using inclusive language. Inherent and unconscious bias training is another valuable avenue to explore to make you and your teams more aware of their hiring and screening biases and shortcomings.

Brand reputation and awareness

5. You’re overly reliant on your brand’s reputation and awareness

Brand reputation and awareness significantly affect the number and quality of inbound applications a company receives. Companies with a strong, positive reputation in the market are more likely to attract a higher volume of applications from quality candidates. On the other hand, companies with a relatively unknown or negative perception may need help attracting many applications, especially from top talent.

A negative perception can stem from various issues, such as poor employee experiences, negative reviews, or public controversies. Candidates may be hesitant to apply to a company with a negative reputation, leading to a smaller pool of applicants. Similarly unknown brands or newly established companies often struggle to attract candidates as they are seen as somewhat of a wild card.

Conversely, companies with a positive reputation often receive a high volume of applications, sometimes more than they can effectively handle. While this may seem like a good problem to have, it can lead to challenges in providing an ideal candidate experience. Recruiters may struggle to review and respond to all applications promptly, potentially missing out on quality candidates.

Employing an effective outbound recruitment strategy can help remedy this. For a company that's relatively obscure or one that has a less than sparkling reputation in the market, outbound communication gives you your best chance to sell an opportunity and the company to a prospect directly. For a well-established brand, outbound recruitment and targeting passive candidates allows you to be incredibly selective in your communications. A personal message directly from you might be all a non-active job seeker needs to enter the process for an exciting new opportunity.

In closing

While inbound applications can be a valuable source of potential candidates, there are more effective strategies for recruiters and hiring managers than relying solely on them.

By actively engaging with passive candidates, defining job requirements clearly, proactively sourcing candidates, promoting diversity and inclusion, and diversifying sourcing strategies, you can overcome the common issues associated with relying solely on inbound applications and find the right talent for their job openings.

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