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The Recruiting Cycle is Broken: Why Finding the Right Fit Feels Harder Than Ever Right Now

It’s no secret that the recruiting process is broken. Talent acquisition teams are inundated with thousands of applicants for each job opening, forcing them to sift through the noise to get to the relevant candidates. They’re overworked and facing burn out. Hiring managers are just as frustrated, facing the same issues with little to no hiring expertise or time to dedicate to the hiring process. Meanwhile, despite one of the best job markets in generations, applicants are finding it harder than ever to find the right job for them. The digitization of a process that promised to improve and speed up the process of matching applicants to jobs is slow, inaccurate and woefully inefficient.

What went wrong? How did we get here? And how do we repair the recruiting process?

A systemic problem in the recruiting process

It used to be that someone entering the workforce would stay with the same company throughout their entire career—ending with a comfortable pension and a gold watch on their way into retirement. Organizations would hire with the understanding that they would train and mentor an employee for decades, justifying hiring for fit rather than an ability to do the job right out of the gate.

That world just doesn’t exist anymore. Employers are now hiring for more than just entry-level positions and have to consider whether an applicant is able to step into a mid- or higher-level role right away. Candidates are expected to have the right skills on day one, putting enormous pressure on hiring teams and people managers to find the right person. As a result, job descriptions continue to grow in length as people managers continue to add any possible keywords or required skills in the hopes of finding someone with the highly-curated skillset they need.

However, the opposite has happened. The easier it is to apply for jobs, the more likely candidates—both serious and passive—are likely to click that button and submit to an open position. They apply, and…do not hear back. They apply for additional jobs, and…continue to hear nothing. They apply for more jobs…and, increasingly getting frustrated, do not hear back. Compounding the issue is that job hunt tools make it extremely easy to apply to many jobs through the import and standardization of resumes and keyword optimization tools—creating an avalanche of somewhat qualified but ill-suited applications that continue to pile up and overwhelm hiring teams. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that rewards applying rather than landing a job.

Finding the right tool for the job

Hiring teams have the best of intentions, but they simply do not have the right tools or approach. Here are three steps for fixing the recruitment cycle:

1. Focus on skills-based hiring practices

Relying on verifiable skills and credentials is the most accurate and scalable way to find the best applicant for the job. This data-based approach puts science at the center of your talent acquisition strategy—eliminating the need to rely on gut feel or assumptions. This is a big departure from the way people are hired today. Recruitment has traditionally been based on who an applicant knows, where they’ve worked, where they went to school and other outdated proxies. Refocus your efforts on verifiable skills, such as third-party certifications, rather than buzzwords or specific phrases. This ensures you hire an applicant with the required skills—and data to back them up—to hit the ground running on day one without having to assume or make gut decisions.

2. Identify the skills that matter

Once you’ve changed your focus from resume keywords to verifiable credentials, the second step is to identify the skills that would allow someone to succeed at the job. It’s important to work with the hiring manager to see what their requirements are, what specific skills are relevant and what third-party credentials are required. You can then merge that information with culture match for the organization as a whole to ensure you get the right person for the job, for the company and for the applicant.

It’s also important to remember to recognize soft skills. A director of network security would need to know how to use the solutions the team already uses but also needs managerial skills such as communication, collaboration, and delegating. Fortunately, there are tools out there that help. They allow you to upload a job description and receive a list of skills required to do that job. From there, you can build profiles based on these skills and target people who fit.

3. Clean up the interviewing process

The third step for breaking the self-perpetuating cycle and fixing the recruitment process is to clean up the interviewing process. Many organizations have quotas they have to fill when filling a position—requiring them to interview a certain number of applicants before reaching out with an offer. This is counterproductive. Instead of approaching applicants that you want to interview, approach applicants that you want to hire. The key to this approach is to first identify qualified applicants before they interview. The way to do that? A data-based approach focused on verifiable credentials.

A skills-based approach to recruitment and hiring

It doesn’t matter which side of the coin you are on: both finding a job and filling a position are hard. This paradox is the result of legacy processes and tools inherent in the recruiting cycle.

Instead of focusing on resume data and keywords, organizations need to take a skills-based approach to finding the right applicants. But scrapping what’s worked for decades may take some internal maneuvering. Building a skills-based recruitment culture requires a change in mindset across all stakeholders—from the hiring team to the hiring manager to third-party recruiters. If done successfully, organizations will be able to accurately identify applicants with the required skill sets, applicants can take a more focused approach to the job hunting process, and hiring managers can make sure they are getting a teammate who can hit the ground running on day one. It all starts with a skills-based approach to recruiting and hiring.

Contact us to learn more about how Credly can help you take a skills-based approach to hiring.