Overcoming Challenges in Talent Sourcing and Acquisition

Multiple surveys indicate attracting top quality talent is one of the biggest challenges being faced by HR and business leaders today. The talent assessment platform Mercer-Mettl has come up with its 2nd Annual report, which through its survey of more than 900 decision-makers reveals that finding and hiring the best candidates for various roles is a tough and expensive process. 74% of respondents consider TA is still a challenge in 2019. With the hiring volumes increasing from 25% in 2018 to 31% in 2019, recruiters must be aware of the challenges to overcome if they want secure the very best workers.

Top Challenges in Sourcing and Talent Acquisition


Talent shortage is one of the recruiting challenges organizations face

A big reason why companies are finding it difficult to fill jobs is due to the widening skill gap that results in talent shortage. A research from the Korn Ferry Institute suggests that by 2030 the global talent shortage can grow to 85.2 million people, a frightening situation where companies could lose billions of dollars in lost economic opportunity.  The hardest-hit is the financial sector, where nearly 90 percent of the respondents from BFSI sector in the Mercer-Mettl survey rated Talent Acquisition as their biggest pain point.  As demand outpaces supply competition for qualified candidates will grow and getting a quality candidate will become increasingly difficult.

However, India is the only country among the 20 countries studied that will see a surplus of talent in these industries. This is a huge opportunity for India and its economy to become on par with other developed economies of the world. For the rest of the world, constant learning, driven by employees and employers will be central to fighting this shortage. Employers must start focusing on upskilling new and current employees as finding talent with the required skills will only become harder with time.


Also Read: 6 Steps to Create a Recruitment Sourcing Strategy


Poor communication between HR and hiring managers a recruiting challenge organizations face

Lack of understanding and communication between hiring managers and recruiters can lead to poor candidate experience and candidates dropping off at a later stage of hiring. This also leads to a bad employer brand which again seriously compromises the employer’s ability to attract top quality candidates.  Although the end goal of both recruiter and hiring manager is to find the best possible candidate for a role, poor communication often leads to a tense relationship which reflects during the hiring process. Hiring managers, while being subject matter expert of their space, are sometimes not able to effectively share their needs for the open vacancy which leads to inaccurate expectations and gap in the hiring process. According to a stat by ICIMS, 51% recruiters said hiring managers should do a better job of communicating what they are looking for in a candidate and provide reliable example.

The key to maintaining a healthy relationship with the hiring manager is proactive communication. Instead of shooting mail after mail, pick up the phone and ask specific questions. A few minutes over the phone can clear all confusion and avoid the endless mail game. Even better is if you both could sit for a cup of coffee and have a brief productive conversation.


Poorly written job descriptions is one of the sourcing challenges

If effectively done, job descriptions communicate your company direction, how the candidate will fit in the company culture, set clear expectations about what is expected from the candidate. On the other hand poorly written job descriptions lead to confusion, can be biased towards a particular gender and make people stop short from applying to a job even if they are qualified for it.  Companies lose out on top quality talent as candidates find it really difficult to respond to a job description that doesn’t clearly spell out in detail the goals and objectives of the job.

Some tips to create good job descriptions is to use professional, clear job titles, and not use fancy adjectives, superlatives or extreme modifiers.  Words like “rockstars”, “perfectionist”, “ninjas” tend to create a negative impact on candidates making them less likely to apply. Instead, create an engaging overview of the job and gradually focus on how it will contribute to company’s business objectives. While involving the hiring manager is essential, you can also include the current team to fine-tune the description.


Also Read: How to Reduce Time to Hire?

Inability to use data for decision making is a big talent acquisition challenge

While there is a rise in use of technology for recruiting, most recruiters still do not fully utilize the power of data to enhance their decision making capabilities. According to a stat by CIPD that has 150000 HR professionals as its members, only 7% HR professionals who have people analytics capability in their function are optimizing their usage of analytics. Global companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon which are known for the exceptional quality talent rely on data driven decision making model for recruiting.

To overcome the challenges in using a data-driven recruiting approach, recruiters need to become more data-savvy, and start tracking metrics beyond the usual time to fill or quality of hire.  Whether it is tracking the application drop off rate, or the turnover rate of new hires, the only way of consistently hiring and retaining top quality candidates in the current age is to dive deep in data. Recruiters can also benchmark their progress against data-driven practices at recruiting powerhouses like Google, and other global majors.


Also Read: How to Improve Talent Acquisition?

Poor candidate experience is one of the biggest challenges in talent acquisition

There is little doubt that a poor candidate experience hampers talent acquisition. If employers overlook this part of the recruitment process, not only they will lose quality talent, but also waste lot of resources. There are multiple researches that point out to a close relationship between a bad candidate experience and higher time to fill, as well as greater candidate apply drop offs.  The Phenom People’s 2018 The State of Talent Relationship Marketing report audited Fortune 500 companies about their candidate experiences. In what can be called as a surprising revelation, only 2 percent of the companies provide updates to candidates about the status of their application. It is a frustrating experience for candidates to remain in limbo about their final status where a simple email could easily end this period of confusion and apprehension for them.

There is a lot that can be done to ensure a positive candidate experience; having a user friendly career site that is regularly updated with jobs, posting well-crafted job descriptions, creating a well-defined application flow and a continuous communication plan that keeps all stakeholders well informed.


Sourcing new talent in this rapidly growing economic landscape is difficult as demand outruns the supply. Unemployment is low which makes people pickier about the jobs they accept. To win in this competitive landscape, recruiters will need to undertake a multi-directional approach which combines various traditional tactics with innovative, data-driven recruiting techniques.