Blog News Corporate Recruitment is in Crisis

Thomas International conducted some very interesting research in Q3 2021, with over 500 Senior HR and Talent Management professionals completing an in-depth survey as part of their annual ‘Mind the Trust Gap’ annual research report.


Here is the summary of their findings along with our own insights, highlighting how a more sophisticated approach to recruitment, that combines technology with psychology, will address and solve many of the challenges that the industry faces.


Most companies do not apply an evidence-based approach to recruiting and do not understand why or where their talent attraction and hiring process is broken.


We have reviewed the findings from this survey and outlined where we believe the answers are, to solving these industry-wide challenges.


The Thomas report headlined as 10 shocking statistics that reveal recruitment is in crisis.


We don’t disagree, there is a nationwide crisis, and this was reflected in the post-Covid/Brexit period where companies struggled to recruit talent, even for mainstream unskilled roles, where previously high volumes of candidates had presented a completely different set of challenges.


Confidence in recruitment is low

1. 50:50 chance for new hires

A survey of 500 businesses revealed that over half (57%) of hires are not working out, according to the people who made the hire. This alarming statistic indicates that recruitment is broken.


Our response: This is a problem caused by 3 key factors. Companies need to invest in technology and tools that better assess candidates, there needs to be better due diligence during candidate selection, and recruiters need better training on how to adapt and deliver more effective screening solutions that reflect the nuances of each role.


2. It’s the door for one in four

A quarter of these bad hires have left the business or are not working out, while a further third (32%) are struggling with some elements of their role.


Our response: Until companies address this issue from the top down, there is unlikely to be a change amongst the coalface recruiters responsible for sourcing and recruiting the best talent. ‘Getting jobs filled’ tends to be the mantra amongst most recruitment teams, in contrast to company stakeholders who more intrinsically understand the importance of always hiring the best talent they can at every opportunity.


3. Risk is ramping up

After a slow year, 64% of businesses are increasing their recruitment activity again. Making the right hires is vital, yet as recruitment activity increases, so does the risk of making a poor hire. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that direct and indirect costs of a bad hire range from between 50% and 150% of the employee’s annual salary.



Our response: Rewarding recruiters for recruiting people that stay in their role for longer than 12 months could be a very simple yet effective solution to this problem. Having a 12-month reward pipeline for your recruitment team will also help to address the high attrition rates in HR-related roles too, killing two birds with one stone.


4. Remote working remains

Whilst 44% of recruiters still cite remote working as the biggest driver of transformation in the sector, it is less influential for most. This suggests that a level of adaptation to remote working may already have been achieved.


Our response: Remote working for recruitment and interview teams is particularly challenging, especially when the majority of online active talent is not committed to moving jobs, and will use the application and interview process as means to make judgement on the company and opportunity.


This means that recruiters need to work even harder and smarter to influence prospective employees. Technology needs to be efficient and effective, processes need to be slick and engaging, and people need to be well trained to execute and manage this entire process, and that is often 100% remotely.


5. Buffeted by Brexit

Four in ten recruiters are concerned about the impact of Brexit and say that the disruption caused continues to be a major influence on their hiring and skills acquisition activity.


Our response: Taking over 1 million unskilled workers out of the national workforce after a year where there were 5 times more retirements than normal and within a marketplace that has been advertising over 1 million jobs for the last few months, should and does scare many recruiters. However, so many companies do recruitment badly, that those who are willing to up their game and refine their tactics can win an unfair share of the applicants that are still out there looking.


6. Differentiation difficulties

Despite the disruption, the primary challenge recruiters say they face is distinguishing between candidates (88%). Just 21% of hiring managers think that CVs are a strong indicator of the future performance of a hire.


Our response: Lack of due diligence and low levels of sophistication in screening applicants means there is a high risk of making bad hires. It’s usually not that difficult to work out why your staff are leaving in the first year of employment and then addressing this.


Candidates that leave in the first year do so because they are either a poor cultural fit, you didn’t onboard, train or support them properly, they don’t get on with their manager, the job isn’t challenging enough, they feel under-valued, they have been offered more money somewhere else, or they feel that you are underpaying them.


Once you understand the problem, you need to address it. Some of these are not a quick and easy fix however, and authenticity is a crucial element in building a company culture that people want to remain part of.


7. Quality is the priority

Recruiters’ top priority over the next 12 months is improving the quality of hires. 38% of survey respondents say they prioritise hire quality over any other consideration in the hiring process, including speed, cost, and candidate experience.


Our response: If ever there was an obvious outcome from this survey, this is the one that I would have backed, because generating more quality applications against your vacancy overcomes a multitude of problems.


Generating more high-quality direct applications is the holy grail of talent attraction. It is achievable, by addressing the following aspects:

  • Get your job advertised on more of the online channels where the best and most appropriate applicants go.
  • Optimise your job adverts to get found and to convert more views into actual applications.
  • Offer more competitive rates and attract through opportunity.
  • Use technology and tools to avoid applicant drop-off and to improve the applicant experience.


A New World of Recruitment

8. Culprits: complexity and culture fit

According to recruiters, the root cause of frequently failed hires is a combination of complicated, drawn-out processes (31%), poor candidate experience (31%), and an inability to test culture fit (31%).


Our response: We can’t disagree with this. An efficient and effective recruitment process requires the right tools, technology, processes, and people to execute successfully.


9. Evolve or die

99% of recruiters think that improving the quality of recruitment systems and processes is important in the current environment. This highlights an overwhelming need for recruitment systems to evolve in order to bridge the trust gap that is currently undermining them.



Our response: We recommend selecting a technology provider that combines talent attraction and ATS functionality as a single-point solution. Most ATS only do tracking, and that’s like having a shop without customers.


Find a technology provider that can help you execute a more evidence-based approach, support you throughout your contract, and work alongside you on a job-by-job basis, taking on accountability for performance and outcomes.


10. Tech for trust

The majority of recruiters (80%) believe that technology will play a key role in the evolution of recruitment processes. In contrast with ‘gut-feel’, tools like predictive hiring and psychometric testing are considered to offer accurate, objective information that can help to close the trust gap.


Our response: Recruitment technology should support variable workflows, and use AI and automation to improve efficiency and performance.


There should be a range of features to execute effective screening that can be adapted to the needs of each individual role that you are recruiting for.


Reporting tools should provide accurate insights and transparency to the recruiter, so that it is clear what is working and what isn’t so that improvements can be applied.


Our summary

The perfect storm has hit recruitment this year, combining the effects of Brexit and Covid, making recruiting staff much harder.


It is a wake-up call for all recruiters that they need to up their game. Those companies that do so, will reap the rewards now and for the long term. Companies upgrading their recruitment tools and processes will position themselves to recruit the best available talent, and make better hires that are more productive and stay in their jobs longer.


Looking to upgrade your recruitment technology or ATS? Get our Ultimate Applicant Tracking System Checklist

Smart Recruit Online

December 2, 2021

We offer an award-winning talent acquisition platform, that combines an ATS with a powerful job board multi-poster. Our platform helps you quickly find and hire the best talent online for less with a range of tools designed to help you run a successful recruitment campaign. We use extensive research and an understanding of human behaviour to keep our business and technology at the cutting edge.

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