8 Barriers Slowing Down Your Recruitment Process

Time to Read: 6.1 minutes

Updated: May 7, 2024

A slow recruitment process can be a significant hurdle if you are aiming to attract and hire top talent. Many barriers, including vague job descriptions and extended interview rounds, can lead to frustrating delays and the loss of qualified candidates. Recognizing and tackling these obstacles are important steps to improve the speed and efficiency of your recruitment efforts.

1. Unclear Job Descriptions

A significant barrier to a quick hiring process is a lack of clear job descriptions. Without a detailed understanding of the role, including responsibilities, required skills, qualifications, and benefits, both hiring teams and candidates can be left confused, leading to a mismatch of expectations.

What to Do: Make sure your job descriptions are comprehensive and cover the actual requirements of the position. Collaborate with hiring managers to create descriptions that accurately reflect the needs of the team and the organization.

2. Overly Complex Application Procedures

A lengthy or complicated application process can deter potential candidates, particularly those who are in high demand. The average length of the hiring process in the US is 23.8 days. Simplifying the application process can reduce the dropout rate and accelerate the hiring cycle. A slow recruitment process can turn away highly skilled professionals, as they often have multiple opportunities and expect a quick and straightforward hiring experience.

What to Do: Review and streamline your application process, removing any unnecessary steps. Ensure that the process is mobile-friendly and accessible to candidates with various levels of technical proficiency.

3. Poor Candidate Communication

Timely and clear communication with candidates is crucial. As many as 54% of candidates have walked away from a job due to poor communication. When candidates don’t receive timely updates or know what to expect next, they may lose interest and look for other jobs. This can lead to a slow recruitment process with longer wait times to fill open roles.

An inefficient interview process can also have an impact. A mix of interviewers who aren’t prepared or too many rounds of interviews can slow down the hiring process.

What to Do: Set up clear communication rules and interview procedures to improve the candidate experience. Make sure candidates receive updates at every step of the recruitment process, using automated messages when it makes sense or keeping in touch personally. At the same time, keep the number of interview rounds low, and improve efficiency by agreeing set questions and criteria to evaluate an applicant’s suitability and skills.

4. Inadequate Recruitment Technology

A slow recruitment process can often be traced back to outdated or insufficient recruitment technology. Having an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is essential for managing candidate information, improving communication, and handling routine tasks efficiently. While 70% of large companies have already incorporated an ATS, only 20% of small to mid-sized businesses have followed suit. Additionally, 75% of organizations now use an ATS or similar technology to assess applicants and improve the hiring experience. This trend is underlined by the finding that 94% report that implementing an ATS has improved their recruitment process.

What to Do: Invest in a robust ATS that can handle the scale of your recruitment needs. Look for features such as resume parsing, integrated communication tools, and reporting capabilities to enhance efficiency.

5. Streamlining Recruitment Planning and Decision-Making

Successful recruitment needs careful planning and decisive action. If planning is lacking or there’s not enough time, people, or money, it can cause unwanted delays.

What to Do: Begin by allocating the necessary resources well in advance of your recruitment activities. Create a schedule that reflects the times when you’ll need to hire more actively and make sure your team has the right number of people and the skills to manage these periods effectively.

At the same time, it’s important to have a well-defined decision-making process, ensuring that those responsible agree on what makes a good candidate. Introducing firm deadlines for decision-making will ensure the hiring process moves along effectively, supporting your team in finding the right people for the job.

6. Limited Talent Pools

A narrow or limited talent pool can lead to a slow recruitment process, as recruiters may struggle to find candidates who meet specific criteria. Since the typical employee switches jobs every two to four years, the task of finding the right talent becomes even tougher. Broadening the search to consider people who aren’t actively looking for a job can help with this problem. Considering that 61% of workers prioritize the opportunity to add new skills when deciding to stay at a job, highlighting learning and growth opportunities can attract a broader range of applicants, including those not actively job-seeking but open to enhancing their career prospects.

What to Do: Broaden your sourcing strategies to include a variety of channels such as social media, professional networks, and niche job boards. Consider partnering with educational institutions or professional associations to access a wider pool of talent.

7. Lack of Employer Branding

Employer branding significantly influences candidate attraction. When a company’s reputation as an employer isn’t strong, it may deter skilled individuals from applying, potentially slowing down your recruitment process. About 59% of recruiting leaders are investing more in their employer brand, which highlights its importance in the hiring landscape. Additionally, a solid employer brand can lead to a 28% drop in staff turnover and cut the cost of hiring by half. It’s also worth noting that over half of job seekers look at a company’s website and social media channels to get a sense of what working there might be like. Underlining the need for maintaining an authentic and positive online presence to attract the right talent.

What to Do: Invest in building a strong employer brand that reflects your company’s culture, values, and employee value proposition. Use storytelling through your employees’ experiences to showcase what it’s like to work at your company.

8. Regulatory Compliance and Legal Hurdles

In the United States, there is a complex system of legal and regulatory requirements that can affect the speed of your recruitment process. Compliance is not just about federal laws like the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Fair Labor Standards Act. The real challenge lies in the details of state and local regulations, which can be more demanding than federal rules. For instance, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, and local laws about minimum wage, sick leave, and criminal history inquiries in certain cities, create a patchwork of obligations.

This layered legal landscape means that you need to be diligent in understanding and applying the right laws to ensure they meet all compliance standards. This attention to detail can lead to a slow recruitment process, especially when working across multiple states or local jurisdictions.

What to Do: It’s essential for employers and talent attraction teams to keep up with the latest employment laws and regulations. Employment laws can change quickly, and it’s important to stay compliant to avoid legal issues and maintain a good reputation.

Addressing challenges in recruitment requires a thoughtful strategy that prioritizes straightforward communication, the smart use of technology, careful planning, and a keen attention to the candidate’s journey. By pinpointing and tackling these hurdles, you can improve your recruitment processes and attract the skilled individuals you need to thrive.

If you are looking for innovative ways to improve your talent attraction and retention Pierpoint’s full service RPO solution could be the answer. Talk to an expert today to discuss your talent needs.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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