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Recruitment Difficulties: Solutions to 4 Big Problems and Challenges

by | Sep 17, 2021 | Top Echelon Blog

Being a recruiter is not easy. Being an agency recruiter is even less so. However, when things go well, the job can be very rewarding. (In more ways than one.) Even when times are good for search consultants, though, there can be recruitment difficulties galore.

This especially describes conditions in a candidates’ market, when job candidates typically have the leverage in hiring situations. And top job candidates have the most leverage. Let’s face it: candidate behavior can be and often is unpredictable. Even though you work tirelessly to build relationships and rapport with candidates, problems still rear their ugly head and challenges persistently exist.

Recruitment difficulties with job candidates

Top help us tackle these difficulties, problems, and challenges, we’ve enlisted the help of recruiting and staffing trainer Barb Bruno, CPC/CTS of Good as Gold Training. According to Barb, candidates will often do the following, regardless of the amount of trust that you believe you’ve built with them:

  • Go on multiple interviews
  • Consult family and friends for advice
  • Increase salary demands
  • Misrepresent the truth
  • Not welcome your opinions
  • Not listen to your advice
  • Receive more than one offer
  • Be enticed by their current employer not to accept another offer
  • Shop your offer
  • Utilize other recruiters
  • Reach out to their network for job leads

It is because of this behavior that professional recruiters and search consultants seemingly have to continually contend with a set of four recruitment difficulties. They include no-shows or “ghosting,” no-starts or turndowns, counteroffers, and fall-offs. (In fact, you could call this quartet the “Mount Rushmore of Recruiter Disappointment.”)

Four solutions to recruiting problems and challenges

However, Barb Bruno has solutions to these recruiting challenges. These solutions can help you to improve your rapport and loyalty with candidates, while at the same time dramatically reducing the occurrences of these problems. That’s a win-win!

Below are solutions to four big recruitment difficulties:

#1—No-shows or “ghosting”

According to Barb, recruiters must listen more and talk less during their phone calls with job candidates. She stresses understanding and focusing on the priorities and “hot buttons” of each candidate. If you’re able to do that, then it increases the chances that the candidate will actually show up when they say they’re going to show up.

“Candidates ‘ghost’ when they don’t understand how you can benefit them,” said Barb. “Call the night before to prep your candidate, confirm the interview, and answer any questions. If ‘red flags’ surface, address them or cancel the interview . . . which is better than a no-show.”

#2—No-starts or offer turndowns

Barb recommends conducting a general interview that is not focused on one specific opportunity. When you do this, you can more easily uncover the candidate’s “hot buttons” or what will motivate them the most to make a career move.

However, it doesn’t stop there. According to Barb, recruiters should re-interview their candidates throughout the process.

“The answers you received in your initial interview were the best answers this candidate would give to a stranger or someone they don’t know or trust,” said Barb. “As your rapport with this candidate improves, they will give you more honest and candid answers. These answers will help you know where you must focus if you want to attract this person to your company.”


There are also steps you can take beforehand to eliminate the risk of your candidate accepting a counteroffer. According to Barb, you should ask the following question during the initial interview: “If you were your boss, give me five changes you would make.”

“This question uncovers the real reason they are contemplating a career move,” said Barb. “If the only changes they list are money and advancement, then they will accept a counteroffer. If the candidate insists that they will not accept a counteroffer, ask them to give you the reason why and to do so in their own words.”

When they give you their answer, write down exactly what they say. Then, when their current employer presents them with a counteroffer down the road, you can read their own words back to them! Talk about a Jedi mind-trick of the highest order!

“This brings them back to the other reasons they were contemplating a change, which cannot be solved by a promotion, raise, or extension of their contract or assignment,” said Barb.

Game, set, and match to the recruiter!


According to Barb, you must develop a working relationship with your candidate, one that is based upon trust. If you have strong rapport with them, then they will be more likely to disclose any issues they may experience once they start work with their new employer.

If they don’t feel as though they can trust you, then they won’t confide in you, and then bye-bye placement and hello replacement.

“Candidates need to feel you have their best interest at heart and will negotiate on their behalf when issues arise,” said Barb. “Problems often arise from unrealistic expectations on the part of your candidate and clients. It is important that you are clear on specific expectations, so you can share them with both parties.”

Solve recruitment difficulties with your ATS

When you implement the solutions outlined above to address these four recruitment difficulties, you can drastically reduce the problems, challenges, and complexities of running a recruiting desk. Fewer problems means more placements, and more placements means more fees, and who doesn’t like that?

Another way to solve recruitment difficulties and overcome challenges in recruiting is through the use of a powerful and effective applicant tracking system or ATS. Top Echelon offers a dynamic ATS software for professional recruiters and search consultants.

Not only does our recruiting software have superb applicant tracking functionality, but it also has robust candidate relationship management and client relationship management capabilities. As you can see by the many problems that can arise, using a CRM when dealing with candidates can give you the edge you need to prevent problems before they arise and meet challenges head-on.

Right now, we’re offering a 15-day free trial of our executive search software. The best part is that you do NOT need a credit card to start your trial and you will have access to the full version of the software! (What other applicant tracking software package is going to make that offer, we ask?)

However, if you’re not yet ready to test-drive our recruiting software, then you can also request a live demo. One of our account executives will be happy to show you the features and functionality of the software and discuss how it can help you streamline the recruiting process and make more placements!

Executive Search Software

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