Employers having a tough time finding qualified candidates, survey says

Hiring the right person can be a challenging ordeal — between looking for someone who is a star in their field, and also the right “fit” for the company (while on deadline), recruiters often face a host of difficulties.

Recruiters, it’s not all in your head — a recent Glassdoor survey found that a whopping 76% of recruiters say the struggle to find qualified candidates is their No. 1 complaint.

Why recruiters have been having trouble, then and now

The researchers surveyed 750 recruiters at employers in the U.K. and U.S. and found that with unemployment at an historic low, challenges offering competitive benefits and compensation packages and budget limitations, recruiting through typical job search channels can be a dead end.

More companies don’t think recruiting methods “of the past” are doing the job, researchers found.

Glassdoor found that recruiters are often confused about where to advertise about open positions so top candidates apply.

The issues are consistent with 2016 findings by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which said that 68% of HR workers in all industries had trouble hiring full-time employees in 2016, compared to 50% in 2013. A staggering 59% of HR workers said candidates didn’t have “basic skills and knowledge,” with these areas at the forefront: the ability to speak and write in English, proficiency in math, “reading comprehension” and “basic computer skills.”

The same June 2016 SHRM report also shed light on how difficult it has become to hire the right candidates over time, saying that according to information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from the last year (citing data), the number of open positions has gone up while unemployment levels drop. This leaves fewer and fewer qualified candidates for open jobs.

“According to HR professionals, it’s getting harder to find people for the jobs they are trying to fill,” Jennifer Schramm, manager of workforce trends at SHRM, said in a statement, “the top reasons are a low number of applicants, lack of needed work experience among those that do apply, competition from other employers and a lack of technical skills among job applicants.”

SHRM research also found that HR workers said that “their local markets were simply not producing enough qualified candidates,” leaving them to have to search farther afield for good workers.

What does this mean for job-seekers?

The overwhelming majority of recruiters (88%) said their ideal candidate is an informed candidate — which they defined as an applicant who’s done their homework about the company, recognizes their applicable skill set for the job, educates themselves about the job role, understands the company’s style and values and has an understanding of the benefits and salary they will be able to expect from the role.

So, make yourself into an informed candidate: do your homework. Long before you apply to a company, familiarize yourself with companies you are interested in and see what kind of roles they have available and what’s included in the job description.

Reach out to people you know at the company, or at other similar companies, and ask them about their day-to-day responsibilities. Think about how your experience might be compatible, or where you have gaps in your knowledge that you can fill.

Then, when the time comes to send that resume, you’ll be prepared to hit the ground running.