What Small Businesses Are Saying About the Recruitment Process

 “People make the ultimate difference” Bill McDermott, CEO SAP

Even the best ideas can fail. Success is never guaranteed. It is dependent upon the talent, drive, and compatibility of human beings. Companies don’t just need bodies – they need people who have the talent and skills to meet the job requirements, and are a good fit for the team. Recruitment, therefore, is high stakes, mission-critical work.

To learn more about how crucial recruitment efforts are managed, particularly in small business, we surveyed 2,341 business professionals responsible for recruitment activities. Of those surveyed, 50% were in HR and 50% were in the lines of business. The survey included professionals in the US, the UK, and France across a range of industries, with an emphasis on retail, hospitality, and healthcare. All participants represented companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Our comprehensive report details specific findings; broadly, we learned the following:


Multiple, Unrelated Responsibilities

95.2% of those surveyed also had additional job duties including employee training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, and workforce planning (not to mention line of business responsibilities).

WorkConnect Chart

97.0% performed multiple functions within recruitment – some combination of managing candidate searches, interviewing candidates, tracking applicants, and making hiring decisions. Individuals dedicated solely to recruitment does not appear to be typical in companies of fewer than 500 employees.

WorkConnect Link

In addition to other duties and activities, 58.7% of respondents hired 10 or more people in the previous 12 months, indicating there are multiple candidate searches being managed at any given time.

Number of New Hires

Time pressure to make hires

94.3% indicated that urgency to fill the role was a key factor in the level of difficulty involved in filling an open position. Even in markets where it is common to give two weeks or more notice before leaving a position, time pressure to hire still exists across the three markets. Given the rhythm of business today and employee loyalty dynamics (e.g., job hopping), there is a narrow window between approval to fill an open position and the need to have someone functioning in that position.

Growth and evolution are main triggers

84.4% indicated that a factor prompting new hires was growth and evolution including business growth, expansion, evolving job requirements, and restructured roles. The remainder indicated the trigger was more “functional” in nature (sick or maternity leave, retirement, normal turnover, seasonal workforce, increasing overtime). This indicates a strong strategic nature to hiring activities, increasing the stakes for finding candidates that are a good fit for evolving organizations.

Prompts for New Hires

Lots of manual effort

Use of online job boards or career websites is high (72.7%), as is use of software specifically to support the hiring process (61.4%).

Still, 56.7% use printed documents and 51.7% use spreadsheets to manage hiring activities. This generally means printing resumes, manually marking them up and sorting them according to level of interest, and then using XL to track applicants through the interview process.

94.7% indicated two or more people are involved in the hiring process even though this level of manual effort is not conducive to team collaboration.

Offline Tools for Hiring


Tight labor pools

It’s a candidate’s market: 96.5% of respondents say quality of available candidates is a factor that influences the difficulty of filling a job, 92.5% say availability of candidates is a factor, and 90.3% say competition for candidates is a factor.

Tight labor pools


Inefficient processes

In this environment, where there is time pressure to make hires and it’s challenging to find good candidates, 77.7% of respondents say completing the hiring process in an efficient and time-saving way is a challenge.

Across the hiring process, 78.6% say managing postings on multiple job boards is a challenge, 76.5% indicated that keeping track of applicant status and follow-ups is challenging, and 75.7% say consolidating and organizing feedback from co-workers is a challenge.

Given these dynamics it’s not surprising that people involved with recruiting want the following:

Access to more qualified candidates 92.30%
Easier to manage job posts 84.80%
More lead time for recruitment 84.10%
Easier to collaborate with peers during candidate evaluation 83.60%
More accessible database of previous job descriptions 82.70%
More automation / less paper 80.90%
Better applicant tracking software 80.50%
More budget to promote job posts 77.40%
More staff to support hiring 74.60%

Individuals tasked with recruitment – HR and hiring managers – are craving a better way. They want access to more and better candidates, they want to move away from printing documents and filing them in folders, and they want a better way to collect, aggregate, and store coworker feedback. Ultimately, they want to find ways to move and act more quickly.

People involved in recruitment are operating under some very challenging conditions. There is a tremendous opportunity to make things easier for them by enabling better business processes like hiring triggers, job descriptions, job posting, and collaboration. The hiring process is calling for tools and technology to support the end-to-end lifecycle.

This article was written by Jeff Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Partner at WideOpen, and originally appeared on WorkConnect by SAP.

A New Study Reveals the Top 3 Barriers to Efficient Recruitment

Recruiting is High Stakes

Individuals charged with hiring employees face big challenges today: time pressure from hiring managers who need positions filled quickly, shrinking and highly competitive labor pools, interview processes that require collaboration among numerous people, lack of tools to facilitate the process. But it’s also a time of great opportunity: many companies are hiring due to growth or expansion and evolving job requirements, and companies know employees are their most important asset and that cultural fit is critical.

To meet the demands in today’s business environment, recruitment efforts need to be nimble, synchronized, and expansive. But a new independent study conducted by WideOpen set to release this month reveals there are key obstacles and common challenges among recruiters and hiring managers that threaten the ability to meet these demands. This global study of 2,341 recruiters and hiring managers in the US, UK, and France representing companies with fewer than 500 employees indicates the following for US respondents (n=841):

Obstacle 1: Candidate’s Market

The primary factor influencing the level of difficulty of filling an open job is related to supply and demand. There simply is a shortage of qualified, available candidates.

Candidate’s Market

Obstacle 2: Managing Job Postings

To reach as many candidates as possible, recruiters typically post their job postings to multiple online job boards. With the ongoing proliferation and fragmentation of job boards and communities, this has become a burdensome, time-consuming task.

Job Posting ChallengeObstacle 3: Candidate Management

Once candidates have been identified, the work of scheduling interviews, tracking applicants, and managing the interview process creates a different layer of obstacles among recruiters and hiring managers.

Candidate Management

A Better Way

Given the understandable and relatable challenges faced by those tasked with hiring new employees, recruiters and hiring managers have specific thoughts on how to facilitate a better set of tools and processes for a smoother process.

* Easier way to manage job posts. 94% of recruiters want greater access to more candidates. Expanding access to candidates means expanding access to various candidate pools, necessitating more job boards, more postings to manage. Already 58% of respondents currently post to four or more online job boards. It’s no surprise, then, that 87% of respondents want it to be easier to manage this flurry of activity.

* Better way to track applicants. With increasing candidates coming into the funnel, recruiters need a better way to manage that volume. Among other requirements, they need to be able to quickly filter those candidates they are interested in pursuing, whether that’s a phone interview or an in-person interview. 84% indicate selecting and categorizing suitable candidates is a challenge; 86% would like better applicant tracking software.

* Better tools to facilitate overall management. While there are myriad quality online job boards, recruiters still use a lot of manual tools to manage and track the overall process: spreadsheets, word processors, printouts, emails are all used by the majority of respondents to track and manage online job posting activity, and to collaborate with colleagues and aggregate their feedback on applicants. 84% of respondents indicate the need for more automation and less paper in the process.

As the stakes for effective recruiting increase and the activities required to manage recruitment efforts multiply, companies need to enable these efforts with automation and modern digital tools. In the age of customer experience where every business is a people business, a company’s most critical asset requires a commensurate degree of attention and support.

Stay tuned for more detailed findings, including those from the UK and France.

This post was written by Jeff Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Partner at WideOpen, and was originally published on WorkConnect by SAP.