One-Third of HR Managers Say Recruiting Top Challenge

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

Oct. 7 — Recruiting is now the top challenge for more than one-third (36 percent) of HR managers, a jump of more than 50 percent from five years ago, when less than one-quarter (23 percent) of HR managers said that was their biggest challenge, according to a survey by Menlo Park, Calif.-based office staffing company OfficeTeam.

“The competition for job candidates is intense. Employers need to offer competitive salaries and benefits and move quickly to hire when they find strong candidates, or risk losing them to other companies,” Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, said in an Oct. 6 e-mail to Bloomberg BNA.

Tips he offered for recruitment in today's tighter labor market include:

  • In crafting job descriptions, “employers should highlight their strong corporate culture, benefits packages, work/life balance offerings and any other programs that would appeal to applicants.”
  • Interviews and reference checks are more important than how candidates present themselves on paper in resumes and applications.
  • Recruiters should ask “open-ended interview questions that reveal a candidate’s past experience on the job and work style.”
  • Employers should consider hiring “candidates on a temporary or project basis to evaluate their fit for the job and work environment before bringing them on full time.”

Training and developing employees still edged out recruiting as the top challenge in the survey, which was released Sept. 23, at 38 percent, though it was down 7 points compared with the 2010 survey. Retention was essentially flat at 26 percent, compared with 27 percent five years ago. OfficeTeam surveyed 307 HR managers this year and 510 HR managers in 2010.

Another major challenge cited by 26 percent of HR managers this year was conducting employee terminations or layoffs. Hosking suggested that in this area: “HR and legal teams should work closely together to determine the best way to handle employee terminations and layoffs. Conducting employee terminations and layoffs are sensitive matters, which is why clearly communicating to those impacted is key in these situations.”

By Martin Berman-Gorvine

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at

A blog post and infographic on the survey are available at