Pain points include generating interest from qualified candidates and identifying essential versus “nice-to-have” qualifications.

In today’s fiercely competitive market for talent, the secret to success may start with looking inward at what your company is truly searching for and what you have to offer.

That’s one of the strategies recommended following a new survey by the global staffing firm Robert Half. Some 2,800 senior managers across the U.S. reported three, interrelated pain points facing HR in the hiring process: generating interest from qualified candidates (35 percent), identifying essential versus “nice-to-have” qualifications (29 percent), and crafting attractive compensation and benefits packages to top other companies’ offers (30 percent).

“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for skilled individuals,” notes Richard Deosingh, a district president based in New York City for Robert Half International. “They tend to have multiple offers and be extremely selective in the opportunity they decide to accept.”

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With such pressure to find a good applicant, it can be easy to gloss over developing a detailed but realistic job description and responsibilities list while also accurately promoting and describing the company’s culture and its vision. “We spend a lot of time coaching candidates [and talking about] how do you write a resume that stands out,” he says. “The same thing applies to an employer.”

Good candidates are looking for a position that will give them longevity and stability, along with the support to grow professionally, learn new things and be challenged. Presenting that information up front can help improve the response. Plus, it’s what individuals from all generations are looking for, he adds.

As for the job skills required, Deosingh recommends focusing on the must-haves while noting the wish-list qualifications to fine-tune which talent responds. However, companies should be realistic about their compensation offer and consider that some “dream candidate” skills may be better taught than required.

Another focus is to do your homework to ask the right interview questions to engage the candidate so that they can assess the employer as well as vice versa. Then, once you’ve identified a good fit, don’t delay: “Move quickly and offer an attractive compensation,” he says.

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The survey also asked respondents about the causes of “bad hire” decisions. Thirty percent of senior managers said a mismatched skill set was the leading cause of failed hires, along with unclear performance expectations (26 percent) and personality conflicts (23 percent). These failures can be traced to the job description and not asking the right interview questions, he notes.

While a bad hire or two is inevitablethe process is not foolproof, of courseHR leaders should perk up when hiring data shows consistent failures.

“Even though you’ve done your due diligence, the person may change during the course of their tenure with the company,” Deosingh adds. “But if it continues to happen, I think the company needs to hit pause [and] revisit where they’re sourcing candidates from, how they’re portraying themselves, what they’re asking for [and] how they are onboarding people.”

For an infographic detailing all the results of the Robert Half survey, click here.

Maura Ciccarelli is freelance writer based in Southeastern Pennsylvania. She can be reached at [email protected]

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