Thanks to a recovering economy, job seekers now have opportunities that weren't available in the wake of the Great Recession of the previous decade. But on the flip side, that shift has led recruiters to say that a talent shortage is their No. 1 hiring challenge today. 

That's according to a new survey from career website Glassdoor and Harris Poll, which asked 515 human resources and business managers in the United States about their current hiring practices and concerns. 

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they are having trouble finding qualified candidates for open positions. A quarter said they only see the situation getting more challenging within the next year if the economy continues to improve. 

The results echo the findings of another recent Glassdoor survey, which discovered that American workers have regained their career confidence. Forty-eight percent of job seekers said they believe they'll be able to find a position that matches their experience and compensation levels within the next six months.

Meanwhile, recruiters are in a stiff competition to even get candidates' attention. Fifty-two percent of hiring managers say that "passive recruiting"--which involves reaching out to candidates who have not directly applied to the position--has been less effective in the past year. According to the survey: 

  • 51 percent of hiring managers say they believe that candidates have grown tired of emails from networking sites and respond at a much lower rate.
  • 47 percent indicate that candidates aren't responding as much to emails, period.
  • And 44 percent say that candidates are reluctant to return phone calls, too. 

With this in mind, you'll need to tailor your outreach efforts as much as possible, Glassdoor senior director Samantha Zupan, says.

"Don't send a generic email to a person you're interested in reaching for a particular job," she said. "Be genuine and direct in giving insights on why you think that person would be good for the role and include highlights about the role and company." 

Another approach is to revisit the candidate pool you've already amassed through your career website--even if many of those people don't initially appear to be qualified, recommends Liz Ryan, a former HR exec for large companies and now Forbes contributor.

"Real people come with way more ingenuity and pluck than the dreamed-up people we invent in our heads to fill our job openings," Ryan argues.

If you ask Ryan, she doesn't think there is a talent shortage. The right employee can always learn skills on the job, she says. 

What's your take?

Published on: Feb 23, 2015