The Candidate Pool Isn't Drying Up

November 10, 2015

The Candidate Pool Isn't Drying Up

Supplement Traditional Thinking to Widen Your Field of Qualified Applicants

To better understand how employers find, manage, and keep employees, we polled human resource professionals at organizations in multiple industries (including business, finance, healthcare, and manufacturing). The results revealed employers are struggling to find talent for open positions, with 65 percent of small, 45 percent of medium and 40 percent of large companies saying that it is their biggest problem.

In addition, when asked what slows the hiring process the most, the survey found:

  • 55 percent - Attracting the right candidates
  • 16 percent  - Screening applications and reviewing resumes
  • 10 percent  - Coordinating interviews
  • percent  - Doing background/drug tests
  • percent  - Finalizing the selection and offer letter
  • percent  - Creating the job description
  • percent  - Waiting on or interpreting assessment/test results

The data also revealed that most organizations focus on the expected areas of candidates' skills, experience, and education when looking to bring in new hires. Even more alarming is the fact that companies of all sizes are not including "soft" criteria, such as personalities and behaviors, as part of their job descriptions. This means they are often not putting the right emphasis on equally critical areas (such as motivating drives) and an individual's characteristics that are important for success.  As a result, they are inadvertently narrowing their own candidate pools by concentrating on only the "hard" criteria of job requirements and skills.


By creating job descriptions that list required skills and also desired behaviors -– e.g., deadline driven, able to juggle multiple projects with a smile, heads-down focus under pressure -– you will attract a more qualified candidate from the get-go. And those who aren't a good fit don't end up applying and wasting anyone's time.

Once you've got a candidate pool you can work with, you can use behavioral assessment tools to quickly determine who is more likely to excel in a particular role, saving you hours of sorting through resumes. This focused approach to finding talent not only speeds up the hiring process, it also increases your odds of getting a better match and can help to predict how well a candidate will perform not only within a specific role, but within a company culture, and ultimately how well they will support strategic initiatives.

The data also uncovered reasons why employers felt some of their new hires were not a fit, and top reasons why employees leave their jobs. Additional notable findings include:



  • When asked why a new hire wasn't a fit, almost half (47 percent) said either because of behavior or inadequate skills.
  • Small businesses reported candidate misrepresentation as the primary reason why new hires don't work out.

However, these businesses rely primarily on interviews and don't use cognitive assessments and knowledge/skills tests as frequently as larger companies.



  • Almost 75 percent of large companies have lost a top performer due to a poor performer.
  • While small and medium businesses terminate poor fits, over 20 percent of large companies opt to do nothing.
  • Compensation is cited as the number one reason for talent turnover -– interesting especially since most companies look to retain and motivate employees through bonuses.
  • After compensation, the top reason given for why employees voluntarily left their positions was lack of career development, followed by poor job fit and conflict with a peer or manager.


So how do you not only attract top talent, but keep and grow those highly coveted people? By taking the time to understand what drives them, what makes them feel valued and how they like to work, you'll know better how to take care of them, and they'll not only be more productive but more likely to stick around.

The Authors: 

Matt Poepsel, Ph.D., is VP of product management at PI Worldwide where he is responsible for overseeing the company's product solution portfolio and road map. Prior to joining PI Worldwide, Matt cofounded Covocative, a web-based coaching software company. He previously served as the vice president of professional services at Gomez, Inc. While at Gomez, he held a variety of roles including the leadership of the product management, sales engineering, consulting, and training teams. Matt spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps serving as an Arabic linguist and a reconnaissance Marine. Visit for more information