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Why is recruitment harder than ever before?

The war for talent remains unpredictable, according to Steve Knox.

Remote working, AI, and labour shortages have created escalating challenges in recruitment and hiring, according to Steve Knox, VP of global talent acquisition at HR software company Dayforce.

Speaking to HR magazine at Dayforce's 2023 conference in Las Vegas, Knox said that the global talent market has been hit by a series of challenges.

Since the pandemic, the remote vs in-office debate has created a divide between candidates and employers, while AI has raised ethical and data security questions, causing further divide.

Meanwhile, labour shortages have pushed employers to reconsider how they can attract talent.

Finding the right candidate in a global talent market has always been challenging, according to Knox.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “When you’re recruiting internationally, there’s a lot to juggle. Different locations will have a completely different culture around interviewing and hiring, from how you address people and how forthcoming interviewees are with information, to notice periods.

“In India, for example, a two-month notice period is standard and in that time candidates are still looking for work. They may not show up for the first day of a job and that’s something western line managers really struggle to understand.”


Remote hiring

Post-pandemic, Dayforce has taken on a remote-first stance, meaning Knox is increasingly recruiting for remote roles. This has come with a new slew of problems, including new recruits misrepresenting themselves.

He said: “What’s happening in many companies, is when they’re hiring remote workers, people can misrepresent themselves to the degree where they have someone else do the interview on their behalf. 

“There are also instances of new recruits having multiple jobs; I experienced this myself with a recruiter in the UK. He was not coming to lots of meetings and not showing up on camera. In the end, we found out he was holding down two full-time jobs.”

Knox said he hasn’t found a solution to this yet. While more people could interview a candidate to try and verify their identity, this could also delay the hiring process and frustrate potential talent.

He added: “AI may eventually be able to validate people’s identities, but that’s still a new and emerging world so it’s not something we can implement yet.”

Read more: Bad hiring practices are hindering recruitment



AI has been lauded as the silver bullet to many recruitment problems. Knox, however, is sceptical.

He said: “AI is both making my life easier and more difficult. We've been talking about AI for 20 years and for 20 years I’ve been told it will change my life as a recruiter, so part of me wonders if it ever will.”

Knox said AI can be very useful in the job-seeking process.

He said: “I think AI helps candidates do their homework better than before. If you ask AI for everything you need to know about a company, you can have the information in seconds.

“You can also practise interview questions and get help producing or improving a resume in minutes, which feels like a huge shortcut to hiring a CV coach like you would 20 years ago.”

Knox dismissed the idea that this could be an unfair advantage.

“It’s not cheating if it’s available to everyone,” he said.

The Dayforce team uses AI candidate grading as a way to prioritise which applications to look at first. However, he does have concerns about potential bias and a lack of human understanding in this process.

“I can’t rely solely on AI, because there are instances where the candidates which AI grades a ‘D’ get hired. I am worried that the human element of seeing potential in someone could be lost.

“You have to ask, do you want someone to grow into or grow out of a role? That's a nuance that algorithms just don’t grasp.”

Read more: How can HR use AI ethically when hiring?


Labour shortage

By 2030, there will be a global talent shortage of more than 85 million people, or roughly equivalent to the population of Germany, according to research from consulting firm Korn Ferry.

Knox said this is driving employers to update their employee value propositions and make data-driven decisions about what to prioritise to attract candidates.

“It is no longer one-size-fits-all. Five years ago, an EVP was a one-stop shop built through marketing. Now people are starting to realise everyone has unique needs. You’ve got four generations of employees all looking for different things.

“People want way more flexibility, not just remote work. People want office spaces because they lack social interaction. They want more learning and development opportunities. All of these things have been around for a long time, but candidates have the power to demand them.”


Getting personal 

Most of all Knox believes employees are attracted by a supportive environment. 

“People have got to know they’re not just seen as a warm body to do work. You need to personalise every interaction with a candidate and understand what they're looking for which makes recruiting a far more difficult venture.”

As the war for talent continues to evolve, Knox said that hiring managers will need to use their soft skills to win candidates over.

“As tech develops and we see this scourge of mental anguish and loneliness that’s developed from the pandemic, EQ [emotional quotient, as opposed to IQ] will be the way to secure great talent. 

“But this is a situation that will continue to evolve and remain unpredictable. I’m just curious to see where it all lands.”