What to do with a Tough to Fill Position

So after the economic recession pummeled employers with a period of layoffs and hiring hiatuses, you finally start to see the upswing and the light at the end of the tunnel.  You start being able to make investments back into your workforce again, maybe splurge a little on some new technologies here and there or maybe one of those spiffy swivel chairs you always wanted for your office.  And just when you begin to feel comfortable reinvesting and filling and adding positions, you hit a road block when… WHAM…. you can’t find the right candidate to fill that position you have waited so long to open back up. You have searched high and low, and none of the candidates seem just right.  What is an employer to do?

Well there are several solutions to combat that tough-to-fill position so it doesn’t remain a permanent fixture on job board sites.  Below are some examples you can use when trying to fit that tough puzzle piece into your team.

Do you have the right job title?
When posting an available position, it is very important that you ensure you are defining the precise position accurately.  Perhaps the applicants you are receiving don’t match exactly what you are looking for; you might be luring in the wrong candidates with a title that doesn’t accurately match the job description.  Do a little research to see if the title you currently have is portraying the position you have open, and you might be able to find a more appropriate and poignant title to attract the right type of candidates.

Do you have an adequate job description?
Another important part of a job posting beyond the title is the job description.  Especially if you were having a difficult time choosing the best possible title, the job description is where you can clear up any gray areas about precisely what the job entails.  Make sure it includes all appropriate details, and is free from grammatical errors that will detract from your credibility.  You don’t want a person to show up expecting a max of 40 hours a week in an independent and solitary position for an opening that requires overtime and a collaborative working environment.

Do you have realistic expectations?
We all have our wish lists of qualities our perfect employees would ideally possess.  However, make sure that your expectations are realistic, especially if you are placing a highly technical position.  If there is only a limited candidate pool in your area of candidates with C++ proficiency, then you might have to bend slightly if a candidate comes in that is great but doesn’t match your “5+ years of experience” requirement.  Make sure you think realistically about your position and what requirements are absolutely necessary, and which qualities such as years of experience, personality, education, etc. you might be willing to compromise on if the right candidate came along.

Are you using limited search tools?
Many employers place a position on a job board and cross their fingers that the right candidate will walk through the door.  However, finding a perfect candidate takes a little more proactive approach.  Make sure you are sourcing resumes and looking on niche job boards for candidates interested in your line of work.  And also consider using a staffing agency.  In my brief moment of self promotion (I promise it will be brief), staffing companies have access to a wide database of candidates, a number of excellent sourcing and screening tools and can do all of the preliminary work for you. When you are having a difficult time filling a position, they are an excellent tool for saving time and making sure the people you are spending time interviewing are top notch candidates interested and qualified in the position you have to offer.

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