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How to handle hard to fill positions

Hello! A warm welcome to our blog. Have you had positions that simply are challenging to fill or wondered what you would do if that ‘perfect for the role’ employee left? Then this is the blog for you. A hard to fill position might put strain on your company particularly if you are a small and medium sized business with your employees and resources already strained. 

It may take from about 30 to 100 days to fill a position depending on how skill specific the particular job is. For jobs in transportation or media it takes less time to fill while jobs requiring engineers, architects and other specialists might take a longer time to fill. The pandemic has also caused a skills shortage of nurses and medical staff in the job market. A position can be considered ‘hard to fill’ if it takes more than 60 days to fill the role.

Why are some jobs hard to fill?

Skills shortage seems to be a key factor in hard to fill positions. In general the following reasons are why some jobs are difficult to fill. 

  • Lack of professional skills and experience amidst job applicants
  • Increased need for professionals in the job market (nurses and software professionals)
  • Lack of soft skills such as communication and teamwork
  • Highly specialised or expert skill requiring jobs
  • Difficult or unappealing work location 

What strategies can you use?

Craft a proactive recruitment strategy

If you have skills heavy or customized positions, a proactive hiring strategy will go a long way in ensuring you have a talent pool to consider when the time comes to hire a new talent or replace an existing employee. Always be attentive to the job market and keep a roster of CVs that are of interest to you for possible use in the future.   

Have a creative and specific job ad

It will be worthwhile to look at your job description and restructure it intentionally if the role is hard to fill. You need to be creative and show to the top talent that the job will be rewarding and working with you is an attractive opportunity. Make your job descriptions realistic and inspiring towards the candidate. 

Extend your search to passive candidates

While 30% of employees are actively seeking new roles, 70% are passive candidates. This means that passive job seekers are a wider pool of talent you can draw from when there is a skills shortage in the market of active job seekers. You will find extensive experience and skills in the passive job market if you have something to offer.  

Explore online communities and groups

Niche communities will provide you with a network of experts and employees specializing in a specific sector. Here you can post your job ad and attract those who are both actively and passively looking for jobs. You can also get important information on how the groups feel about the job market, management in the sector and insights they may have about new skills that are growing in that industry. 

Consider internal promotions and referrals 

If looking externally has proved challenging, you can consider internal promotions as an option. Perhaps some of your employees may be looking for a challenge or career shift. Managerial positions are one of the hard to fill vacancies. Here you can promote an employee who has been showing signs of leadership and teambuilding skills. Another good source is to ask for referrals from your employees or former colleagues.  

Improve your brand and presence

Overall improving your brand and online presence will be key in widening your talent pool and attracting candidates for the future. 83% of job seekers will look up the company they wish to apply to for reviews and ratings. As candidates are more likely to consider applying to brands they know, you will have a better chance of getting past the problem of skills shortage. 

Boost your benefits

Reviewing your benefits package will help you spot one reason your position might be hard to fill. Research what benefits the professionals in the field you are looking to hire are interested in. Offering a competitive salary can put you ahead of the curve in hard to fill positions. With benefits such as flexible hours and working from home becoming increasingly important, you may want to include that in your job ads for suitable positions. 

If you would like more information or support on how to handle hard to fill positions, please feel free to contact us and one of our team will be happy to help. AJ Connect provides first class recruitment services for businesses in the UK.

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