5 Tips for Recruiting for Hard-To-Fill Positions

hard-to-fill positions

The Challenge in Recruiting for Hard-To-Fill Positions

These days, recruiting for hard-to-fill positions is no longer as simple as posting on a job board and expecting applications to start pouring in. You can no longer anticipate talents to grab the first chance they get at a potential career. With so much competition in recruitment, applicants are becoming pickier and more meticulous about the roles for which they apply.

Hiring for hard-to-fill roles is challenging due to a lack of applicant skills and job qualifications. It’s also tricky because it has become more complicated to entice qualified applicants.

Candidates can lose interest in positions for a number of reasons. It might be due to job location, a mismatch of company and personal values, or distaste for the company brand. It might also be because of a preconceived notion that a role will not give them their ideal work-life balance.

These issues and obsolete hiring methods make it next to impossible for recruiters to fulfill their hiring goals.

While complex initially, it does not mean that finding and hiring the best person for a critical role cannot be done. Talent acquisition teams may need to make some necessary changes in their hiring processes. But if they expect a positive outcome in their recruitment endeavors, then it’s worth the effort.

This article will discuss five major actions to help navigate the rugged terrain of hiring for those hard-to-fill roles.

Come Up With a Powerful Strategic Plan

If your current hiring strategies are not giving you the results you are looking for, it’s time to do a deep dive into your processes. Find out where the delays are happening and what you can do about it. To get the ball rolling, here are some essential items to investigate.


How long is the hiring process? Is it so long that your ideal candidates are losing interest? If so, cut down or remove redundant steps. Then optimize tools and resources that can help speed up the interview and application process.

For example, if you are still reading resumes one by one, you lose job interest by making your applicants wait. Remove this pain point and automate the task using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Most candidates are already aware of this system and will likely apply using an ATS resume template. An ATS will automate administrative tasks that will save you time and money. Such a system will also more quickly identify well-matched candidates.  

Virtual Application Process

Another item worth looking into is shifting from on-site to virtual interviews. This reduces the time spent on travel and preparation for both the candidate and the hiring manager or team. It also allows candidates to feel more confident since they can meet with company leaders in the safety of their own homes. 

And since applicant experience plays a significant role in attracting qualified candidates, do what it takes to make your hiring process positive. Virtual interviews can be reliable, easy to use, and vastly more convenient than in-person meetings. 

Arduous Online Tests

You won’t believe the number of companies still using long and often useless online assessments or screening tools. And often, these recruitment methods are used just because they’ve been a part of the process for a long time. You lose valuable talents at this stage just because they do not fit an outdated standard.

Most of the online job assessments originated years ago and still contain obsolete questions. Potential applicants can view these questions negatively and withdraw their interest. This means that what seems like innocent questions could turn into roadblocks in the hiring process. Don’t let that cause you to miss out on hiring some of the best talents.

If you wish to keep online assessments as part of your recruitment process, make sure to update the questions regularly to keep them timely and applicable. Keep it brief so that you don’t lose people’s interest. The job market is constantly changing, and there is nothing on an assessment that you can’t eventually verify. You will have time to check references and ask the candidate directly during the interview.

These are just a couple of items that you may need to revise in your hiring process. Each organization is different, so you should thoroughly discuss and identify actions with your team and managers. Every department can benefit from a well-executed hiring process. 

Improve Your Job Descriptions

Developing the job description is an enormous step in enticing the right people. You want to be descriptive while also getting to the point. Avoid long lists and vague terms. Try to create attractive but realistic job descriptions. 

Make it a goal to capture your candidate’s attention right away. Sell the role but also remember to paint a positive picture of the organization. Finally, don’t forget to mention the benefits and perks that your company can offer employees.

Develop a Powerhouse Brand

In connection to creating a positive image of the company, it’s imperative that your company’s branding is on point. Elevate the organization’s brand by showcasing the culture, opportunities for development, initiatives, and a consistent social media image.

Use social media to post relevant topics, lead valuable discussions, and establish the company as an expert in the field. Doing so creates trust and reliability. Being a household name gives you the leverage of attracting people who want to grow with the company. 

A solid online presence is a must these days for any business, and if you are not putting this item on the priority list, you’re losing opportunities. One lost opportunity is, of course, appealing to the best candidates for your hard-to-fill positions.

A positive online impression goes a long way in helping you attract and engage top-notch talents.

Don’t Take Employee Referrals for Granted

While it’s good to spread the net far and wide, we must not forget that current employees can also help connect us to the right people. People gravitate towards those with similar interests. So, it makes sense to assume that your current employees know someone in the same field who could be perfect for an open position. 

One advantage of employee referrals is that someone from the inside is already fully aware of the company’s culture. They have insight into the skills and qualifications needed for the job. Thus they can easily refer people they know will fit, thrive, and grow in the role. Consider implementing some type of incentive program for quality referrals. Existing employees will feel valued, and new hires are sure to follow.

Focus on College Recruiting

One of the best ways to ensure that you can find the best people for hard-to-fill roles is to anticipate the need. Be proactive in knowing the company’s direction. Knowing this helps you prepare for the personnel needed to take the company to the next level.

One helpful avenue is college recruiting. Hire company interns to work while they complete their academic qualifications. Interns can then learn the ropes and gain relevant skills within the company. This helps create a viable talent pool from which you can hire later on. It’s similar to an in-house development program.

By investing in your interns, you allow them to hone valuable skills. They get a better understanding of the organization’s mission and vision while preparing for their future career. At the same time, the company gets acquainted with their skills, work ethic, and career goals. This creates a great working relationship. A company invests in its people, and its people often invest in it. Employee growth supports employee loyalty.

Remember that homegrown talent can be one of your best resources.

Adapt and Innovate

Recruitment is a tough competition. Every company is out to hire the best people. If you fall behind on hiring and application trends, you risk missing out on top-grade candidates. Innovation is never-ending. Don’t stick to one process just because it worked for you in the past. The dynamics of recruitment change daily, so it can be beneficial to follow influential trends.

Be more flexible in your recruitment methods. Generating leads should not stop at cold calling possible applicants. Use all the channels available. This includes joining industry forums and communities relevant to your target market. You can also create a network for people in your niche to ask questions, engage with like-minded individuals, and be part of a trusted community.

The more visible you are online, the better impression you can create. With more visibility, you have more chances of successfully tackling those hard-to-fill positions. Now you have an audience of people with the same interests in the same field.

In conclusion, there is no easy way to recruit for difficult-to-fill positions. That’s precisely why they are challenging to fill. Your talent acquisition team must be willing to make changes and take risks. As we all move into a new era, innovation is the only thing that will help us achieve our hiring goals. With the fast-changing business landscape, it would be unwise not to take full advantage of recruiter tools, resources, and avenues.

Exceptional networking skills, the leverage of technology, and cutting-edge techniques must work hand-in-hand to see success in the recruitment world.

Author Bio:

Writer, researcher, and content developer Shierra Robinson is a mother of two boys and one fur baby. She lives in Berkeley, California, and is a contributing editor at contentcampfire.com


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