Strategies for Recruiting and Filling Hard-to-Fill Roles

Strategies for Recruiting and Filling Hard-to-Fill Roles

In today’s competitive job market, attracting the best talent is increasingly challenging, yet it remains critical to the success of any organisation. But what happens when a role emerges that proves particularly difficult to fill? Whether it’s due to a niche skill set, a tricky location, or fierce competition, hard-to-fill roles can leave a significant gap in your team’s capabilities and become frustrating and expensive.

As well as making sure your expectations align with the reality of the talent marketplace, there are various strategies to consider. This may well include specialist support from a professional search firm that goes beyond traditional recruitment methods and recycled databases.

Understanding the Roadblocks

The first step is pinpointing why the role is proving difficult to fill. Some common culprits include:

  • Specific Skill Sets – The position might require a unique combination of skills and experience that a limited pool of candidates possesses. On average, only 30% of professionals are active in the job market, so if you are relying on job boards or contingent database recruiters, you may not be fully addressing the remaining 70% of candidates. A professional search firm may be the answer to this.
  • Location – Location can also be a factor – some areas are more difficult than others. You may be able to consider flexible, hybrid or even remote working to expand the potential talent pool.
  • Compensation – The salary or benefits package might not be competitive enough to attract the desired talent.
  • Job Description – A poorly written job description might deter qualified candidates by outlining unrealistic expectations or lacking key details. Sometimes compromises to certain elements of these expectations unlock a greater pool of talent.

Once you identify the specific challenges, you can tailor your recruiting strategy to address them effectively.

Crafting a Compelling Job Description

A great job description is often a candidate’s first impression of your company and the role. Here’s how to make it shine:

  • Clearly outline the responsibilities, required skills and experience, and desired qualifications.
  • Highlight the impact of the role and how it contributes to the company’s mission.
  • Weave in aspects of your company culture that would resonate with ideal candidates.
  • Avoid biased language and ensure the description is welcoming to a diverse range of applicants.

Building a Strong Employer Brand

These days candidates are looking for more than just a paycheck. They are attracted to companies with a strong employer brand that reflects their values and offers a positive work environment. Here are some key areas to consider:

  • Share Your Story – Utilise social media, company blogs, and career pages to showcase your company’s culture, mission, and employee experiences.
  • Engage with Industry Influencers – Partner with industry leaders to promote your company and job openings to their network.
  • Showcase Employee Testimonials – Positive testimonials from current employees can be incredibly persuasive to potential candidates.
  • Win Awards and Recognition – Being recognised for your workplace culture can significantly boost your employer brand.

Expanding Your Sourcing Strategies

Traditionally, job boards might have been your go-to resource. You may have also used a niche database contingent recruitment agency.

For these hard-to-fill roles, finding and reaching out to passive candidates often makes the difference. Going beyond databases, job boards and other traditional recruitment methods – just as with executive-level hiring – is a powerful and often cost-effective alternative.

CJPI offers a professional search solution which you may wish to consider.

Creating a Positive Candidate Experience

The candidate experience is crucial! This is something which a search firm can assist with, but the key areas to consider include:

  • Make the application process user-friendly and mobile-optimised.
  • Keep candidates updated on the application process and respond promptly to inquiries.
  • Conduct structured interviews that use psychometric assessments and other tools to look at skills and cultural fit, and create a welcoming environment for candidates.

Thinking Outside the Box…

In some cases, you may need to think outside the box and consider;

  • If feasible, consider offering remote work options to broaden your candidate pool.
  • For key hires, consider offering relocation assistance to attract candidates who might be geographically limited.
  • Invest in upskilling or reskilling programs for existing employees who demonstrate potential for growth within the role.

Get Specialist Support

Filling hard-to-fill roles requires a proactive and strategic approach which is often not met by internal hiring teams or database recruiters. Obtaining some professional support from firms like CJPI who focus on this type of search & selection might be more cost-effective than you think.

Chris Percival
Chris Percival
Founder & Managing Director

Chris is the Founder & Managing Director of CJPI and a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership.

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