The unemployment rate is high right now, and millions are out of work. It would seem that filling an open position would be just a matter of a few interviews and extending an offer. But some positions stay open for months, or are constantly taken down and re-posted. Why is it so hard to find the person you need?
Sometimes, the fault lies with the employee who is leaving. If they have agreed to stay on and even help conduct a search for a suitable replacement, they may create impossible standards that must be met before any candidate is deemed qualified. It’s probably best to have someone else spearhead the candidate search in this case.
When the person leaving has expertise in unrelated areas or has been with the company for a while, and put all of their skills to good use while at work, it may create an artificially high bar for a new hire. The person in charge of hiring may feel that other job seekers will have a similar mix of great skills. However, it is not feasible to look for a candidate with the same unrelated areas of expertise, and will definitely extend the search.
Insisting on a college degree is sometimes the culprit in not finding the right candidate. The cost of college is really high, and the economy is not in great shape, so some highly talented folks are opting out of college and into the workforce. Take a long, hard look at the position you are filling to decide if a degree is really necessary, or if some type of previous experience could be equivalent to a degree.
Speaking of experience, don’t ask for years of experience for an entry level position. Or expect a candidate with genuine job experience to accept an entry level salary. Your business will gain a reputation for unrealistic expectations for potential hires, and quality candidates will not apply for your openings.
If your job description is vague, or appears to be a catchall for unrelated tasks, you could be sabotaging your search. The job description should reflect the reality of the position to be filled. It should include the skills needed and not become a wish list for tasks without owners. It should be specific enough for candidates to self-select, but not so micro-specific as to disqualify excellent candidates who could do the job well.
Be careful with your job titles. You may be proud of your clever sounding, unique titles, but if experienced job seekers don’t understand the title, they won’t know to apply for your position. Don’t post for a Software Ninja or Director of Fun when what you are looking for is a competent coder or experienced HR director.
Excellent candidates who are over qualified are often rejected out of hand, too. The assumption is that the person will not be happy in the position and will leave when a better offer is available. That is not always true. Talk to the person if their skills are a match. They may be seeking a less stressful position, or are excited by the value proposition of your company enough that their skills over match is not an issue.
To make sure you can find right candidate, make sure your job description captures the essence of the position you want to fill. Perfect your elevator pitch for why someone should want to work with you and your company. Look beyond degrees and experience, whether the candidate does not have a degree or appears over qualified. Research your salary expectations and adjust to meet the current market in your area. And when you find the candidate that ticks the boxes, make the offer knowing that you have done what you need to do to find a great match for your open position.