5 Recruitment Strategies for Hard-to-Fill Positions

recruitment strategies for hard-to-fill positions

Recruiting the right candidate is never easy; however, some positions are harder to fill than others. Hard-to-fill positions are typically jobs that require a narrow skill set, a specific type of expertise, or demands within a particular niche. Recruiters often find it challenging to fill these vacancies because the talent pool is often much more limited in terms of volume. Here are five essential items to ensure you’ve optimized your recruitment strategies for hard-to-fill positions. 

1) Document Your Recruitment Strategies for Hard-to-Fill Positions

While there’s no perfect formula for sourcing the right candidates, hiring the wrong candidate can be very expensive. It also leads to unnecessarily long vacancies, hiring costs, production downtime, and undue stress. Consider crafting a documented hiring plan to support your efforts throughout the process. Start by following these four steps to help you develop a strategic outline: 

  1. Determine Your Specific Needs: Define goals, expectations, how success will be measured, and the characteristics of your ideal candidate.
  2. Provide a Clear Job Description: Craft a strong, straightforward job description that contains a list of qualifications and shares what your company has to offer.
  3. Find Targeted Sites for Candidates: Don’t waste time searching for experienced leads in generic places. Instead, look for specialized job sites and niche talent pools. 
  4. Develop a Strategic Interview Process: Optimize your interview process to reduce candidate churn and quickly convert top talent into new hires.

#2) Begin Building an Employee Referral Network

Before opening a new position, ask your employees and begin networking for referrals. Some of the best hires are those who have worked with a member of your team before. Consider establishing a formal employee referral system to provide an added incentive for making introductions to qualified candidates. An employee referral system should consist of:

  • Buy-in and approval from upper management, hiring managers, and other stakeholders.
  • An easy way for employees to submit referrals, such as an online tool or web form.
  • Agreed upon goals to benchmark referral program performance.
  • Monetary incentives and non-monetary rewards.
  • Clear instructions and set expectations on how incentives and rewards will be disbursed. 

#3) Reevaluate Compensation Packages

UC Berkley labor economist, Sylvia Allegretto, told the LA Times that the country is experiencing a “wage and benefits shortage.” If you’ve found little to no interest in your open position, it’s possible the compensation package needs to be reevaluated. And, this doesn’t necessarily mean raising the salary.

In today’s economy, a competitive compensation package should include a competitive salary, benefits package, and workplace flexibility. If your vacancy requires a unique individual with a specialized skill set, it’s especially important to consider modifying your standard compensation guidelines. 

There are several steps you can take toward creating a competitive compensation package in support of your recruitment strategies for hard-to-fill positions:

  • Gather data from various sources to determine pay expectations and competitive rates. 
  • Create a reward philosophy to support business operations and enhance competitive advantage.
  • Conduct data analysis to benchmark external and internal positions. 
  • Develop a pay structure, including the cost of the pay structure. 
  • Document and evaluate different types of compensation plans for different types of roles. 

#4) Bolster Your Talent Brand

After seeing your job listing, your talent brand is often the next detail that candidates begin researching. A LinkedIn survey claims that “72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring.”

Candidates want to know that you care about your employees, your community, and your commitment to creating a positive work experience. And, they need to see these values reflected in your web presence. Make a priority of curating your talent brand by sharing your employees’ success stories and showcasing highlights from office culture.

Here are several additional ways to begin building a talent brand that aligns with your company values:

  • Conduct a brand audit to see where your brand currently stands.
  • Outline company values and establish work policies around them. 
  • Ask employees to participate in sharing their work experience.
  • Create meaningful processes that begin with onboarding. 
  • Invest in a dedicated professional to focus on cultivating your talent brand. 

#5) Partner With a Recruiting Agency

Enlisting the help of an extra set of hands will help you quickly find the right candidate, especially when it comes to filling hard-to-fill positions. Contingency recruiting specifically is a low-risk, high-reward investment that allows you to only pay once a candidate has been successfully hired. Some of the other benefits include reducing in-house human resources (HR) needs, zero exclusive contracts, feedback on interview and compensation negotiations, and more.

A reputable recruiting agency serves as an extension of your in-house talent acquisition team to work toward the same goal. You’ll be partnered with a dedicated professional who will augment your search efforts to engage only the most qualified candidates. Not only will this save you time, but it will also result in increased recruitment activity to build a community of talent that can easily be tapped in the future.

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