10 Ways to Recognize An Unfillable Requisition

The empty chair.  The "no hire".  Let me tell you, it happens.  There are some positions that are just not going to get filled.  You can argue with me until you are blue in the face, but it is the honest truth. I wish it weren't true, but it is a cold hard fact.

How can you identify an unfillable requisition?  As a recruiter, what are the signs of a requisition that has absolutely no chance of getting filled?

The good news is that it can be avoided.  Here are 10 ways to recognize an unfillable requisition.

1.  The Budget is Not There  The good people are expensive.   As a manager, you should have an idea of what it is going to cost to bring on the person you want.  Do you have the budget to hire the person with the skills you desire? You can't have your cake and eat theirs too.  If you do end up hiring this person that takes your job for less because of budgetary reasons, they will leave you.  Guaranteed.  Someone else will pay more.

2.  A Manager is Trying to Fill 5 Positions With One  On an executive level, you can ask someone to wear 5 different hats.  You can probably even find a well educated individual that COULD do all of the jobs you are asking.  Realistically though, are you asking too much from your to- be- hired?  Most people are really good at one or two things.  Don't ask the world of them.  It isn't fair to the employee.

3. A Manager OR Recruiter is Unresponsive  You can't get very far if there isn't communication.  LOTS of communication.  If a manager doesn't get back to you within a certain time frame, then you WILL lose your candidate.  If the recruiter doesn't respond back to the manager when they say "go", you will frustrate the manager and the candidate. 

4.  A Manager Can't Articulate What They Want  Recruiters aren't mind readers.  Tell us what you want and we will find it.  Recruiters, ask deep questions.  Have a thorough intake session with the manager.  Ask questions that they may not think to ask.  A question a recruiter could ask is: "What would your ideal candidate look like?"  You could also ask "What companies would you like your candidate to come from?" or "What skills are most important to you?"

5.  You Have Too Many People Involved In the Interview Process  Hold your horses Mr. Manager.  Do you really need 25 people to interview this candidate?  Don't you think that is a little overkill?  Who do you think really needs to be involved in this decision making process.  I can almost guarantee someone will dislike this candidate. 

6.  Analysis Paralysis   Don't over-analyze your candidate.  If you over- analyze then you will most certainly dislike something about this candidate.  It is okay to do testing.  I encourage it.  You will know what kind of individual you are getting.  Some people don't test well though.  It is okay to look at metrics, but don't get paralyzed by them.  You will end up talking yourself out of a candidate every time!

7.  The "No Decision" Makers  At some point you have to pull the trigger. If you have interviewed a number of candidates and still can't make a decision because you are gun shy, you may never have enough confidence to pull the trigger.  Sometimes you have to roll the dice.  I understand you may make a bad decision, but a bad decision (in my opinion) is better than no decision at all.  Recruiters will get frustrated and work on other requisitions as they will take priority. 

8. The "Hiring Freeze" Candidate  If you have been in recruiting or management long enough, you have experienced the "Hiring Freeze".  If a manager is pushing for a candidate to be hired and there are parameters from HR not to hire an individual for a certain amount of time, unfortunately, the requisition may not get filled.  As a recruiter, you must be proactive, but also it is important to be realistic. 

9.  Inflexibility  Sometimes managers need to be flexible.  You may need to hire an H1 candidate or F1 candidate.  You may need to relocate someone from a different city and pay relocation fees because the skill set you are looking to fill isn't in your city.  You may need to look at telecommuting as an option to hire the right individual.  If you aren't flexible, you may not ever find your candidate.

10.  You are Working With the Wrong Person  Recruiting is Sales.  If you are working with the wrong hiring manager and he doesn't have the hiring authority, then you can't get a position filled.  Sure, someone may need someone to fill a seat, but if they don't have HR approval, then it will never get filled.  If you are an agency recruiter, work on qualified requisitions.  If you are a corporate recruiter, work only on the requisitions that have been signed off on to be filled. 

If you liked this article, please follow me on Twitter @WThomsonJr and connect with me on Linkedin.  Click on the below link to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.  Will

Views: 4129

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 21, 2013 at 5:40pm

lol Will I may or may not be looking at one right now.... ;)

Comment by Will Thomson on May 21, 2013 at 9:33pm

Wow! Lots of great responses. Thank you.

@Will- I believe most recruiters have been in your situation, including me.  I'd love to know the end result after you meet with the client.

@Gail- 100% agree with your statement.  Thanks for sharing your benchmark site!

@Suzanne- Thank you for your comment.  It is a tough topic, but something we all need to be aware of so we can utilize our time in the most effective manner.

@Alexander- I think I understand what you are saying.  Why would you hire a contractor screen resumes when a FTE knows more about the company and can find candidates more effectively?  Recruiting is evolving right in front of our eyes.  You don't see many corporate recruiters as full time employees anymore.  Most all of them are contract.  I don't know if it is right or wrong, but it what it is.

Comment by Will Thomson on May 21, 2013 at 9:34pm

Oh and Amy, I want to hear about yours in a week or two.  

Comment by Chris Fleek on May 22, 2013 at 10:10pm

This is a good read, Will, and a good reminder of some unfortunate truths in recruiting.

Comment by Will Thomson on May 22, 2013 at 10:24pm

Thanks Chris!  Yes- it happens all the time.  If you are a corporate recruiter, it just happens, like it or not.  You just deal with it.  If you are an independent or agency recruiter, you should recognize these signs and walk away when you can.  These reqs can take up a lot of your time and you won't have any money to show for your efforts.  

Comment by Kristy A Oliver on May 24, 2013 at 8:50am

Friggin awesome.  I would like to propose that all of these work before working any new reqs.  (said in a firm but prolly not realistic way)

Comment by Jeanna Zivalich on May 24, 2013 at 10:01am

Really great post, Will

Comment by Will Thomson on May 24, 2013 at 11:40am

Thanks Kristy and Jeanna!  

Comment by Stephen Nehez, Jr. on May 28, 2013 at 11:48am

#11  "Contract to direct."

Comment by Will Thomson on May 28, 2013 at 6:06pm

I guess that is Jerry's blog.  I have mixed feelings about that one, but understand where you are coming from.



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