How to Hire for Hard to Fill Vacancies

Every company has them. Those kinds of jobs that are hard to fill because they require a very specific skillset and come with an intimidating amount of responsibility. There’s a lot of pressure on the hiring team to get it right, and there’s a lot of pressure on the candidate who steps up to the plate too. These employees need to be the right fit for the company in order to ensure they fulfill the expectations of the role and stay with the company for the long term.

But how do you go about filling these kinds of vacancies? Let’s take a look at what methods work best.

What are the hardest jobs to fill?

According to a survey from Manpower Group, the hardest positions to fill are those for skilled trade workers and this was the same across the board with it topping the list for all 42 countries which were surveyed. Other jobs vacancies which made the top ten also required very specific skillsets, including engineers, technicians and finance staff. The top ten hardest to fill in 2015 are as follows:

1) Skilled Trade Workers

2) Sales Representatives

3) Engineers

4) Technicians

5) Drivers

6) Management/Executives

7) Accounting and Finance Staff

8) Secretaries, PAs, Administrative Assistants, and Office Support Staff

9) IT Staff

10) Production/Machine Operators

Tightening your recruitment strategy

If your company is suffering from a skills shortage or finding it a challenge to source strong candidates for specific roles, then it’s time to take a look at your recruitment strategy. Unfortunately relying on the same old strategy will only produce the same old results, so it might be time to consider alternative methods.

The ideal candidate - To fill a tough vacancy you need to know who your ideal candidate is. Putting some information out there and hoping the perfect candidate walks straight through your door is a dream that is unlikely to come true. You need to specifically target the candidates you want. Consider what skills they will need, what industry they’re working in, important personality traits and so on. An ideal candidate will give the HR team a clear goal, focus your recruitment strategy and get the results you want.

Multiple channel approach - Maximise your reach by using multiple channels to advertise a job vacancy. Long gone are the days when employers could put an ad in the local paper and get a good response. Now online job boards, job listings, and social media mean we can cast with a much wider net. Identify where your target candidates will be conducting their job searches or where relevant passive candidates may notice job ads, and advertise on these platforms.

Track the campaign - Improve your recruitment campaign by tracking the results of your advertising and marketing strategy so far. Find out and compare which channels have the highest click through rates and the highest applicant conversions. Look at which calls to actions and images are the most powerful. The day or time of day which you’re posting could also affect levels of engagement, particularly on social media and job boards.

Feedback to candidates - Don’t neglect your candidate experience. Keep lines of communication open with all of your applicants and be open about their progress in their application. Give candidates constructive feedback if they’re not right for the role, whether it’s early on or at the interview stages. Keep a database of all previous candidates because they could be a good fit for a different role in the company or may make a strong application again in the future.


Article by Ron Stewart, CEO of Jobs4Medical

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