From data scientists to electrical engineers to marketing managers, critical jobs are being left unfilled. How can employers break through the cycle of not filling critical positions? Is the skills gap just too powerful to overcome? We asked The HT Group recruiters why so many employers aren’t achieving successful recruitment when it comes to filling critical positions. Below are their top eight reasons.
- Too many non-essential job requirements are listed. Too often, a hiring manager’s “wish list” is never cut down to the most important three or four things that are required, says The HT Group Recruiter Sharon Kelner. “Recruiters end up looking for someone with all technologies and attributes listed or great candidates don’t apply because they think they need every single qualification from the list,” she says. The HT Group Recruiter Joseph Huckobey agrees, adding, “Working in the technical field, I’ll often find a large number of the technologies named are not actually necessary for the job. Those callouts, will cause qualified candidates to self-eliminate and never apply.”
- The actual requirements aren’t apparent. “I also find companies will sometimes put a deal-breaker qualification down toward the bottom of the list where it won’t get much notice,” Huckobey says. Instead, he recommends, “Keep the most important criteria close to the top of the list. Preferred qualifications are something you can seek out when you are screening resumes or ask about when you phone screen a candidate.”
- Necessary experience is too rigid. “Sometimes we see companies miss out on quality candidates who have the right aptitude and can be trained,” says Claire Reynolds, managing director of The HT Group’s Staffing division. “We encourage our clients, in certain cases, to hire for the right intellectual ability, not for exact industry experience. Top performers are going to figure it out and be top performers anywhere.”
- Hiring process takes too long. “The Austin market is very competitive,” says The HT Group Senior Staffing Manager Krystal Matthews. “The unemployment rate is very low and, if the hiring process takes too long, an employee will accept another job within the week they are waiting for your job offer.” Reynolds agrees, adding, “I have seen more and more clients not fill roles because candidates are getting multiple offers and the companies that act slowly lose out.” Huckobey adds his own assessment: “Many times the client has opened the requisition too early, or they’ve included too many steps in their hiring process.”
- The hiring process is poorly structured. “I find companies often structure their hiring process in a way that creates the outward appearance they’re determined not to hire,” says Huckobey. Ironically, he adds, this problem is often rooted in good intentions. “An employer who wants to create an inclusive environment where people feel they have a say, will include too many people in the interview process. If the key decision makers find someone they absolutely love for a job, but a few people on the team say no, they’ve got to either let that candidate go or risk alienating current team members.” He recommends team leads ask themselves what they would do if one or two team members said no and everyone else liked the candidate. Perhaps the team lead should have veto power, one way or the other.
- Salary is too low. “If the salary is too low, there are other opportunities in Austin willing to pay more while providing a fun culture, too,” says Matthews. This is especially true in Austin due to an increase in salary expectations over the past few years, adds Reynolds. But what if you simply can’t compete on salary? The HT Group Staffing Specialist Kristen Cusick recommends getting creative. “Sell the candidate on other attributes your company has to offer,” she says, adding good benefits, casual dress, flexible hours, life/work balance, could all be great selling points.
- Benefits and perks are not competitive. As Cusick mentions above, many top candidates are still attracted by great benefits and perks. “Some clients are able to offer more benefits such as paid healthcare and flexible PTO,” she says. “Since Austin has been growing so much and bringing in larger companies able to offer these perks, it is much harder to fill a position with fewer benefits when there are so many other options out there.”
- Lack of a career path for the position. The HT Group Staffing Manager Taylor Teets explains candidates want to know their efforts will not lead to a dead end. “They want to know they are gaining in one way or another,” she points out. “Give them goals and ways to advance so they will feel motivated.” Cusick adds, “If a candidate knows there is room to grow, they might prefer that over higher pay right up front.”
Have you had trouble filling critical positions? What have you changed or considered changing to help fix the problem? Let us know!
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