9 reasons you can’t fill your open positions

Welcome to 2014!  I hear rumors that many of you are going to be hiring this year – WOOHOO!  If it’s been a few years since you were able to add net new positions and actually think about GROWTH then you are pretty excited.  You might also be wondering what the heck is going on?  Why aren’t candidates RUSHING your doors to work for you?  Why can’t your human resources folks get the right people in front of you for interviews?  Well, it might be that you are stuck trying to recruit the way you always have……and that just doesn’t work anymore. So, why can’t you fill those openings?  Here are some of the biggest reasons I’ve seen:

  1. You are still using big job boards – The big, generalist job boards are for big, generalist jobs.  Unless you are hiring unskilled assemblers or telemarketers this method is not going to get your professional positions filled.  Oh, and Craigslist?  Well, that’s where I go when I have used crap that I want to unload and make a few dollars – need I say more?
  2. You still think social media is a trend.  Social recruiting and referrals are the single most successful method of hiring top talent.  LinkedIn is not a fad – it’s here to stay – so is FaceBook and Twitter (or their next incarnations).  Get on board, get training and get serious about social media.
  3. You (or your company) have a really bad reputation.  I’m amazed at how many executives either don’t know what their reputation is – or don’t care.  You do have a reputation in the candidate market – whether you are proactive about it or not.  If you can’t seem to get candidates to respond to you then it may be that the “word on the street” is you don’t take care of your people.  Better look into that and do something about it.
  4. You don’t have a generous employee referral program.  In my opinion there is no better way to hire great people than to get them from your current great people.  Make it count!  $50 isn’t going to send the right message – but $3000 will!  Call me if you want details on some of the best programs I’ve seen.
  5. You make it hard to navigate the application process. I have 2 questions for you on this point. 1. Who put your application process in place originally – a consultant who has never worked for your company?  2) Have you ever tried to apply as an applicant using this process?  PLEASE stop putting up barriers between you and your future employees – working professionals simply don’t have the time or interest in playing your games.
  6. Your job postings are boring, sterile and WAY too long.   Time to hire a copywriter. Your internal HR job descriptions are too long, boring and a catchall for every possible skill that you might hope for in your next hire.  You and I both know you will hire someone with only the critical skills – regardless of whether they can lift 30 pounds over their head in an office environment – am I wrong here?  Create a brief dialogue about the profile you actually need in the role – make it interesting and exciting – and see what sort of response you get then.
  7. You are trying to hire for skillsets that are in hyper-high demand.  This is a tough one for a lot of Chief Executives and HR leaders to swallow.  If you are looking for Ruby developers or iOS engineers (not just hacks) then you will probably need to relocate them.  There aren’t enough of these candidates to satisfy the local or national demand – at least for the next 18 months.
  8. Your career page has candidate repellent on it.  You haven’t taken the
    time to “market” your company or the experience of working at your company to your candidates.  You actually tell candidates NOT to contact you.  You tell them that phone inquiries will NOT be answered.  This says – “We are only interested in your skills, not in you as a person – and that’s how we’ll treat you when you get here too.”
  9. Your HR department and your hiring managers still think that it’s an employer’s market.  The Front Range has rebounded much more quickly than other parts of the country.  Our economy locally is doing very well – especially in the growth sectors.  Any layoffs you are hearing about are course corrections or a result of poor execution right now.  AND, when companies lay off workers in 2014 they aren’t letting go of their top performers.  Here is a reality check – we are on the uphill side of the bell curve.  Salaries are going up, hiring is going to reach a feverish pace this year – and it’s not an employer’s market any longer.

As an employer – the days of posting on job boards and waiting for candidates to flock in are gone.  You need to embrace talent acquisition in 2014 in order to get noticed. Your ability to engage, attract, hire and retain your people will have a HUGE impact on your company’s success during these exciting recovery years.  PLEASE phone me directly with any questions or comments. Happy Hiring!

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