The Reason You Can’t Fill That Position

Stephanie Devine

Chances are, your business has a “difficult to fill” position currently being advertised.

It’s a position that’s highly specialised. It requires a distinct skill-set and a particular aptitude that the majority of us simply don’t possess. People who do this job are few and far between and if they’re really good, then they’re probably one of the most valued members of your team. It’s that position that really needs the perfect candidate.

It’s that position you haven’t filled yet.

And it’s easy to understand why. You want someone who slots right into your culture, has the best experience and attitude. Someone who understands your vision and has the skills and talent to help you get there.

So… you wait it out. You want to avoid making a bad hire. You wait until the right person comes along and the position, until then, remains unfilled.

Unfortunately (and we’re sorry to tell you this), this is a bad strategy.

Pressure on Your Existing Workforce

This might seem obvious but empty positions mean that everyone else is picking up the slack. Stressful workloads, late nights and tension in the office.

You’ve probably done it yourself many times throughout your career; working longer days to pick up unfinished work that isn’t even your primary responsibility. Missing out on the stuff that truly matters; valued leisure time or events with family and friends.

Being a professional means you sometimes have to work long hours, right? Well… sometimes this is the case, but most would agree that this should be rare. In a healthy, happy, well-functioning business, these sacrifices ought to be limited.

The truth is that the finger can almost always be pointed at the lack of resources and if you’re holding out for the perfect person, it’s not helping matters. Your intentions are well-meant but you may even end up with the opposite effect if low staff morale begins to set in. Very few people will continue to make those kinds of sacrifices long-term – they’ll begin to look elsewhere.

The Right Person for the Job – Not the Perfect Person

The term “unicorn” gets thrown around in recruitment a lot. As in, “the candidate you’re looking for doesn’t exist, they’re a unicorn”. You’ve probably heard it before. It’s used to poke fun at the unrealistic expectations in companies hiring goals and unfortunately, it’s almost always applicable. Most will focus on their idea of the perfect person, rather than the right person for the job.

It’s surprising but many companies won’t accurately define the most fundamental requirements of a job role to then follow this through with a process. Rather than establishing key candidate requirements, differentiating what’s a must-have from a nice to have and following this through to an agreed number of interviews, instead, we find the interview process being pushed out to become neverending.

Some skills can be learned on the job and it’s worthwhile exploring what kind of person is capable rather than what person is most qualified. It might take some additional resources to train them, but it’s much less than you’re currently wasting by not having the position filled in the first place.

In short, you need to reassess your expectations because playing the waiting game is hurting your business.

Public Perception

Here’s a different angle to consider. Let’s say your expectations are perfectly reasonable, you have clearly defined the type of person you’re looking for and you’re aiming to fill the position in a timely way. Yet, you’re still struggling to find them.

Talented and highly specialised workers have the first choice when it comes to the company they work for because a lot of companies want them.

Culture, how candidates perceive your company and your values suddenly become very important. Your public perception may need to be addressed. Which is specifically why we offer Build Your Brand, a marketing product to help address the issues companies have with finding the right talent.

It could be that your unicorn does exist after all. You just need a different way of attracting them.

For more information about Build Your Brand get in touch with marketing@hrcrecruitment.co.uk

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