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How to Recruit for Difficult to Fill Positions

As an employer, sometimes a position or role comes along that is especially difficult to find good quality candidates for. The issue may be that the job itself is difficult, or the combination of skills needed to fill the job are so unique that it presents a challenge.

Sourcing candidates should not be so difficult though. In addition to traditional advertising techniques there are several other options to consider in your search.

1. Use your social media connections and networks.  Your LinkedIn connections, Twitter or Facebook followers provide a built-in network of connections. Don’t be afraid to ask for shares and re-tweets or re-posts. See the Best Times to Post to Social Media.

2. Encourage employee referrals. Especially using LinkedIn, ask employees to share your job post(s) with their connections. Adding an employee referral bonus program can help facilitate this.

3. Review and update your job descriptions. Are your job descriptions long, super-technical, and difficult to read? Do you have a long list of requirements? These can turn off prospective candidates who don’t think they meet every item on the list. Job descriptions typically are detailed documents, however job advertisements should be treated as advertisements. Be eye-catching, easy to skim.

4. Add college job boards to your recruiting mix. Become friendly with college career counselors and their job boards, which are often excellent sources of entry level talent as well as prospective interns.

5. Use video to sell the job. A video can tell the story of the job in many ways. Show what the employee does in the role, interview employees about the role and the company. This will also provide shareable content for your social media accounts and website.

6. Offer Training for qualified employees. Training new employees can help them get off to a great start at your company, helps increase retention which cuts your recruiting costs, and fill in some of the skills gaps you may encounter.

7. Look outside of your local area for employees willing to commute, work remotely, or relocate. A typical job aggregator collects the information from your website, and re-posts your jobs based on a zip code or location. If you’re having trouble finding applicants because of this restriction, don’t be afraid to post the job in different locations such as larger cities nearby. Or nationwide if you can offer relocation assistance as a benefit.

8. Don’t hide your career center! This should be obvious, but make it easy to find on your website. Often “Employment,” “Jobs,” or “Careers,” are buried on your website under site maps, About Us pages, or hidden down at the bottom of the home page.  Stand up and scream “We are hiring!” by including your career center links on the top-level navigation of your website.

9. Reach out to former employees. The employees who left, but are still rehireable boomerang employees, former employees who had taken time off sometimes called returnships. Former employees may also have picked up new skills and experience since they left.

10. Use niche job boards to advertise. If you’re not having any success with regular job aggregators, it may pay to sponsor a job listing on an industry specific job board. Idealist.org for non-profit positions, Dice.com for technical jobs, Healthcarejobs.com for healthcare, Mediabistro.com for media, salesjobs.com for sales and retail, USAjobs.com for government positions. See more.

11. Add a LinkedIn and/or Glassdoor widget to your career site. Both Linkedin and Glassdoor are a way to connect with candidates. Glassdoor’s honest reviews can make or break the decision to apply. Adding to your website shows that you’re willing to connecting to employees and candidates, and it also shows authenticity. You can maintain control over what displays, by using widgets.

12. Attend industry events to network. Conferences and Tradeshows, even career fairs can be a great networking opportunity and a potential source for new candidates.

This list is a “work in progress” and we will add to it as we hear more great tips.



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