Finding the Right Candidates for Hard-to-Fill Positions

ZipRecruiter: How to Find Candidates for Difficult Job OpeningsMost people probably wonder how any position can be “hard-to-fill” with the unemployment rate as high as it is. But just because there are people looking for work doesn’t mean that they have the necessary skills for the jobs that are available.

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Of course, if you’re a hiring manager in civil engineering, accounting and finance, IT, sales, or the skilled trade industry, you already know this. Why those five areas? Because they’re all on ManPowerGroup’s 2012 list of the hardest jobs to fill.

So, what do you do if you need to find someone for a hard-to-fill job? A lot of that depends on the position, but several strategies recommended by top hiring managers apply across multiple fields.

Scour industry-specific job boards

No matter what industry you’re recruiting for, there’s a job board out there dedicated to it. Even the smallest job boards tend to have dedicated followings, because people looking for those specific positions make a point to seek them out. This helps narrow the field to candidates who are really serious about that particular industry or skill set.

Partner with schools

A big part of the problem with some hard-to-fill positions is that candidates just coming out of school aren’t being taught what they really need to know. Partnering with schools can help to ensure potential candidates not only acquire the skills that are most useful, but also allow you to identify top performers and build a relationship with them before they even start looking for jobs.

Join industry-specific organizations

One great way to keep your finger on the pulse of a particular industry and build relationships with professionals is to join organizations and groups in that field. Get to know as many people as you can, and build a name for yourself by offering your job hunting expertise so that newcomers will flock to you as someone known and trusted.

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Try pre-hire tests

If your problem isn’t finding enough candidates, but rather finding the right candidates, one great way to test them ahead of time is to, well, test them ahead of time. Pre-hire tests are used by lots of big companies, and some people swear by them as a way to raise your hiring batting average. It makes sense if you think about it. As useful as resumes and interviews are, they really don’t tell you much about a person’s practical, on-the-job abilities. Pre-hire tests, on the other hand, show you how much knowledge and skill they really have to do the job the position requires.

Recommend that the employer alters the job description

In some cases, it’s just not possible to find the right candidate for the job, because it’s not a hard-to-fill position, it’s an impossible-to-fill position. Look over all the specifications and requirements for the position and make sure they are reasonable and realistic. Is it likely you’ll find someone who has both experience in Journalism and a background in conceptual mathematics? Consider what qualifications can be eliminated or splitting this job into two different positions.

What is your advice for finding the right candidates for hard-to-fill positions?

Related: Why You Aren’t Getting Enough Job Applicants »

Related: How to Fill an Undesirable Job Opening »


About the Author

Josh Weiss-Roessler is a professional resume writer and also co-owner of Weiss-Roessler Writing, which helps individuals and small businesses market their products and services online through blogs, website copy, social media, search engine optimization, and other content marketing strategies.

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Rachel Dotson is a former digital marketing manager and former blog contributor at ZipRecruiter. She is based in Venice, California.

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