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Are those hard-to-fill jobs really that hard?

Written by Kimberley Startup | August 2, 2013 | 3 Comments
back-office-staff-300x227This week, CareerBuilder announced the positions which typically take the longest to fill across the globe.
Based on the responses of more than 5,000 HR professionals throughout the world, the report highlighted some interesting findings about the challenges of recruiting particular job types.
Of particular interest, however, were the positions that hiring managers throughout the UK find to be a persistent challenge. This included (in no particular order):
– Accountant
– Administrative assistants / secretary
– Computer Programmer
– Engineer
– IT Manager / Network Administrator
– Sales representative
Ok, so we’ve known for a long time now the increasing difficulties employers face when trying to fill positions within the IT and engineering sector.
The requirement for specialist skills that are so limited on the market makes recruitment a particularly tough challenge, requiring a more in-depth & strategic approach to sourcing and selection.
What surprised me however, were the difficulties employers face when looking to fill admin, secretarial and sales positions – especially when there is so much available quality talent on the market.
At Webrecruit, we’ve had great success filling these types of roles – and even better, while significantly reducing clients’ time-to-hire.
This year, for example, we received on average 132 hand-filtered CVs per administrative / secretarial role and c40 CVs per sales representative position.
Not only that, but 84% of applicants which were interviewed or placed applied in the first 14 days of the vacancy being advertised (72% of which applied in the first 7 days of the vacancy going live).
Based on this, one could argue the difficulty of filling such roles. Perhaps it’s not the lack of talent that’s a struggle but the high volume of talent from which you are required to select just one star performer.
If you find there are particular job functions you’re struggling to fill, here are 3 key tips that can help you to overcome such challenges:

1. Ask existing employees to help.

If you already have someone doing the job you’re looking to fill (and they do it well), perhaps they know someone who will do an equally good job?

2. Simplify your CV sifting process.

If you’re struggling with high volumes of applications, why not ask for a one page CV and five reasons why that applicant would be perfect for your role?

3. Cast a wider net.

Particularly for job functions in the IT, finance and engineering sector, it’s paramount you use all resources available to you to promote your job opening to both the active and passive job market.
One of the easiest ways to do this is through social media. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter have given a new tool for hiring managers to engage and connect. It’s transparency makes it perfect for reaching those who might be good for your role but not necessarily looking.
If you have a position you’re struggling to fill, Webrecruit is recognised for delivering affordable and targeted talent solutions to businesses, helping them to source candidates – and fast.
To find out more, Request our brochure or call us on 01392 823137 for a free consultation.


3 thoughts on “Are those hard-to-fill jobs really that hard?

  1. Pingback: Are you paying enough when recruiting admin staff? | Online Recruitment Blog | Job Hunting & Recruitment Tips Tricks & News

  2. Leona on Reply

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for your comments. I agree with all that you have said and that’s why it’s so important to target the passive, as well as active market. Too many requirements certainly limit the number of applicants able to perform the post, and while technical skills can be learned, personal traits is what makes us and perhaps people should be a bit more open with their requirements so that they don’t limit their potential talent pool.

    In terms of the ‘cast a wider net’ point – i completely agree. It takes a lot of time, commitment and dedication to get it right, and hope that i’ve covered areas such as creating a LinkedIn profile & company page, as well as other individual platforms and their uses in recruitment, enough in other posts that people will find helpful. If there is something specific you’re after, however, just let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

    Thanks again!

  3. Bryan Mawn on Reply

    Maybe one of the reasons that employers have difficulties with finding the right IT or Engineering staff is because they advertise for the perfect packaged staff who possess the latest management technique qualifications for the advertised position.

    The problem – the long service and highly experienced engineers who know how to carry out that job back to front who don’t have the latest management / progress monitoring qualifications are immediately excluded from the application process.

    I’m sure, if any company HR department wrote a job specification for their best long serving staff and then asked their staff to apply for their own job based on that job specification, they would find that their staff would be under qualified to apply for it.

    Your “Cast a wider net” social network recommendation towards the job seeker is not quite as simple as it’s written; specialised advise is needed when writing up a Linkedin profile and the learning curve associated with the do’s and don’ts of networking and managing the other social media accounts correctly, for job searching purposes, takes time.

    Employers are missing out on reliable, honest, experienced and dedicated workers for two reasons:
    (a) They are over specifying the personal requirements of the applicant
    (b) They rely on the applicant to fully understand the processes of being fully searchable / accessing the job through social media.

    The right people are out there but you just can’t see them through the dense mist.

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