What you are doing wrong if you can’t find the right candidate

If you can’t find the right people for your organisation, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. Half of employers in the UK are struggling to fill vacancies, and two-thirds anticipate difficulties in the coming year. In fact, the global talent shortage is at its worst in 16 years, with 75% of companies around the world reporting difficulties in finding the right candidates. These are the industries that have been the worst affected: education; health and government; IT and technology; manufacturing; banking and finance; retail; hospitality; and construction.

In these unprecedented circumstances, it’s important to consider your approach to hiring initiatives and how these can be improved. A thorough appraisal may reveal that you’re making one of these crucial mistakes.

You haven’t defined the attributes of the right candidate

The reason you’re unable to find the right person for the job might just be that you don’t know exactly what sort of attitudes, aptitudes, and experience your ideal candidate should have. HR managers need to work closely with the relevant departments and managers to build an idea of who they need to fill the position, from a team as well as an organisational perspective. Consider your organisation’s future goals and how the candidate can help achieve those. A rigorous approach to understanding these requirements will help you in the next step.

Take a good, hard look at your list of minimum requirements and think about what competencies could potentially be acquired on the job or through a pre-hire training boot camp. With skills changing at such a rapid rate, train-to-hire is becoming an increasingly popular option for employers whose candidates have the right attitude, but not all of the required proficiencies.

Your job description is too generic

Every company wants passionate employees with strong attention to detail who can handle a fast-paced work environment. Saying so in your job ad doesn’t tell prospective candidates anything about your specific company or what your expectations are.

Specifics make you stand out in a sea of generics. Start with the job title by trying to keep it as true to the role as possible. Terms like wizard, unicorn, and guru (while fun), will turn off a lot of candidates, who might feel you don’t actually understand what you need and are hoping they’ll help you figure it out.

Be clear about the roles and responsibilities. Rather than just saying what team they’ll be working on, describe the actual tasks you’d expect them to perform on a daily basis. Keep this list between 5-10 items to avoid overwhelming people or giving the impression that they’ll be micromanaged.

Write an honest company blurb that reflects your values, what products and services you provide, and where your business is in terms of its growth.

You’re fishing in the same pond as everyone else

It’s not called “the war for talent” for nothing. If you’re trying to find qualified candidates through the same traditional channels as other companies, then you’re competing alongside those companies for the same people too. This requires taking a more proactive approach to managing talent needs, rather than simply reacting when a position becomes vacant.

Continuously evaluating your present and future talent requirements is the first step. Although you can’t always predict when someone will leave your company, you can take stock of the factors that affect your staffing requirements, such as business strategy, expansion plans, and average number of graduates in the field you require.

Previous promising job applicants who didn’t make the cut present a valuable pool of talent, thanks to their interest in working for your company and your completed evaluation of them. This is why creating a good applicant experience is so important, even if they don’t get the job. Provide clear and constructive feedback to unsuccessful applicants so they can hopefully improve themselves and stand a better chance should an opportunity arise in the future.

Creating an online job board or talent community with newsletters, blog posts, and regular updates is another way to keep previous applicants and potential future candidates engaged.

You’re waiting for them to come to you

If none of the candidates actively applying for the job fit the bill, then perhaps it’s time to consider reaching out to people who are not applying. Passive candidates are employed people who are not currently seeking a job but might move for the right offer. The great thing about this group is that because they’re not sending their resumes around, there’s less competition for their services – your offer only has to be better than their present employer’s, not half a dozen prospective ones.

There are a number of ways to source passive candidates:

  • Social media platforms
  • Public or personal portfolio sites
  • Resume databases
  • Previous applicant databases

When approaching passive candidates, be sure to personalise your messages, explaining why you’re interested in them in particular. A little persistence can help indicate that your job opening is a real prospect, but avoid badgering them if they don’t respond after three attempts.

You’re focusing too much on culture fit

For decades, people spoke of ensuring potential employees gel with your company culture. With the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusivity increasingly being recognised, the narrative is shifting. While it sounds like a good idea on paper, culture fit often results in affinity bias, which means hiring people who are similar to you, whether in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, background, or socioeconomic status. This is part of the reason many industries remain untransformed.

Try shifting your focus to culture add. Welcoming a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints into your teams promotes innovation and reduces groupthink. At the same time, you can ask candidates questions that gauge their alignment with your company’s mission and values.

You’re not using professional services

If you can’t find the right person for the job, consider engaging the services of experts who know how to find good candidates. With more than three decades’ experience, Talent Select specialises in employing psychometrics to highlight the characteristics and skills you need in your employees. Contact us to learn more.