In the News

  • 6 Tips to Fill Hard to Fill Positions

    6 Tips to Fill Hard to Fill Positions

    Posted February 9, 2020 By in In the News

    The number one goal for any executive recruiter or hiring manager is to fill open positions with top talent, but what do you do when you’ve got a position that has been open for two, four, six months—or longer? What makes some positions more difficult to fill? Where do you find top-notch candidates who meet job qualifications and expectations? What changes may need to be made in your process to identify and attract the best person for the job?  

    Although it may be tough finding the right candidate for an opening for any number of reasons, these are the top three reasons we see employers struggle to fill some positions.  

    1. It’s a confidential search. There is a shakeup about to take place within the organization that will leave an executive position open, but due to the emotional nature of the change, the job search must remain entirely confidential in order to avoid panic among employees. Once a candidate has been identified, an offer made and contracts signed, an announcement can be made as the onboarding process begins. But until that time, only top-level executives are aware that change is brewing. 
    2. The position is in a difficult location. In remote locations, the candidacy pool simply isn’t as deep as it might be in more densely populated regions. An initial search on LinkedIn may only reveal a few dozen potential candidates, which doesn’t always give you a lot to work with. 
    3. HR is overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s simply a case of too many jobs to fill, so important positions get pushed to the back burner. Add to that a tight network or a tricky revenue situation attached to the position and it may sit open for months.  

    The good news is that there isn’t a hiring scenario that is hopeless. At Linked Executive Search, we’ve helped fill open positions in each of these categories. It takes experience, determination and creativity, but filling hard-to-fill positions isn’t impossible. If you’ve got a position that’s been sitting open for any length of time for any reason, here are a few strategies and tips to help you identify the best person for the job. 

    Get creative in your search. Every search is unique, but when you’re working with a limited candidacy pool, filling a position becomes especially challenging. “Posting and praying” is a risk if the position has been open for longer than three months, you will likely only see candidates who are pushing resumes to every position posted online. If a simple location search on LinkedIn doesn’t give you much to work with, start by reaching out to people in the community who might know someone who could be a potential match. Expand your network to universities, chambers, associations and even the local bank. You never know who might be able to identify a potential candidate who never would have been on your radar.  

    Helping clients in difficult locations, it is my goal to have as many conversations with as many executives as I can in a short amount of time, casting the search net as far and wide as possible. This is networking at its finest. All the blinders come off as I aim to uncover that rare gem that was never on the radar to begin with.  

    Be patient. This can be extremely difficult, especially when it feels as though you’re up against the clock with a position that has been open for any length of time. But hiring the right person for the job still takes time. In most situations when you’re working with Linked Executive Search to fill hard-to-fill positions, it’s possible to make an offer within two months.The process begins with a two week period of “calibration,” during which we go into the market and exhaust the talent pipeline before presenting the top four to five candidates.  

    Are we on the same wavelength? If not, we’ll go deeper into the network we established during the initial two-week period to identify the candidate(s) with the exact skills and qualities for which you are looking.  

    Reevaluate the job qualifications. In some cases, the best person for the job may not have experience in this particular role, but the fundamental skills exist. This is common in specialized positions where your talent pool in that exact job is extremely small. In other cases, a salary cap may be forcing you to look at a candidate more junior than you initially wanted. In many cases the day-to-day duties of the role can be taught as long as the individual possesses the core characteristics and skills necessary for the job.

    Build your reputation in the market. Not every organization is well-liked or appreciated in the market. It may be that a candidate has a false perception of your organization or lacks knowledge of all the good your business does in your local community. These concerns can give candidates pause when considering applying for a position on your executive team. When you hire Linked Executive Search to recruit for your open positions, we’ll work tirelessly to boost first impression and perception of your brand among top candidates. By the time we present the candidate to you, you don’t have to sell your brand; we’ve already done that for you.   

    Think outside the box. Be willing to have a conversation with a candidate, even if they don’t meet your initial expectations. Perhaps they come from a military background and are making the move back into civilian work. Maybe they are in transition between jobs. Be open-minded and you might be surprised at the caliber of candidates you identify when you’re able to cast your net a little bit wider. You’ll likely find someone who checks your top five boxes, but who also brings an entirely different background and skillset to the table—all to the benefit of your organization.  

    Don’t go it alone. Your company can’t afford to let that position sit open any longer. It’s time to engage with an executive recruiter who has experience successfully filling hard-to-fill positions under sometimes complicated circumstances. It’s time to give Linked Executive Search a call at 214-675-4516.  


© 2019 Linked Executive Search