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The Alternative Board Blog

3 Strategies for Recruiting Hard-to-Fill Positions

Sep. 5, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board

Nearly every business has them—difficult-to-classify, hard-to-fill positions within the organization that are always challenging to fill. Typically, these positions involve a need for highly technical skills or other specialized requirements that the “average” job-seeker doesn’t meet. That’s why companies are on the lookout for new ways to recruit and fill these specialized positions.

Here are three strategies worth pursuing to get the right candidates in the room with you:

1. Leverage your social media networks and connections.

Every business should have active social media accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. These platforms are very useful for sharing news about your organization, offering an in-depth look at your culture, and continuously highlighting your interest in meeting highly qualified job candidates.

Promote your culture through compelling content, with a special focus on how employees thrive in the workplace environment. This can take the form of photos from a teamwork event, testimonials (in words and video) from your best “employee ambassadors,” and personalized messages from the CEO or business owner.

YouTube videos can be a powerful method for getting your message across. Short videos about the business—presented in an infectiously upbeat way—can get people wanting to learn more about what it’s like to work for you.

GlassDoor suggests posting content on social media “to invite and drive job seekers to a recruiting happy hour or company meetup—great ways to not only build interest in your company, but also to get to know potential candidates face-to-face.”

2. Call on your employees to help out.

Your employees have a vested interest in helping find the best candidates for those hard-to-fill positions. After all, they may be working closely with whoever is hired. But many companies fail to get their employees involved and helping out—a lapse in recruiting strategy that should be rectified ASAP.

Let employees know you’d love their assistance, particularly in social media and elsewhere. Encourage them to post news about job openings, as well as their own written and visual descriptions of your company’s culture. (Consider offering some training in the use of social media for these purposes.)

Employee referrals are another under-utilized strategy. Often, they can refer individuals who more closely match what you’re looking for, simply because employees know your culture inside-and-out, and frequently have an in-depth understanding of what the open position requires. Think about implementing a full-scale employee referral program, complete with incentives to get more traction.

Want additional insight? Read 7 Steps for an Effective Hiring Process now to learn more


3. Explore partnerships with higher education.

Are there prominent universities located in your community? This can be an incredibly fertile area from which to recruit for your more challenging positions. Brainworks recommends exploring “job-shadowing programs, apprenticeships and internships,” while also enlisting “current employees to serve as company liaisons with their alma maters.”

Also, many universities have career centers that offer specialized career training. Get your HR people to connect with a career center in your community and see where this relationship leads. You never know where the next great candidate will come from!

Bonus tips:

  • Never overlook the “promote from within” approach. You could already have one or more employees with the right ambition (and perhaps the right talents) to fill the new position—and who would be happy to undergo training to get more up-to-speed.
  • Think about some of your former employees. If they left your company on good terms, it could be worthwhile reaching out to them now to see if there’s interest in coming back in a new capacity.

Want to learn more about effective recruiting strategies? Check out our free TAB Boss Webinar, “Recruiting When People are Scarce.”

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by The Alternative Board

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