Why Can’t You Fill that Vacancy?

Employers today are finding that some roles remain stubbornly hard to fill or difficult to keep filled. Sometimes it’s a lack of applicants. Sometimes the applicants aren’t qualified. Sometimes the applicant makes it through the process, only to turn down the offer or ghost the employer. Such frustrations are commonplace, and they’re driving up the cost and time to hire.

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Here are a few of the common reasons vacancies remain unfilled, along with some tips to combat these problems:

  • Not posting in places that the right applicant will see the job. Consider expanding the reach of the job posting. This might mean expanding to newer job boards. Or it might mean incorporating industry publications. Or it might mean expanding geographic reach. Or it might mean paying to promote the job post so it will be highlighted for more job seekers on a given site.
  • Focusing too narrowly on specific requirements like specific degrees or specific number of years of experience. Oftentimes, someone may have close to the initial requirements and be perfectly capable of meeting the job needs—yet be overlooked by overzealous disqualification criteria. Note: this one is important for discrimination purposes as well; sometimes employers are inadvertently—unintentionally—discriminating against protected groups by having job requirements that are stricter on paper than required to actually do the job. It disqualifies disadvantaged individuals unnecessarily.
  • Having too limited geographic reach on the job post. Unemployment levels may mean there are simply too few qualified people looking for that type of position in a given local area. Consider expanding where the job post is advertised or even where the job can be located.
  • Not considering remote workers. Offering the possibility to work remotely when applicable can open up a wide range of new applicants. If this is not something your organization has traditionally embraced, consider asking whether it might be something that could allow a greater number of talented people to join the organization and whether that is worth the perceived downsides.
  • Offering pay that is too low. Pay amounts listed or implied on the job post may not be alignment with going market rates, which means fewer people may want to apply. Be sure to re-confirm market rates before posting a new job to be sure the pay is in alignment.
  • Not highlighting the best aspects of the job. Job posts may focus too much on arduous aspects of the role in a bid to be transparent and ensure qualified applicants. While it’s important to present an accurate picture, it should be balanced.

Be on the lookout for part 2 of this article, where we’ll continue this list of reasons vacancies remain unfilled.

Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.

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