HR Management & Compliance, Recruiting

Are You Still Waiting to Fill That Vacancy?

In yesterday’s post, we noted that employers are often struggling to fill vacancies. Either there are too few applicants or too few that are truly qualified. We started listing some of the various reasons why job vacancies may go unfilled or take a long time to fill. Here, we’ll continue to expand that list.


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More reasons vacancies remain unfilled, along with some tips to combat these problems:

  • Not providing enough information. There may not be enough information on the job post to make a good judgment on what it would be like to take the role. If the information is scant, it could get quickly overlooked or dismissed.
  • Looking for skills that are in short supply. When there are too few people with the right skills available, the employer may need to consider offering more training for the role. If a job requires a specific skill set that can be taught, consider offering that training and hiring someone who is otherwise qualified and can be brought up to speed.
  • Requiring education that isn’t provided locally. Local education offerings may not be providing what local employers need. Consider partnering with local high schools or universities to create co-op or internship programs that can help to give new employees the skills that are better aligned with employer needs. Or work with local schools to develop training programs people can enroll in that will give them skills that are more useful to the organization.
  • Making applicants sit through a long application process. It’s understandable that employers want to weed out unqualified applicants as early in the process as possible, but reconsider asking too many in-depth questions during the application. If the application reads more like an interview, it can be discouraging.
  • Not continuously checking for errors in the application process. It often happens that the application process has errors that don’t allow the applicant to continue. This is more common than you may think. Even in applications that seem to otherwise work well, there can be stumbling blocks, such as the inability to add PO boxes as addresses or the inability to put the word “negotiable” under desired salary level. Simple things like this can be enough for some applicants to abandon the process.
  • Not updating the application process for varying technology. One example of this is when the application cannot be accessed on a mobile device. More and more applicants today use their mobile devices in the job search process. They expect to be able to apply directly from there, seamlessly and easily, without problematic formatting or other issues impeding the process. Be sure to review the application process across multiple platforms and device types to be sure it’s working, error-free, and remains user-friendly everywhere.
  • Not offering benefits most applicants desire. It could be the case that this is a communication issue (i.e. the benefits are not outlined in the job post), or it could be that today’s job seekers are looking for benefits that your organization doesn’t yet offer. Consider auditing the benefit options provided by other organizations that are competing for the same talent. This type of audit can provide insights into what areas the organization could change.
  • Forgetting to mention if relocation is provided. Sometimes filling a position can be as simple as advertising it to more geographic areas and assisting to relocate someone if needed once the job is accepted. If this is not provided, or if it’s unclear, the applicant pool will be narrower.
  • Not focusing enough on the employment brand. If the organization isn’t already aware of what their employment brand is, now is a good time to find out. The employment brand is the perception in the talent marketplace of what the organization is like as an employer. This can be influenced by many things, including online reviews and public communications directly from the organization. Start working within the organization to recognize and improve the employment brand if necessary.

What other actions has your organization taken to fill those tough vacancies? What has worked for you recently?