Having Trouble Filling Key Roles? Review Your Selection Process

Having Trouble Filling Key Roles?  Review Your Selection Process

This article was originally published by Mike Sweeny of MAS Recruiting. Learn more about Mike and MAS Recruiting in the "about the author" section. 

If you are having trouble filling key roles at your company, maybe the reason is not a shortage of talent in the marketplace, but that your selection process is too rigid. While you should always strive to hire the most technically qualified person for each job opening, today's tight job market makes it tough to find suitable candidates who "check all the boxes" on your job specifications.

Despite these challenges, many companies are still filling jobs. The common theme with these companies is that these companies have done a review of their hiring selection process and found ways to fill roles without sacrificing the quality of the hires. How are they doing this? Here are some key points:

Do we require all the "must have" skills in the job description?

Most job postings are developed by the hiring manager. Generally, he or she puts together a "wish list" of the skills and qualifications required to successfully do the job. In an ideal world (i.e. softer job market), this is all well and good, however, it is not very practical to recruit to these specifications in a tight employment market. Many companies have undertaken a comprehensive review of the job postings to determine which skills are truly "must have" and which ones can be changed to "nice-to-have". With a certain amount of training and time on the job, a new hire could be brought up to speed on any of those skills that are somewhat lacking.

Can the years of experience required for the role be reduced?

If you are not able to find a candidate with the number of years experience that you seek in the role, can your company scale back on the number of years of experience and eventually bring this person up to speed in the role? This may be a viable option given that the senior level talent is not found locally and/or even the offer of relocation is not helping produce senior level candidates.

Can the job be done remotely rather than onsite?

For certain key technical skills, the pool of qualified candidates may be very lacking in your geographical area. While it is always ideal to have each employee located in the main office, today's technologies (Internet, video conferencing, etc.) ease the need to have the person located onsite all the time. Potentially, combining the use of video technology as well as occasional onsite visits may be fine. The alternatives are trying to relocate the talent (expensive and not always practical as your geographical location may not appeal to this type of talent) or continue to recruit locally and takes months to fill the role (what is the cost to your company of a job being unfilled for months?)

Reduce the steps in your interview process.

An ideal interview process should initially start with a phone interview. If the phone interview proves successful, then the candidate should be brought onsite for a face-to-face interview. Many companies still insist on bringing candidates back for second or even third interviews. Is this really necessary? Candidates with great skills are in high demand and probably are interviewing with other companies besides your opportunity. If your competition has streamlined their hiring process to make a quick decision (one phone interview and one onsite interview), chances are you will lose this candidate if your hiring process is very prolonged.

Reduce the number of interviews in the onsite interview.

Many companies run the candidates through a gauntlet of interviews and interviewers when onsite. In addition, many companies will not hire a candidate unless there is 100% consensus from the interview team. Is this really necessary? An ideal onsite interview should consist of interviews with the hiring manager and a few select peers. Too long and grueling an interview process is a sure turn-off for those candidates who skills are very much in demand.

Streamlining and improving your hiring process should allow your company to fill your key roles both effectively and quickly. In today's very competitive job market, it is a sure way to get a leg up on your competition for talent.

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