Problem Filling Job Vacancies? This is Why.


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Even in the current politically charged climate, unemployment remains low. Since the recession, job seekers have been landing positions as quickly as employers have been creating them. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2017, the unemployment rate stands at 4.7 percent. However, that also means there are, literally, millions of people in the US still looking for jobs.

So why is it still so difficult to find qualified applicants for your job vacancies? According to employment experts, the problem might be with your own hiring practices.

Collecting feedback from more than 2.5 million managers in 195 countries, a 2016 Gallup State of the American Manager study found sales increase by 20 percent when motivated employees are hired.

However, in a 2016-2017 Manpower Group Talent Shortage Survey, 19 percent of employers surveyed said applicants lack the skills and experience to excel. Of the more than 42,000 employers surveyed, a staggering 40 percent said they’ve experienced increased difficulty in filling roles in recent years.

Read on to discover why your job vacancies are going unfilled. Here’s how you can adjust job descriptions and hiring tactics to attract and place qualified applicants:

1. Details surrounding job vacancies are vague or incomplete

You know exactly what your company does and the clients it targets. However, job seekers are put off when they have to play guessing games to understand details about your company.

Job descriptions that are hastily-created and omit company and position details are a red flag.

In a 2017 CareerBuilder Candidate Experience Study, surveying more than 5,000 job seekers, 82 percent of workers said knowing the company’s team structure and where they would fit was important to determine before applying.

Job seekers are also interested in details such as salary, benefits, company strength, culture, and more. Just as you don’t want to be in a state of constant hiring, they want to avoid a situation where they’ll be searching for work again in a few months because the job expectations weren’t made clear from the start.

2. You have unrealistic expectations

The chances that you’ll land your “dream employee” are rare. While it’s possible to find a mechanic who’s also a master accountant, or a social media strategist who does advanced physics on the side, these scenarios are few and far between.

Stringent qualifications that stretch into the job seeker’s distant past will also narrow the candidate pool. Demanding perfect SAT scores or unrealistic proficiencies sets you up for failure.

On the other hand, if you advertise a job as “no experience necessary,” candidates will assume the company will only keep workers until they find a better-qualified applicant. Others may interpret the phrase to mean low pay, high stress, and little chance for advancement.

3. You offer no value to the job seeker

An improving economy means job seekers have more options. When times are good, many workers simply have no interest in changing careers or learning news skills.

While money isn’t everything, it’s a top concern for job seekers considering multiple offers. Candidates are less likely to accept a job with low pay and high demands or responsibility if they can find a position at equal or greater pay that requires less training and learning.

On the other hand, many job seekers will accept a lower starting salary in exchange for added benefits such as networking opportunities, professional development courses, and more. These applicants are willing to take a leap of faith so long as they can be sure the time investment to learn new skills will benefit their professional goals.

4. Your hiring process is too long

Many job seekers have many “irons in the fire” and will often go with the first job offer they’re offered, especially if they’ve been job searching for some time. Most of those workers will stay with the hiring company for at least a year. If you don’t “strike while the iron is hot,” you risk losing out on a potentially high-performing employee.

Excessive interviewing (both in duration and frequency) is a red flag for job seekers. They will get the impression that the employer is either indecisive or a perfectionist. Neither scenario is appealing.

While it’s true that your work day is about more than hiring, job seekers crave frequent communication and status updates. If weeks pass without hearing from a potential employer, the candidate will assume you’re not interested and will move on to other opportunities.

Finding the right candidate to fill your job vacancies is time-consuming. However, you can streamline the process by being transparent about both the company and the status of the position.

In a “job seeker’s market,” you must show how your job vacancies benefit the job seeker, and provide them with the peace of mind that they’re not just a number. Strive to keep the hiring process to a realistic duration, and be sure to keep in regular contact with the job candidate so they know you want to hire them.

What are your strategies to attract and retain qualified workers? Let us know in the comments!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta, Managing Director of CareerShift, co-founded the company in 2005 to help individuals bridge the gap between education and employment.  As a recognized expert in the field, Val is a frequent speaker on career management, networking, and job hunting strategies.  You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.