I just finished looking at a position profile for a job with a pharmaceutical company. The laundry list of bulleted requirements for this position is 22 — and I can assure you that these are not easy-to-find requirements. They’re all action words and full of responsibility for everything under the sun. (Yes, advanced degree required.) Perhaps God can do this job but in terms of mere human beings, I do not see it happening. I picked up the phone and had a conversation with a trusted associate who tells me the position has been open for a long time and has now been classified as “hard to fill.”
I dislike this “hard-to-fill” mindset. I know that some jobs, by their nature, are going to be a challenge, but the impossible ones just irritate me for a host of reasons. Let me enumerate just three of them below and we can then move on to solution-oriented thinking.
Hard-to-fill jobs? Almost never.
Hard-to-please hiring managers and/or corporate cultures of dysfunctionality: often times, yes. Illusionary thinking in terms of expectations and misguided hiring philosophy? Once again, often times yes. There are, in almost all cases, no hard-to-fill positions. Most positions that are open for endless time are that way for a reason. Let’s look at just a few of the many possibilities.
Lastly, organizational influences and political muscle should gravitate toward a discovery initiative as it relates to the real and meaningful problems associated with hard-to-fill jobs. These jobs should not sit and languish for endless time. The longer a job is open, the more scrutiny it should be under. Hard-to-fill jobs are a problem begging for a solution. Once unearthed, the associated difficulties should be vigorously addressed and corrected.
Do this and we empower recruiters to hire great employees. Fail to do this and they chase after illusions and sad possibilities.
- Howard Adamsky
Howard Adamsky (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been recruiting since 1985 and is still alive to talk about it. A consultant, writer, public speaker, and educator, he works with organizations to support their efforts to build great companies and coaches others on how to do the same. He has over 20 years' experience in identifying, developing, and implementing effective solutions for organizations struggling to recruit and retain top talent. An internationally published author, he is a regular contributor to ERE Media, a member of the Human Capital Institute's Small and Mid-Sized business panel, a Certified Internet Recruiter, and rides one of the largest production motorcycles ever built. His book, Hiring and Retaining Top IT Professionals/The Guide for Savvy Hiring Managers and Job Hunters Alike (Osborne McGraw-Hill) is in local bookstores and available online. He is also working on his second book, The 25 New Rules for Today’s Recruiting Professional.