Being in the business of recruiting, filling a position is the number one goal. When a position remains unfilled for four months or longer, one needs to ask why. In a survey conducted by Argosight in 2014, we asked approximately 2,600 HR/ talent management professionals across all industries and geographies: for positions that had the highest time to fill in your organization, what was the driving reason? The graph below shows the spread of responses.
Not surprisingly, the top reason why positions remain available is a mismatch of skills, cited by 28% of respondents. Companies are looking for a specific skillset to fill a certain role and it makes sense that they don’t hire until they find the candidate that satisfies that requirement. This percentage is probably higher nowadays with the gap between supply and demand for skilled workers.
In looking at the top reasons cited by survey respondents, some are more fixed (or outside company control) and others are more flexible (or within company control). The skills and cultural fit of the candidates, the salary they demand (budget) and the location of the job (geography) are outside company control. Not having sufficient internal resources to process candidates, having a lengthy interview process, and not being able to commit to a headcount (indecision) are within company control. When viewed from this perspective, the graph looks more like this:
When it comes to why positions are staying unfilled, 1/3 of respondents cited reasons within the company’s control as the main driver. Applying that, one can say that for every 3 positions that stay vacant, the company could have prevented 1.
For companies planning to increase their headcount, and do so by a large number in 2017, this is a glaring issue. Coupled that with the skills shortage in the market and it becomes even more critical for companies to address the levers within their control to fill vacancies.
How can companies begin to improve their recruiting efforts?
First and foremost, companies need to decide on a growth strategy and commit to a headcount that will support that strategy. Once that headcount is determined, they should do what we practice here at Argosight: address the 3 Ps.
People - by allocating the appropriate number of resources to work on the positions that need to be filled.
Process - by defining a clear recruiting process that takes the candidate from source to interview to hire.
Platform - by leveraging known systems to track candidates, move them through the process, and report on the overall progress of recruiting.
Attending to the 3 Ps will set companies up to recruit effectively and not only achieve the number one goal of filling a position, but more importantly, hire the headcount needed to support business growth.