Ottawa County Michigan Works!

Employment Expertise – Open Positions But No Qualified People

Question: We have several open positions but can’t find qualified people. Where else should we look?

We hear this statement from our business clients quite often these days. This is especially true for positions in an organization that hiring managers define as ‘hard to fill.’ That definition is different from company to company, but it generally refers to positions that require specialized skills combined with company knowledge that’s difficult to find outside the organization.

We recommend that companies begin by ‘looking in’ before looking out.  It’s possible, even likely, that your ideal candidate is already one of your own employees. Our observation has been that companies are quick to look outside for expertise that may well be developed inside with someone who has been with the company for years, already has a great work ethic and a proven track record.

We are not suggesting that a Java Programmer can replace an experienced CNC machinist on the spot – though we’ve seen stranger things! But we are proponents of finding transferable skills within company personnel.

This isn’t just about saving money reserved for a new hire. It’s about company continuity and internal development. Most companies we work with, regardless of size or industry say they try to hire from within, and this is an excellent way to do that. It also sends a positive message to your workforce.

Something else to check is your actual job description. This is an overlooked but necessary part of talent attraction. Most companies post the description that was originally created, often many years ago. However duties change over time even if the job title remains the same.

The right candidate wants to know what opportunities they will have to make an impact, contribute to the company’s success, and what future opportunities there may be. The job description is a candidate’s – and the public’s - first introduction to your company. You want to convey the company’s story as well as entice the right candidate to work for you. A quality job description attracts a quality applicant, even for a hard to fill position.

Story on the Holland Sentinel