Difficult recruitment – is it a leadership or a recruitment problem?

Every once in a while, HR experts and recruitment consultants face a difficult recruitment case

The reason for the difficulties might be a lack of suitable candidates, or there may be enough qualified people but they are not interested in applying for the position. Sometimes, the difficulties become evident only during the process, when the recruiters start to read the applications and notice that the skills they are looking for are not there. The difficulties can also be known before the recruitment starts. For example, the department might have failed to find a competent project manager in the past, too.

Often, recruitment tools are seen as a solution to these issues. Maybe we should invest in marketing? Let’s make a video, buy an impressive social media campaign or find other ways to spread our message to our target group! All of these tools are perfectly valid and often effective. However, another viable option is to use a recruitment consultant to find interested candidates for the job. This method also typically yields good results.

Recruitment tools cannot solve all recruitment problems

Sometimes, the organization should start by looking at the work community or the position they want to fill: is there something that could or should be changed? Investing in recruitment tools might be the easy way out of a difficult recruitment case, but its does not solve the underlying challenges, which will resurface at the next recruitment. Investments in leadership, on the other hand, could make finding the right kind of talent, if not easy, at least slightly less difficult.

Often, this can be done through small, daily changes that are inexpensive to implement. In expert work, for example, it can mean giving more ways of having an influence, avoiding unnecessary meetings, making the job description more varied, removing redundant tasks or improving development opportunities. The work of immediate supervisors is also immensely important. In managerial roles, the problem might be a high workload of routine tasks, inadequate authority to solve everyday problems, lack of support, or insufficient skills or knowledge. Solving these issues can notably improve engagement with work and make employees tell others how much they enjoy their work, which will facilitate future recruitment.

When an employee is satisfied with their work community, their work feels meaningful and challenging, and they feel like their management tasks support the other team members, they are likely to share their good experience with others. So, the next time you are faced with recruitment challenges, consider investing in the development of the work community, job descriptions, career advancement opportunities and leadership!

Author: Juha Vaara

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