As an employer or recruiter, you certainly want to fill positions with the best talent you can find. But this process can be challenging. Recruiting for new or highly technical positions can require a fresh approach and updated strategy.

Keep in mind that many of these hard-to-fill positions didn't exist 10 years ago. Others require such technical skills or specialized experience that finding appropriate candidate can seem utterly impossible. In some locations, it can be harder to find certain types of talent, too. So what's the answer?

A woman sitting at a conference room desk is looking out the window.

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By combining traditional recruiting techniques, such as job boards advertising, with more modern approaches, such as tapping into employee networks and building online strategies, you can succeed in filling hard-to-fill roles.

Effective recruitment strategies for hard-to-fill positions

1. Build out social media networks. Create social media accounts for your company on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Develop YouTube videos and blog post series to recruit and network with candidates. Through these social media accounts, you can show prospective candidates what it is like to work at your company and highlight why your employees love coming to work every day. Showing prospects why your company is so great is an amazing recruiting strategy for hard-to-fill positions.

Encourage all your employees, especially recruiters and hiring managers, to use social media to find candidates. Offer training for employees to teach them how to build their online networks and how they can help you recruit candidates. Meanwhile, monitor which networks give you the most traction and results, so that you can optimize your efforts.

2. Encourage employee referrals! According to ERE, employee referrals are the most powerful source of finding candidates. Employee referrals are typically higher quality, close quicker (they're No. 1 in time-to-fill, coming in at 29 days on average), and tend to stick around at your organization longer. Who wouldn't want all of that?

To implement an employee referral program at your organization and start hiring those hard-to-fill candidates, check out these four steps to building your employee referral program.

3. Get smart with content marketing. By creating and publishing unique and interesting recruiting content that matters to your prospective candidates, you can build your reputation as an employer of choice, generate and capture interest in your organization, and help applicants find your company easily when they search online.

For example, try using email, social media, and online content to invite and drive job seekers to a recruiting happy hour or company meetup, great ways to not only build interest in your company but also get to know potential candidates face to face.

4. Revise your job descriptions. Use attractive language that highlights the benefits and rewards of working at your organization. Instead of listing off 15 things that candidates must have in order to apply, take this opportunity to hook candidates and convince them they have to work for you.

Obviously, job particulars need to be included. But remember to include company perks, benefits (e.g., free lunches, healthcare, paid vacation), career advancement opportunities, and interesting projects candidates can expect to work on.

Here, identify what sets your company apart from other companies, particularly your competition. Without naming names, what makes you the best? Include links to your company's social media accounts and Glassdoor profile so candidates can see what it's really like to work at your organization.

Lastly, make sure you're not setting the bar too high. Read the job description once more and ask yourself:

  • Is this job realistic? Do I know people like this who really exist?
  • Is this job description inviting to my target candidate? Did I mention all the benefits and perks that this type of hire will care about?
  • Why work for us as opposed to someone else?

5. Focus on college recruiting. Want to win big? Target young adults early in their careers. The more you can do with interns and recent grads, the better. Implement job shadowing programs for high school students, create internship programs for high school and college students, participate in college recruiting, and hire entry-level grads for as many positions as possible. To focus on these individuals, know where to look. Seventy percent of millennials say they hear about companies through friends and job boards. Additionally, it's important to know what they care about -- be sure to include growth opportunities, career growth, and company culture highlights in your job descriptions. Eighty percent of millennials look for people and culture fit with employers, followed closely by career potential -- 60% of millennials consider the most attractive perk to be growth opportunities.

While finding qualified job candidates for hard-to-fill positions is no easy task, these methods are effective ways to arrive at the finish line with the talented hires you are pursuing.

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