Meet Hiring Pressures Head-on

Strategies for Filling Your Open Positions Quickly and Successfully

Lila Nelms

The thought of a new year is exciting—new beginnings, clean slate, new goals, fresh start. The new year can bring on as much excitement for what’s to come as well as feelings of being overwhelmed with a long list of ‘to-do’s’.

Hiring managers can feel the same pressures. New Year typically brings new budgets, new goals, new strategies, and most likely, new hires. Your organization may be focused on growth and expansion, but
it’s important to take a step back to truly evaluate the staff at hand, determine possible internal promotions, and then reassess the gaps at hand. What makes for a successful start with any hiring plan is an adequate and up to date job description—keep the requirements list to a realistic view of not only what is attainable in the market, but what is truly needed for that particular role.

This is especially critical for IT roles in a current market of very low unemployment, and even lower unemployment in the IT field. Demand is at an all-time high for technology talent and supply is low, nationwide. Time after time, I evaluate and read over job descriptions that are filled with expectations set too high and a list of requirements that is almost impossible to meet. This leads to a frustrated talent acquisition/HR team and a discouraged hiring manager who is left with an open req for months and months. We tend to hear things like, “HR has been working on this position for over 6 months and I’ve only seen 2 resumes,” or “Recruiting just isn’t getting me the skillset that I need—I don’t think they understand what I’m looking for.”

Internally or externally, a true recruiting/talent partner needs to use several tools and strategies to evaluate the open position and how best to find the right talent to fill it. A job description only tells one side of the story. Talent recruiters need to sit down with hiring managers to listen and separate the true must-haves from the “nice-to-haves,” especially for IT roles. What must an IT candidate be proficient in vs. what can truly be trained on the job?

You will open up your pool of candidates and prospects to some excellent talent if you are more open to hiring individuals who can be trained in certain skillsets. Hiring managers can save valuable time and get the work done that needs to be completed without overworking the current staff. Recruiters need to have open and frank conversations with the hiring managers to educate them on the market, trends, available talent, and salary ranges. HR and recruiters should push back if expectations are unrealistic. Each week there should be touch-point meetings between recruiting and the hiring managers so each side has an accurate picture of where the challenges lie and what could be changed to get better results.

It is equally important to ensure that compensation plans and expectations match current market expectations. Is it worth losing a terrific-fit candidate because of a $3–5K difference in salary expectations? If the role has been open for 6 months in a struggle to find the right talent at the perfect salary range, is it worth an additional 3–6 months in hopes of finding another great-fit candidate vs. offering the current potential $5K above the target salary range?

The experts at Connection have been successful in helping our clients with their staffing and recruiting needs because we take those extra steps mentioned above. We are consultative in our nature with each job description, as our top goal is to help you find the talent you need, in a timely manner. We work to be creative with our search approach and offer different ideas so you can fill your opening quickly and successfully. While this all sounds great in theory, the key is for hiring managers to be open to new ideas, new thoughts, new strategies, and with the understanding that not every candidate is going to check off ALL the boxes—but they may be very close.

In summary:

  • Make sure you have an updated job description
  • Understand which IT skillsets are crucial to have and which can be trained
  • Get intel on current market availability
  • Use realistic compensation data that is competitive to the current market
  • Don’t be afraid to use out-of-the box creative thinking


Lila is Vice President of Staffing Services for Connection with over 24 years of experience in consulting, staffing, hiring, and human resources. She is part of the National Staffing & Recruiting Industry Association (NSRIA), as well as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Her hobbies include boating, interior decorating, and working with children and teaching.