Does anyone want this job?

A client recently told me she was having the hardest time filling several key management positions.  She said, “It wasn’t that long ago when an ad or a post would generate more candidates than we could possibly want, and that was after we screened out the unqualified ones.  Now we can’t get a good pool of candidates even though our benefits and market position are very attractive.”

That is frustrating but understandable given the current economy.  It is important to understand the current marketplace.  Unemployment or underemployment is no longer a factor for most professionals. The Federal Reserve considers a base unemployment rate of 5.0 to 5.2 percent as "full employment" in the economy. The recovery has now achieved that level with a current rate of 4.1 percent.

This is great news for employees as there are more good options and the ability to make better money is in their favor.  This is a challenge for employers trying to run a productive business.  So what are the options?

Is the compensation and job description competitive in today’s market?  Find out what you need to pay and what level of responsibility is going to be attractive. Online salary estimators aren’t good indicators of your market or need. Talk to other business owners, consultants and even people in similar positions.

Take a look at a paid recruiting firm to find the best candidates. This can be a good option if you are willing to be patient and pay a premium for a key employee but not practical for a company that needs help soon and has more than a few openings.

Like anything else in a competitive area you need to put some sizzle in the sell. Create a compelling marketing story to help candidates understand why working with your company is attractive. If you use online and other job listing services you will want to use the paid options to create more awareness of the role and actually sell them to potential candidates.

Consider filling some positions with external resources.  Bring in a subject matter expert to give you an overview of your situation and have them address the immediate time bound needs.  A specialized consultant can help you get the strategy right. The need for a senior manager may less attractive then a middle manager who can implement the plan and grow into a larger role over time.  The external resource can be short term way to get you going or on an ongoing solution to keep you on track.

In sales management it is essential you have the process, benchmarks and measurement elements in place and working well before you execute a new plan.  There is nothing worse than bringing in a strong person without the systems and strategy in place to help them succeed.  Take the time to get it right and your eventual hire will be set for success.

There are people who want the job. In this economy it can be hard work finding them and it is important you are creative.  Hiring the right person is worth it but you may need to adapt your approach to get there.