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7 Recruiting Strategies for Hard to Fill Positions

The job market is becoming increasingly competitive, especially with the low unemployment rate. Most job vacancies are competing with thousands of others to secure the most qualified candidates. More than ever, recruiting requires creativity and persistence for hard to fill positions. You need to have the right strategies to source and recruit people who will add real value to your business.

What is a recruiting strategy for hard to fill positions?

A recruiting strategy, also known as a recruiting plan or recruiting strategy plan is a formal document of the actions you would take to source, recruit and hire the best candidates to fill your open positions. Ideally, you will create a strategy for the different points in the hiring stages so that hiring managers have a good indication of how to recruit for hard to fill positions.

Here are some of the stages in the recruitment process:

How to create a recruiting strategy for hard to fill positions

To create the most effective recruiting plan for hard to fill positions, ask yourself some questions so you have the best starting point.

Some of these questions include:

  • What do you want from your recruitment strategy?
  • What’s the most effective and modern hiring software to easily implement your strategy?
  • How will you know if the strategy is working?
  • What recruiting plans are in place to make changes if necessary?

How to find candidates for hard to fill positions

Here are some effective recruitment techniques:

  • Use your applicant tracking system (ATS) to store candidates’ details.
  • Have a referral system from other candidates or your employees.
  • Use social media recruiting.
  • Post your jobs online.

‍Recruiting strategies for hard to fill positions:

Some positions are more difficult to fill than others; for example, those in senior or leadership roles.

Here are some recruiting strategies to include in your plan for hard-to-fill positions:

Get qualified candidates to try out a contract position at your company

This is an ideal way of tapping into the growing number of contingent workers. If the contract worker does a good job, you can convert the person into a full-time, permanent employee. Going this route has its perks as you can source qualified contractors quicker than permanent employees and while the person is a contractor, he or she will work for every single paid hour, and you don’t have to cover employee benefits like health insurance.

If you plan to use this recruiting strategy for your hard-to-fill positions, make sure you state that the position is a contract with the possibility of becoming permanent. Not all contractors want to be employees, so ensure that the person has an interest in becoming a permanent employee before you hire them on a contract.

‍Join a recruiting network to recruit for hard to fill positions

You can join some specialist networks to source candidates in high demand. For example, you can join medical professional networks to source applicants working in this field, since they are uncommon on general job boards.

When creating a recruitment strategy plan for hard to fill positions, have the right tools to implement your strategy effectively. Fountain is the hub for all your modern hiring needs. You can hire your workforce easily, using our mobile-first software that provides a single place for sourcing, screening and onboarding candidates.

Whether you’re hiring for one or multiple locations (for example, a franchise), you can manage all your candidates in one convenient dashboard. You also have the ability to keep track of how your strategy is working since you’re provided with workflows and stages for every job posted.

Here are some techniques to include in your employee recruitment strategy to source the best candidates for hard to fill positions:

1. Consider candidates as consumers

Candidates expect your hiring process to be smooth and easy. They have adopted the Amazon Prime mindset, where they spend the least amount of time to get the maximum results. Therefore, every part of your recruiting process for hard to fill positions should be geared towards making the best impression and providing a seamless candidate experience.

To achieve this, you should:

‍Respect the candidate’s time

Communicate with them at different stages of the full life cycle recruiting process to ensure that they’re up to date on what’s happening. This is even if the candidates haven’t secured the job. Just because they’re unsuitable they should still receive communication to let them know they were unsuccessful this time.

‍Brand your company to attract for hard to fill positions

Every communication that goes out to candidates should reflect your brand. Keep your brand identity, tone of voice and a high level of courtesy, whether the candidates are invited to the next stage or not.

Fountain helps provide the best candidate experience with its mobile-first platform. For example, interview scheduling. It’s straightforward and easy with just one click. Candidates can trigger timeslots based on the availability of the hiring manager.

Plus, candidates can quickly complete the hiring process with electronic document signing and uploads. As for messaging, you can communicate seamlessly with different candidates through SMS-driven communications.

Candidates can also make use of video recorded interviews straight from their mobile device.

Find out about our host of features here.

2. Reduce the time to hire for hard to fill positions

This ties in with improving the candidate experience. Reducing the time to hire is a key part of an employee recruitment strategy. If you take too long to make contact or move your candidates through the recruitment pipeline, your competitors will be there to snap them up.

Don’t lose out on the best candidates because of a slow time to hire. If you show that you value your candidates’ time, they’re more likely to believe that you will value their time as employees. The tool you select to underpin your recruitment strategy for hard to fill positions should significantly reduce the time to hire.

Find out how to reduce your time to hire by 50% or more.

To drive home the point of how slow-to-hire metrics affect your business, here are some ways your company can suffer:

  • You can lose the best candidates.
  • You can have a reduction in productivity and revenue.
  • Your company’s reputation can be damaged.

Because there are different processes in the recruiting strategy for hard to fill positions, it can be difficult to decide what’s causing the bottleneck. For example, it could be one or more of the following factors:

  • Scheduling interviews
  • Approving requisitions

While the cause can be difficult to identify, it’s imperative to identify the bottlenecks for better time to hire metrics. Fountain’s analytics dashboard helps you make smart decisions by providing clear insight into your recruiting plan for hard to fill positions. You can get high level metrics on how your funnel is performing.

Additionally, you can get more detailed analyses on:

  • ‍Stage metrics: To help you visualize what’s causing delays and how you can troubleshoot them.
  • ‍Applicant conversion: You can make improvements at different stages of the recruitment funnel to improve applicant conversion rates.
  • ‍Interview attendance: Find out what days and times are best to schedule interviews.
  • ‍Team performance: Keep an eye on your workflow and know when a specific process needs more people to move it along quicker.
  • ‍Hire rates: Find out the number of applicants needed to reach your hiring goals.

3. Write great job descriptions to recruit for hard to fill positions

You need to attract the right candidate with good, solid job descriptions. Without an eye-catching job description, you won’t be able to engage the best candidates.

Some tips for writing the perfect job descriptions are as follows:

  • ‍Your title should be as clear and precise as possible: Avoid using ambiguous language in your title. As soon as your ideal candidate sees the job title, they should be driven to read further.
  • ‍Include a detailed summary: This is where you sell the job to the candidate, so they’re encouraged to start the application process.
  • ‍Make the job description as brief as possible: Include only the fundamentals of the role. Include what the candidates will be doing day-to-day and the skills and qualifications needed.

At Fountain, we’ve taken the hard work out of writing job descriptions. We’ve done it all for you with a complete list of job description samples. We have compiled a list of common job descriptions that you can simply plug and play for your open vacancies. Either use them as they are or tweak them to suit your company needs.

Choose your free and effective job description templates here.

4. Use social media recruiting for hard to fill positions

No serious employee recruitment strategy would be complete without the use of social media. This is now a must-have tool for sourcing candidates. Using it will enable you to utilize connections and sharing, even if the person who sees your job posting isn’t interested or a good fit, they may know someone who is and share it.

Social media shouldn’t just be used for posting jobs. It’s an ideal platform to show your workplace culture.

Read here about five companies who are doing social recruiting right and the lessons you can learn and implement.

As a recruitment technique, your human resources team can be active on social media to show your company in the best light. They can also actively search for potential candidates and encourage them to apply for the open roles. Your company should have a strong presence on social media so that when jobs come up, interested candidates already have an idea of what it’s like to work with you.

5. Use free and paid platforms to recruit for hard to fill positions

Thousands of jobs are posted to free job platforms like, Indeed and Monster every single day. Therefore, it could be difficult for your ideal candidates to see your posting if these are the only platforms you use. Ask yourself, are free job boards still relevant in job recruiting today?. The answer is, absolutely. Read here to find out why.

However, sometimes a free job board alone won’t do, and your posting needs an extra push to get in front of the right people. This is where Fountain’s Boost comes in. With Boost, you can source more candidates, fast. It’s simple to use. Just let us know how many candidates you need, and we will post them to free job boards. Tell us your budget and we will list them to the most appropriate platforms.

6. Remember to use employee referrals as a recruiting strategy

A smart recruitment plan for hard to fill positions is to set up an employee referral program. You can incentivize current employees so they will make recommendations of people who would be a good fit. You can design recruitment strategy templates for this referral program. If your employees are happy working for your company, they will have no issue with making recommendations. This is a good way to use your employees as brand ambassadors and provide them with rewards when someone has been hired.

7. Add flexibility into your recruitment strategy for hard to fill positions

When designing your employee recruitment strategy, ensure there’s a degree of flexibility offered to candidates. The growing contingent workforce shows that more people value flexibility, so they can enjoy an appropriate work/life balance.

Your recruitment strategy for hard to fill positions should include ways you can help employees not only enjoy their time at work, but also their time away. Provide extra perks like working from home, a collaborative open office environment or even company events, such as sports matches. You can also provide flexible hours, so employees won’t have to work the traditional nine to five.

Conclusion: Recruiting strategies for hard to fill positions

The seven recruiting strategies for had to fill positions above, when implemented in a plan, can only be effective if you have the right tools to support them. As job applicants and candidates are becoming savvier, they expect everything to work like clockwork, or they will vote with their feet and abandon their application. They may even go further and leave negative reviews on sites, like Glassdoor.

Why not include the modern hiring software into your recruitment strategy used by mom and pop shops and enterprises like Deliveroo and PICKUP? They all trust Fountain to underpin their recruitment program not just for a better candidate experience, but also for a better hiring manager experience.