Hard to Fill Positions: 17 Most Common Recruiting Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Hard-to-fill positions in today’s job market can often be a challenge for recruiters. Many companies are facing the difficulty of finding qualified candidates to fill their hard-to-fill positions. It’s one thing to have great resources available; it’s another to know how best to use them—something that many of us struggle with. From developing compelling job postings to finding diverse candidate pools, there are various challenges business owners face when recruiting new hires.

In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the most common hiring challenges and discuss ways you can overcome them.

What positions are the hardest to fill?

The positions that are the hardest to fill can be broken down into two categories: hard-to-fill job openings and hard-to-fill job titles. Hard-to-fill job openings generally have either very specific requirements, such as a specialized skill set or experience level, or require a certain amount of time for training and onboarding. Positions that are hard to fill due to specialized requirements include registered nurses, IT and engineering professionals, and specific roles in the hospitality industry.

Hard-to-fill job titles are positions that require a high level of experience or have many applicants vying for the same role. These positions can be difficult to fill because they attract a large number of qualified candidates, but not necessarily the right candidate for the job. Examples of hard-to-fill job titles include managerial roles, sales representatives, and executive positions.

What Makes a Position Hard To Fill?

With the times changing and our society transitioning to newer industries. There is a noticeable shortage of skilled workers for certain roles that were once highly sought-after. This along with various geographical issues, economic climate conditions, and diminishing skill sets create hard-to-fill positions which can be difficult to fill with someone who meets all requirements.

While many sectors are experiencing a lack of skilled labor due to the increasing number of job seekers, some positions are hard to fill simply because they require a certain set of skills that candidates don’t possess. This could be anything from coding experience for software engineers to customer service and sales aptitude in retail.

Economic conditions also play a role in the difficulty of filling certain positions. If a particular sector is experiencing a recession or there is an economic downturn, job seekers may not be as eager to apply for open positions that are paying fewer wages.

Finally, location is another influencing factor in hard-to-fill positions. If the job opening is located in a rural area that is distant from larger cities, there may not be as many candidates looking to relocate and fill the position.

17 common recruiting challenges, and solutions to overcome them

Proactive recruitment strategies are essential in overcoming common recruiting challenges. Here are 17 recruitment strategies for hard-to-fill positions and how to overcome them.

1. Leverage your company’s social media accounts

Utilizing your company’s social media accounts is a great proactive recruitment strategy to spread the word about your job openings. It can also attract more qualified applicants. Encourage employees to share job postings with their networks as well.

2. Attract the right candidates

Finding the right candidates for a hard-to-fill position can be a challenge. To attract the best candidates, you need to have an effective recruitment strategy in place. This includes utilizing job boards, writing compelling job descriptions, and advertising on targeted job portals. Job seekers should also use the company’s social media accounts to promote their open positions and encourage employee referrals.

3. Engage qualified candidates

Once you have identified qualified candidates, it is important to keep them engaged throughout the hiring process. Keeping communication open and proactive will help ensure that potential employees stay interested in the position.

4. Creating an effective job description

One challenge for recruiting for hard-to-fill positions is unappealing job descriptions. Writing job descriptions that accurately reflect the position can help to attract the right applicants. Make sure to include a broad job description during the job posting and highlight any unique requirements or benefits that your company offers. A compelling job description will also help to separate your company from the competition.

5. Hiring fast

Hiring quickly is important to fill positions before they become hard to fill. Create a recruitment calendar with upcoming job openings and deadlines so that you can meet your goals on time.

6. Using data-driven recruitment

Using data-driven recruitment can help you identify the right candidate quickly. Utilize assessment tools and analytics to pre-screen candidates and reduce time spent on interviewing.

7. Building a strong employer brand

Creating a strong employer brand is essential to attract qualified candidates and competing with other companies. This includes showcasing your company culture and promoting employee benefits on social media and job boards.

8. Ensuring a good candidate experience

Ensuring a positive candidate experience is key to differentiating yourself from other employers. Create meaningful and timely communication with potential applicants throughout the recruitment process.

9. Recruiting fairly

It’s important to adhere to fair recruiting practices to attract the right talent. Make sure that you are not discriminating against any candidates or applicants and focus on their skills and experience rather than their background or physical location.

10. Creating an efficient recruiting process

Creating an efficient recruiting process is essential to ensure that positions are filled quickly and with the right candidate. Streamline your current hiring process and set up a workflow for each stage of the recruitment process.

11. Look at both local and global

If your job role has geographic or transportation restrictions, post openings in the newspaper and local flyers to cast a broad net for potential candidates. Additionally, explore niche communities and special interest sites to find candidates in underserved or untapped areas. Take advantage of networking opportunities by attending trade association conferences or job fairs. Finally, use content marketing strategies to promote your employer brand and attract applicants.

12. Join a recruiting network to recruit for hard-to-fill positions

Networking with experienced recruiters will give you access to a larger pool of talent and provide advice on the best recruitment strategies for hard-to-fill positions. For example, a physician can use a medical career network to recruit a person for a particular field because these people are rarely used for job searches.

12. Look for passive candidates using the right search strings

Many workers are not actively looking for job opportunities, so it is important to create a proactive recruitment strategy that reaches out to those who may be interested in the position. Use specific search strings such as “gas compensation” or “registered nurses” when searching for potential candidates to fill hard-to-fill positions.

13. Be proactive and creative in your job advertising

Creative job advertising is key to attracting the right candidates for hard-to-fill jobs. Use multiple channels such as online job boards, radio ads, print media, and social media to reach potential applicants. Highlight the company’s mission and culture, how the position aligns with company goals, and any additional benefits like health insurance or a flexible work schedule.

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

This gives you a great chance to attract a growing contingent workforce. The contract workers will become full-time, permanent employees if the job works well. This method has its benefits as it allows you to find skilled contractors sooner than permanent employees while the individual is employed. Make sure that you specify the position will be permanent and that it will not be filled by the hard-filled position.

15. Build a talent pool

Building a talent pool of potential candidates is an effective way to fill hard-to-fill positions quickly. You can do this recruiting strategy in different ways such as attending trade association conferences, exploring niche communities or using special interest sites.

16. Utilize employee referrals

Encourage current employees to refer their contacts for potential job openings. the employee referral program will give hiring managers access to many skilled workers who are already familiar with the company’s mission and culture.

17. Offer competitive salaries and benefits packages

When recruiting, it is important to offer a competitive salary and benefits package that will attract potential applicants. This includes offering health insurance and gas compensation as part of the job if applicable.


Every company experiences recruiting challenges – it’s inevitable. The key is to identify the obstacle and put a plan in place to overcome it. By understanding the most common recruiting challenges, you can be one step ahead of the game and avoid hindering your company’s growth. Do you have any other tips for overcoming recruiting challenges? Share them with us in the comment section below.