4 'impossible' IT hiring scenarios (and how to beat them)

Sharon Florentine


A recruiter would never think to approach a CIO and advise him or her on cloud storage technology. They don't have the technical knowledge, experience or skills to act as a trusted advisor in that role.

However, all too often, CIOs, hiring managers and executives do just that -- approach recruiters and human resources professionals with specifications, demands and requirements for filling open positions that may have no basis in reality, says Jason Berkowitz, vice president of client services, Seven Step RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing).

Finding the best possible talent within the constraints of budget, geography and time-to-fill is hard enough as it is, but throw in unrealistic expectations and impossible hiring scenarios and recruiting can seem like a never-ending struggle, Berkowitz says.

"There's an uphill battle for recruiters, from the beginning, to establish themselves as both a technical and a business professional who has the authority to advise senior business leaders," Berkowitz says. "Every recruiter is faced with seemingly impossible challenges, but with the right tools and approaches, you can overcome these," he says.

Establishing credibility as a trusted advisor to senior leadership starts with education, Berkowitz says. Seven Step RPO's recent report on overcoming hiring challenges emphasizes the importance of credibility for recruiters.

Authors Krista Williams and Michael Vecchio explain that the first step is presenting the business case behind hiring decisions, using subject-matter expertise and data to back up your opinions and suggestions.

Williams and Vecchio advise recruiters to focus on consistent delivery so that executives and stakeholders build trust in your capabilities, but to remember that in some cases, you're truly being asked to do the impossible.

"Bite the bullet a couple times on hard-to-fill challenges, but don't feel you have to keep bowing down -- there is a true need to educate stakeholders, and sometimes that is by having them see that you have tried to meet their request, but it cannot be done," the authors state in the report.

Leveraging data like competitive compensation rates, demand and availability of talent and skills can help validate your opinions and carry extra weight with executives and stakeholders, Williams and Vecchio say.

The goal is to gain trust and build credibility as a trusted advisor in the recruiting and hiring realm so that their perception of your value to the organization, as well as the current state of the market, is based on reality and not wishful thinking.

Besides educating senior leadership on the current economic market, relevant skill sets and barriers to hiring, recruiters must also be able to overcome many of the most common hiring scenarios, even when they seem impossible, Berkowitz says. Here are four all-too-common, near-impossible hiring scenarios recruiters face, and how to beat them.

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