One of the most important facts you need to embrace in 2016 is that it will take you forever to fill a requisition.

There are a ton of reasons.

No matter what anybody tells you, the economy is healthy. It is better for the rich than poor. It is better for whites than people with brown skin. However, when the economy is doing well, companies are compelled to move away from a “policy of deflated wages” and pay something closer to the real cost of labor.

When job seekers hear that the economy is better, they know they can ask for (and receive) better wages and working conditions. (They are asking, and rightly so. The housing crisis and recession that started under George Bush has wiped out the American middle class. It is time for job seekers to catch up.)

Here’s a simple truth: power has shifted in the job market, which makes hiring someone riskier and more expensive. And if there’s one thing that executives and managers hate, it is a risk. Uncertainty costs money, and an owner/operator/hiring manager would rather leave a position open rather than spend money on a bad hire.

If you are a leader, you know that it takes a lot to make a dollar. Why waste time and money on someone? Better to keep a requisition open and force other people to pick up the slack.

(Greater productivity never killed anyone, right? Except children, coal miners, factory workers, etc.)

Unfortunately, we’ve maxed out the productivity from our workforce. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip, and workers across the labor market have been doing more with less since 1995.

So until your executives and hiring managers feel extremely comfortable with a candidate, they will not hire anybody. It sucks for you if you work in HR and you need to fill that job as part of your goals and responsibilities. It sucks even more if you are a recruiter and compensated on filling that requisition.

How do you fill your requisitions faster?

Increase your salesmanship skills.

You might be a seasoned recruiter. You may think you know how to sell. Numbers do not lie. Take some time and explore multiple sales methodologies that might help you increase your skills and persuade your hiring managers to act on your advice. The trendiest system on the market is The Challenger Sale methodology, but anything will work. Check out Hubspot’s article on 6 Popular Sales Methodologies Summarized.

Use data.

Before you send over a resume, have a conversation with your hiring manager. Get her excited about the data you have on a resume. First, check your language. Create a standardized way of speaking where fact-based information is highlighted. Discuss the candidate’s strengths, but remove gender pronouns from your tongue. Don’t share graduation dates, and try not to use language that implies race or religion. Focus on how the attributes are a good match, and get some buy-in before the resume lands in the hands of a decision-maker.

If the hiring manager fails to move forward with the candidacy, you now have a fact-based conversation “on the record” to understand what is happening with this open requisition. Moreover, if what’s going on is related to the soft underbelly of racism or sexism, cloaked in the language of cultural fit, you can work to fight it.

Leverage panel interviews.

Panel interviews are the fastest way to screen candidates. When multiple decision-makers need to weigh in on the process — and let’s be honest, there are always multiple stakeholders — getting them all in the room at the same time is your secret weapon. It is also the best way not to waste the job seeker’s time.

Side note: prepare your interviewers with a structured questionnaire and have them convene ASAP to review the candidate’s response. The more time that passes between an interview and a meeting, the more likely bias will creep into the discussion.

Recruiting is tough stuff and takes some time.

There’s no easy way to fill a requisition. Whether you are hiring a nurse or a chemical engineer, you’ll face push-back from hiring managers who are caught up in the paradox of choice.

Use my tips to help fill your requisition faster. At the very least, it might help you work in a more efficient and peaceful way. Don’t gouge your eyes out when a hiring manager asks for resumes. Double-down on your salesmanship skills, and refer to the data. At the very least, get the right people in the room to make a decision as quickly as possible.

Good luck!


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