Why you’ve had the same job posted for months and can’t fill it

Have you had the same job posted for months on end and are you unable to fill it? Or have you filled the position only to find that the person didn’t work out, and had to post the job again?

This happens a lot. We’ve all seen the same jobs by the same companies lingering online for ages, or coming down and going back up again.

People notice this, and it isn’t good for your organization’s reputation. It makes people wonder why the position remains unfilled and starts to send off signals that something is amiss. It tells people you’re having trouble attracting talent. And the people who see those jobs are people in your industry, maybe even the ones you want to attract.

You might even be having some trouble yourself figuring out why you can’t satisfactorily fill the position.

Here are a few possibilities as to why your job remains unfilled.

The job isn’t one job, it’s four.

Are you looking for a receptionist to answer phones and greet people, handle sales, manage the office, and edit documents? That’s not a receptionist. It’s a receptionist, salesperson, office manager, and copy editor. There’s a tendency for employers to cram as much as they can into “one job” lately. But nobody is going to want that job. And if they do want it, they’re not going to stay in it for long. Be reasonable.

You’re demanding a lot of unnecessary skills.

We’ve all seen these ridiculous job postings asking for skills and qualifications nobody needs:

The successful candidate for this entry-level position will:

Have a Ph.D. in engineering or psychology
Speak English, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Esperanto
Know 12 coding languages
Have 10 years of experience in a leadership position
Have six years of experience using a software that was only invented three years ago
Be a competition level ballroom dancer
Be a team player!
(salary: $35,000)

That’s not a job, it’s a fantasy – and not for the talent. Write your job postings well. Ask for what you need. And you just might get it.

You’ve rejected everyone and there’s no one left.

How many people who were perfectly competent and skilled did you say no to already — because they didn’t fit the company culture, or because they didn’t speak Esperanto and have a Ph.D. in psychology? Maybe you need to go back and take another look at the people you’ve rejected and reassess them. And take a look at your ATS. Maybe you need to change the keywords it’s looking for.

People don’t want to work for you

Maybe the interview process is turning people off, the hiring manager is being rude, or your employer brand is in the toilet. It’s possible that your employees are telling people to stay away and/or your online reputation is terrible – so the top talent that you want is not applying. Check your reviews on Glassdoor and Google your company. See if you can find what people are saying. Think about your employer brand and how you can improve it. It’s worth the investment.

Read more about the importance of employer branding here.

A job worth having shouldn’t be sitting on the table for long. It shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out what the problem is and fix it.

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