The empty chair. The “no hire”. Let me tell you, it happens. There are some positions that are just not going to get filled. You can argue with me until you are blue in the face, but it is the honest truth. I wish it weren’t true, but it is a cold hard fact.

How can you identify an unfillable requisition? As a recruiter, what are the signs of a requisition that has absolutely no chance of getting filled?

The good news is that it can be avoided. Here are 10 ways to recognize an unfillable requisition.

  1. The Budget is Not There – The good people are expensive. As a manager, you should have an idea of what it is going to cost to bring on the person you want. Do you have the budget to hire the person with the skills you desire? You can’t have your cake and eat theirs too. If you do end up hiring this person that takes your job for less because of budgetary reasons, they will leave you. Guaranteed. Someone else will pay more.
  2. A Manager is Trying to Fill 5 Positions With One – On an executive level, you can ask someone to wear 5 different hats. You can probably even find a well educated individual that COULD do all of the jobs you are asking. Realistically though, are you asking too much from your to- be- hired? Most people are really good at one or two things. Don’t ask the world of them. It isn’t fair to the employee.
  3. A Manager OR Recruiter is Unresponsive – You can’t get very far if there isn’t communication. LOTS of communication. If a manager doesn’t get back to you within a certain time frame, then you WILL lose your candidate. If the recruiter doesn’t respond back to the manager when they say “go”, you will frustrate the manager and the candidate.
  4. A Manager Can’t Articulate What They Want – Recruiters aren’t mind readers. Tell us what you want and we will find it. Recruiters, ask deep questions. Have a thorough intake session with the manager. Ask questions that they may not think to ask. A question a recruiter could ask is: “What would your ideal candidate look like?” You could also ask “What companies would you like your candidate to come from?” or “What skills are most important to you?”
  5. You Have Too Many People Involved In the Interview Process – Hold your horses Mr. Manager. Do you really need 25 people to interview this candidate? Don’t you think that is a little overkill? Who do you think really needs to be involved in this decision making process. I can almost guarantee someone will dislike this candidate.
  6. Analysis Paralysis – Don’t over-analyze your candidate. If you over- analyze then you will most certainly dislike something about this candidate. It is okay to do testing. I encourage it. You will know what kind of individual you are getting. Some people don’t test well though. It is okay to look at metrics, but don’t get paralyzed by them. You will end up talking yourself out of a candidate every time!
  7. The “No Decision” Makers – At some point you have to pull the trigger. If you have interviewed a number of candidates and still can’t make a decision because you are gun shy, you may never have enough confidence to pull the trigger. Sometimes you have to roll the dice. I understand you may make a bad decision, but a bad decision (in my opinion) is better than no decision at all. Recruiters will get frustrated and work on other requisitions as they will take priority.
  8. The “Hiring Freeze” Candidate – If you have been in recruiting or management long enough, you have experienced the “Hiring Freeze”. If a manager is pushing for a candidate to be hired and there are parameters from HR not to hire an individual for a certain amount of time, unfortunately, the requisition may not get filled. As a recruiter, you must be proactive, but also it is important to be realistic.
  9. Inflexibility – Sometimes managers need to be flexible. You may need to hire an H1 candidate or F1 candidate. You may need to relocate someone from a different city and pay relocation fees because the skill set you are looking to fill isn’t in your city. You may need to look at telecommuting as an option to hire the right individual. If you aren’t flexible, you may not ever find your candidate.
  10. You are Working With the Wrong Person – Recruiting is Sales. If you are working with the wrong hiring manager and he doesn’t have the hiring authority, then you can’t get a position filled. Sure, someone may need someone to fill a seat, but if they don’t have HR approval, then it will never get filled. If you are an agency recruiter, work on qualified requisitions. If you are a corporate recruiter, work only on the requisitions that have been signed off on to be filled.