Recruiting outside of the square – is it best to keep a role vacant or change your criteria?

almost 3 years ago by Ali Kimmorley

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Considering the current recruitment talent shortage, we’ve recently been asked whether it is better to keep a role vacant if you can’t fill it or change your selection criteria.

Before we answer, it’s worth revisiting the reasons why there is a current talent shortage in Australia.


  1. Candidates are looking for job security

COVID lockdowns, business closures, and Government wage subsidies have left some employees concerned about their employment future. If an employee has experiences a stable 12 to 18 months with their current employer, they are unlikely to want to risk change.


  1. Candidates want and expect flexibility

WiCOVID has changed the way businesses operate, allowing people more flexibility to work from home. Our research has shown that pre-COVID, 30% of candidates expected flexible working arrangements from an employer. That figure is now at 52%


It’s our opinion that, in most instances, it is better to fill a role than leave it vacant. Leaving a role vacant can increase the workload burden on existing staff who may in turn become disgruntled.

A recent McKinsey survey on employee burn out reported that, in Australia, 621% of employees were feeling at least somewhat burned out.

Therefore, we suggest one of three solutions to filling immediate talent vacancies.

  1. Hire a temporary employee

Despite the desire for job security, we’re seeing more employers and employees turning to temporary roles to fill talent vacancies.

Temporary employment may suit workers who have found themselves unable to work in an industry that has been impacted by COVID lockdowns and closures. Some who prefer flexible employment so they can travel are spending more time at home and looking for more work because of travel restrictions.

Employers are seeing temps who meet 70% of the selection criteria as a viable option to fill the role in the short term and possibly remain once they have established their knowledge within the business. Business owners who are promoting more specialised roles from within are backfilling the newly vacated, easier to fill role with a temp.

Businesses are finding that temporary employees can help them stay nimble and flexible during changing market conditions. Temporary employees can also take immediate pressure off a business while a permanent employee is found.

  1. Revise your selection criteria

With a larger talent pool, you’re more likely to be able to hold out for an applicant that meets 100% of your selection criteria. But under the current circumstances, we feel that hiring a candidate who meets 70% of your key criteria and can be trained on-the-job to meet the remaining 30% is a good and practical solution.

Can the job be split into two distinct roles, or job shared; this opens up the possibly of tapping into a wider talent pool with candidates looking for part-time options.

  1. Promote from within

Have you advertised the role internally? Promoting from within and backfilling the role you have promoted may be a better solution for your business. Rewarding a talented employee who already understands the business with a promotion could help keep them engaged and motivated. While the role they leave may be easier for you to fill, whether it be a permanent or temporary solution. 

Do you need help finding the right person to get you through? Contact our team today to discuss how we can assist.