Monday, August 15, 2016

Finding a Candidate Who's the "Right Fit" for the Job

Since 2013, the Oregon Employment Department has conducted the quarterly Oregon Job Vacancy Survey. We ask employers in all industries and all areas of the state about the jobs for which they are actively recruiting, including whether or not they experience difficulty filling vacancies.

Each year, Oregon businesses have reported increasing difficulty filling job vacancies. The share of all vacancies reported as difficult to fill rose from 48 percent in 2013 to 51 percent in 2014. By 2015, employers reported challenges filling 28,300 (or 59%) of the state’s 48,100 job vacancies.

Many of the primary reasons businesses report related to hiring difficulty fall into distinct categories, most commonly a lack of applicants or lack of qualified candidates. A portion of difficult-to-fill job vacancies are not so easily classified though. In 2015, almost 1,900 vacancies fell into the “other” category. This included an assortment of unique or unclear descriptions of challenges filling openings: some businesses were “not sure” why their vacancies are difficult to fill; some admitted “We are picky!” in selecting candidates; others cited the “industry” as the challenge.

Among these “other” reasons for difficulty filling vacancies, one has been on the rise over the past few years. A small but increasing share of responses identified difficulty finding a candidate who’s the “right fit” for the job or the company’s culture. While this response would only account for 1 percent of all difficult-to-fill job vacancies in 2015, they tend to be concentrated in some specific types of occupations: management; business and financial; computer and mathematical occupations; sales and related occupations; and office and administrative support.

For example, the company seeking its next CEO may well be looking for a person who will either embrace and further the business’s established culture, or specifically lead the organization in a new direction. In another case, the church looking to fill an associate clergy position could certainly be looking for a specific combination of skills and beliefs in alignment with the job. It’s difficult to discern from limited survey responses what employers really mean when they comment that jobs are difficult to fill for “fit” or “culture” reasons. At least in some cases though, these responses provide insights into occupations where a specific – if difficult to categorize – set of qualities may be desirable for employers.

To learn more about occupations where the "right fit" matters, read Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer's full article "Difficulty Finding a Candidate Who’s the “Right Fit” for the Job".

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