The U.S. economy has added more than 2.3 million jobs since the beginning of 2015, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – and employers keep adding positions. The problem, however, is that many businesses find it challenging to fill those roles. Unemployment is also low, which means there are fewer candidates available for hire.

As Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald noted in his coverage of the November 2015 jobs report, hiring is extremely competitive right now, which means the hiring process often drags on much longer than most companies anticipate.

McDonald paints this picture of the hiring market in his post: “I can’t tell you how many times I have encountered employers who are downright shocked that a job has remain unfilled for weeks — and, very often, months — on end. They had visions of bringing in someone right away and hadn’t planned to be without a core employee for so long. Their current team is being asked to work shorthanded and running the risk of burning out. Worse, there’s no relief in sight.”

McDonald points to job candidates’ ability to be selective in this market as one of the main reasons that many employers are struggling to hire for key roles. He notes that it is not unusual for highly skilled professionals actively looking for work to receive multiple offers. And passive job seekers often need to be convinced of the benefits of changing companies.

Immediate business needs can add pressure

If your organization wants to hire specialized talent, particularly for senior-level roles, it is entirely possible that you will need to wait longer than expected to fill a position. While you might not be able to expedite the hiring process to meet your preferred timeline, your firm doesn’t have to leave critical roles open — or put important business on the back burner.

Augmenting your staff with an interim management consultant is one solution while you conduct a search for full-time candidates. These experienced professionals can take on essential roles, from accounting manager to chief financial officer.

This staffing management approach can help employers facing a long hiring process to avoid making a snap decision that could lead to a poor outcome, according to McDonald: “It’s tempting to bring someone — anyone – on board when workloads are piling up, and your employees are unable to absorb even one more task. But desperation can easily lead to bad (and costly) hiring decisions.”

If engaging interim help during a protracted candidate search sounds like the right approach for your business, McDonald recommends enlisting the help of a staffing specialist.

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