These are some of the toughest recruitment times yet. The staffing challenges we face push us to be more creative and innovative with our solutions. With job vacancies at an all-time high, and unemployment at near full levels, employers face a new frontier in talent acquisition. As a recruiter of more than two decades, I have experienced many employment cycles, with this being the hardest. I hope my tips help you to navigate the extraordinary employment landscape we now see ourselves in.
- Accept and co-create the reality. This is not short-term. The shortage of skilled workers in Australia has been looming over us well before the Pandemic. Move away from the problem and focus on a solution-based strategy.
- Salary. Pay at market or above, not below, otherwise, risk not attracting suitable candidates. When it comes to an offer, if you lowball, you will likely lose your candidate. Or worse, risk losing your new employee soon after commencing. Your new starter will still be contacted by prospective employers, even after starting with you. This typically occurs within the first three months when new employees are their most vulnerable. As a consequence, if your job is readvertised or on the market for too long, it creates doubt.
- Understand exactly what you need. Knowing the exact skill set enables swift decision making (see tip 4). Cut the non-essential and wish list parts from the job description and identify trainable skills. This will increase your candidate pool to choose from.
- It’s all about speed. Be efficient and line up processes. Interview as soon as the candidate is identified and the same day if possible. Job seekers have multiple job opportunities and interviews. Delays may see you lose your dream candidate. If your process has more than one interview, ensure they are in sharp succession, not spread out unnecessarily. Offer within 24 hours of the last interview, with contracts issued the same day as your offer. If tip three is done, tip four is a breeze!
- Abandon dinosaur practices. If your processes no longer provide benefits, ditch them. eg, waiting for more candidates to benchmark your already great candidate is foolhardy. Do not do this. Go back to tip three.
- Audit your existing workforce. You may have hidden talent right under your nose! Review employee profiles and conduct reviews to uncover the skills, desires, and aspirations of your existing team. Look to upskill, train, transfer, promote and second. Consider who your team know? Encourage influencers, they always have great networks. Offer incentives for referrals.
- Let go of bias and outdated beliefs. Have a fresh approach when recruiting and forget what worked before. Consider ‘wildcard’ candidates, i.e., candidates that can do the job, but maybe their background and experience are not what you traditionally consider. Look for transferable skills, great attributes, and a winning attitude. Consider talented segments of the workforce relatively untapped. The youth, our ageing population, students through internships, return to work mums with part-time work or even job shares. What about the global job-seeking market? Remote working has opened the international door for potential new hires. Make time zones work for you!
- Use a specialist recruiter. The time to use a recruiter is now. Their talent pool, network and pipeline are significant. They know the market and who’s who and your job brief becomes their priority. Partner with one agency exclusively. Multi listing agencies left with 2019.
- Sell your proposition. The days of asking someone why they should be hired are gone. Instead, ask why prospective new hires would want to work with you? Are you offering what employees are seeking?
- Post offer. It is not over yet, the recruitment process continues! Once you offered, keep in touch throughout your new starter’s notice period. Anything can happen! Despite resigning, sometimes there are cold feet, with a change of mind and counteroffers accepted. Other job offers will continue to be put in front of them, so don’t assume anything. After starting, make sure your onboarding is on point!
These tips are useful, but what if you could get ahead of all this? Instead, know the collective drivers and it is not fruit and pinball machines. The issue of talent is old. It is not just about the pandemic and some miraculous wipe of our available workforce. What truly shifted is the behaviour, attitude, beliefs, lifestyle philosophies and choices. These are the real drivers, i.e. the different facets of life’s meaning. If your company can satisfy these needs better, they will be the successful navigators and explorers of the new staffing world.
Roxanne Calder, author of ‘Employable – 7 Attributes to Assuring Your Working Future’ (Major Street $29.95), is the founder and managing director of EST10 – one of Sydney’s most successful administration recruitment agencies. Roxanne is passionate about uncovering people’s potential and watching their careers soar. For more information on how Roxanne can assist you in your career visit www.est10.com.au.
If you want to benchmark your staff salaries to ensure you’re staying competitive and retaining talent click here for information on IML ANZ’s National Salary Survey.