Everyone in business is dealing with the ongoing challenge of recruiting staff with Australia close to full employment. We are currently in an economy that has arguably full employment, low inflation, still modest interest rates (certainly historically), a resources boom, bullish stock market and record property values. It's a seller's market and candidates know their bargaining power and are exercising it.
So what can you do to give yourself a better chance to recruit talented staff?
Have your business ready to recruit. It is imperative that you detail your business' recruitment process. How many interviews will you have with each prospective candidate? Where will you hold interviews? What are your interview questions? Who will attend? How long do interviews run for? Who will conduct reference checking? What needs to happen to reach a hiring decision? What are the steps you take to communicate with candidates you wish to offer a position? How do you deal with unsuccessful candidates? Be prepared for hard searching questions from candidates and deal with them constructively. Your recruitment process is critical to creating an objective systemised process for recruiting staff and no doubt influences a candidate’s decision to join you.
Document a personnel system. A personnel system typically includes a documented personnel diagram, job descriptions, standard employment agreements, standard letters/emails, induction checklist and employment policies.
Pay market salaries or higher. You simply aren't in the game if you don't do your homework in understanding market salary levels for each position. Put yourself in a candidates shoes and ask yourself why they would accept a position with you from a number of current offers when your salary is the lowest.
Have a clear appraisal and review process. Draft a clear and concise appraisal and review process. Detail how staff will be assessed on performance, how often and in what format. Articulate this confidently and clearly throughout the recruitment process. Be disciplined in diarising these review dates and schedule sessions with each staff member periodically. Fail to do this and you will only find out staff problems when they resign. It's then too late.
Have a clear vision for the business and share this passionately with potential recruits. From conducting hundreds of interviews I'm yet to find a potential recruit who isn't interested in hearing about the vision and opportunities for the business and its people. Beyond the money, that's what they are buying in to. If you don't do this, other job offers candidates receive will leave you competitively disadvantaged.
Have a policy that you are always recruiting. Great businesses are always on the look out for talent. When a great candidate presents, be prepared to consider hiring now for the future. If you are too passive or conservative, the ideal scenario of attracting exactly the right candidate at exactly the right time may never present itself.
Get your staff involved. A powerful driver to successful recruitment can be in involving certain team members in the recruitment process. Key staff can be included in the recruitment process which promotes input and accountability in making hiring decisions. An impressive staff member involved in interviews can also heavily influence a candidate accepting a role. Existing staff are also more likely to be proactive in supporting new starts in adapting to their roles if involved in the recruitment process.
Search hard and search wide. Don't be a "one trick pony". Tell your staff, friends, family, peers and network the type of person you seek and ask them for their help. Trial print and online advertising for response. Consider giving a reputable recruitment agency (perhaps on a success fee basis) a floating brief of roles you seek to fill. For more senior positions, contact well regarded individuals directly in the industry to meet for a chat or even consider using a search firm. The message here is be proactive.
Accept that things will go wrong. In dealing with human beings, it is an inexact science. Candidates will change their minds, accept counter-offers from their existing employer to stay, accept another offer, quit before they start, fail to see out their probationary period or resign after six months. As frustrating as these incidences can be, recruiting staff doesn't come with an insurance policy. When things go wrong, take a moment to acknowledge the frustration before returning back to the discipline of your recruitment process. People will always disappoint you from time to time but don't let these incidents turn you into a beat up cynic. Your business, customers and team are too valuable to you.
Dare to be different. This is key in this market. Candidates in this market can afford to think WIIFM (what's in it for me). Think of interesting and attractive ways to promote your business and culture to prospective candidates. Good topical examples include child care support, in-house catering, study support and in-house lifestyle seminars.
Darren Bourke, Business Influence, 2008. You are welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete (including the “about the author” information at the end).
Darren Bourke is a Consultant, Business Coach & Mentor who helps small & medium businesses struggling to maximise profitability, productivity, people and performance. His Free Report titled What Successful Owners of Growth Businesses Do That You Don’t, newsletter and updates are full of strategies and tips to make your business boom. Sign up now at http://www.businessinfluence.com.au
Darren Bourke is a Consultant, Business Coach & Mentor who helps small & medium businesses. His Free Report titled What Successful Owners of Growth Businesses Do That You Don’t, newsletter and updates are full of tips to make your business boom. Sign up now at http://www.businessinfluence.com.au
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