Employment and recruitment has been a rollercoaster ride for employees and businesses in recent years thanks to a global pandemic and the economic uncertainty that’s followed. Today, it comes as no surprise that, according to LinkedIn, 76 per cent of Australians are considering jumping ship to a new job this year. That’s good news for businesses hiring staff, but how you navigate the recruitment process in this new landscape is key, say experts. If you’re not sure how to attract the right talent to your business, try this expert advice for fine-tuning your recruitment process and retaining quality staff, too.

Our Experts

A split image showing three headshots of recruitment experts Victoria Griffiths, Paul Farina and Hilary Callaghan.

Victoria Griffiths: Human resources and organisational development consultant, and founder of The HR Haven.

Paul Farina: Performance expert, management mentor and leadership author. 

Hilary Callaghan: Founder of HRebel, award-winning disability and remote work advocate and speaker.

Pinpoint the Skills You Need

A woman in an office, standing in front of and examining a glass screen with sticky notes neatly arranged on it. She is also holding a sticky note in her hand.

Take the time to think about your ideal candidate, says Victoria. “Who are they? What skill set do they need to have? Do you want more of what you’ve got or something different? Do you want someone who’ll come in and introduce blue-sky thinking or new systems?”

For Paul, it’s about hunting for the diamonds in the rough and building a team of talent. “Committed, engaged teams outperform a team of champions, so I’d focus on finding people who might have less experience but are hungry to learn. It’ll cost you less in wages, too.”

And Hilary thinks more employers should consider that hiring is only the first step of recruitment – creating an inclusive and accessible environment for all workers means a more vibrant team who can bring together different stories and perspectives. “When employers get it right, people with disabilities thrive and feel comfortable freely talking about their experiences – and you can integrate that into your product and services, which creates a better client or customer outcome as well,” Hilary says.

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Solidify a Salary Guide

Pre-interview, crunch the numbers with a position scoping exercise to help you determine a salary guide. This involves getting clear on what skills you need, doing market research and assessing your salary budget.

“You might think, ‘I need a business operations manager but looking at the market research and my budget, I could potentially have a part-time one or I’m better off looking for a skilled virtual assistant,’” says Victoria. “So when candidates push for more money or you get overwhelmed by picture-perfect resumes, your scoping document will keep you on track.”

Hot Tip: When it comes to discussing salary in the interview, Paul suggests turning salary requests into a business case. “If someone says, ‘I want an extra $20,000 or $50,000’, you could say, ‘Okay, what’s the business case for that?’ Does the company profit and if it does, let’s sign it off and do it. But if the talent hasn’t done the work to understand the business case of what they’re asking for, you’re in a position of strength.”

Be Clear with the Job Ad

Two women collaborating using an electronic tablet in an office setting.  

A job ad should include a captivating opening statement about the company and what you’re looking for. “Then, include the vitals – is it full-time, part-time, fully remote, hybrid? – and a closing date; if it’s open-ended, people won’t get motivated to apply,” says Victoria.

Reduce jargon and keep the ad short to ensure inclusion and accessibility for all potential candidates, says Hilary. “Job ads are usually read on people’s phones, so you’ll lose them if it’s too long. Also, are you unnecessarily excluding people [by setting] a high bar for education requirements? People can take a different pathway to get to the knowledge required.” Hilary also recommends including an anonymous email candidates can use if they need support with the ad or interview process.

Be sure to include the salary range, too. “We’re not playing games here,” says Paul. “The only reason to be sheepish about salary is if we’re not confident about ourselves or the offer. Talent want transparency and it saves everyone’s time.”

Hot Tip: It’s no secret flexible work is booming – but making sure your employees have everything they need when working from home can be tricky. That’s where Flexiworks can help equip and support your team while they work from anywhere, and help contribute to their work satisfaction.

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Promote Your Business to Potential Employees

 A group of eight office workers, some sitting and some standing, around a table, posing happily for a selfie.

Gone are the days when you post a job and twiddle your thumbs – now, you need to treat the recruitment process like an ad campaign. “Employee recruitment is becoming more personal, and with social media, businesses have a huge opportunity to engage with ideal candidates even before they apply,” says Victoria.

“You could do [social media] reels of a day-in-the-life of your business, or do a couch interview with an employee. Talk about what flexibility means for your business – is it the ability to work remotely or the ability to schedule work hours around life commitments? Posting all this on your socials showcases you as a leader to your future team, and you may find your clients and customers become your biggest talent scouts.”

Hot Tip: Paul says that businesses who have a strong recruitment strategy and a system will be streets ahead. “Always be recruiting! I’ve hired people after keeping them in my circle for years.”

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Make the Most of the Interview Process

 A shoulders-down shot of a person in a wheelchair giving some documents to an interview panel of three people.

A 15-minute pre-interview phone call is a good way to screen candidates, says Victoria. “You’ll quickly determine if they’ve done the research and genuinely want the role – and if you want to take it further.”

In the interview itself, Paul likes to start with the person’s story, followed by their skill set. “Then, I get into the nitty-gritty of how they work, what market insights they have and what they bring to the table,” he says. “If I get to my third or fourth question and I’ve put my notebook down and it’s become more of a conversation, I know this person’s a good prospect for us.”

Hilary suggests making the steps in the interview process clear so candidates know how much time they’re investing. Given 1 in 8 currently employed Australians have disabilities, consider how accessible your hiring process and retention strategies are, too. “It’s about taking a critical look at your processes and policies to uncover how to embed accessibility and inclusion from the foundations,” says Hilary. “Interviewers don’t necessarily need to know if applicants have a disability – the moment an interviewer is told that this person is different in some way, their unconscious bias is going to kick in. Focus on what is needed for the role.”

Retaining Talent Once You Find Them

A man and a woman engaged in conversation in a business setting. They are walking together and holding takeaway coffee cups. 

You’ve put in the work to find the perfect hire, but your recruitment efforts shouldn’t end there. Leadership support and succession planning is a must for getting your talent to stay on board, says Paul. “Employees want to know, ‘How can I build my career?’, ‘What’s my pathway?’, ‘How can I develop within this company?’. People won’t give you five years if they can’t see that.” 

One-on-one interactions between a leader and a staff member are so important, adds Victoria. “Leaders who get to know their staff, what support they need, who take them for coffee – it speaks volumes. The person feels like they matter.”

You can also build trust and improve performance among your employees if you set fair levels of pay and openly share this information, says Hilary. “It helps staff see, ‘At this level, this is what you get paid’ and it may motivate some to get to the next level.”

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