4 ways to find the employee you really want

Hands up if you enjoy the recruitment process: coming up with the ad, going through the applications, running interviews and, finally, making the perfect choice – that’ll be the candidate who slots into your business as if they were always there.

It might work for some but for many small businesses the reality is quite different.

Someone’s resigned and you’ve got a couple of weeks to replace them: advertise, interview, and hope the successful candidate is available immediately. Then there’s the downtime while they’re trained in your processes and the worry about whether they’re fitting in.

“Small businesses generally recruit for staff because a gap has unexpectedly opened in the business,” said SEEK Marketing Director, Kendra Banks

“So it can be difficult to get the recruitment process underway because many small business operators are already busy with their day-to-day tasks.”

Fear of hiring the wrong person can also be a factor in delaying the process.

“It’s a common theme, many small business operators worry about choosing a new employee who will fit in with the team and workplace culture, and positively represent the company’s brand that’s been built up over time,” she said.

But, rushing through the recruitment process without careful thought is risky too.

The answer may be to take a deep breath and set aside the time to work through the process thoroughly.

Think carefully about what you need before you advertise

If you’re in a rush to advertise, says Banks, there’s a risk you won’t be clear about the role you’re trying to fill and the person you’re looking for.

“We’ve had cases where we’ve advised clients that the job ad is asking too much of one person, so may not be attracting the best candidates,” Banks said.

Be clear about the duties and responsibilities of the role and the education, qualifications, personal characteristics and experience candidates should have.

But don’t overdo it, she warns. “If you have a long list of requirements and skills, you can deter some applicants, particularly women. SEEK recently analysed our job application data and saw that women were less likely to apply for a job if their work experience doesn’t meet all the selection criteria, whereas as men are happy to meet 70 per cent of the requirements”.

SEEK research also found that 69 per cent of Australian candidates called out that any more than seven role responsibilities (the day-to-day tasks of the role) in a job ad would serve as a deterrent to applying.

Understand what candidates may want

Put yourself in candidates’ shoes for this one. What are they most interested in?

Obviously, salary is important but most will also want to know about the opportunities to move up the career ladder and whether there are flexible hours.

Any other benefits such as parking and proximity to public transport and childcare facilities can also be a selling point, says Banks.

A SEEK study discovered that 81 per cent of Australian jobseekers believe that it’s important that ‘the advertiser is completely honest in all aspects of the job advertised’, and a further 75 per cent expressed that it’s essential ‘salary, commissions and bonuses are not overstated’.

“There can be a bit of a disconnect between what employers are trying to get across in their ad and what candidates are looking for.

“Sometimes it will seem as if it’s all about the employer’s requirements but candidates are looking for the benefits of joining a workplace,” she says.

You can make sure both yours and potential candidates’ needs are met by simply making your workplace benefits a prominent feature.

“There’s definitely an advantage to an employer who thinks about the role being offered from the candidate’s perspective,” Banks says.

“Make sure when you’re crafting your ad, or even screening or interviewing, you’re thinking through the positive things about your organisation that would make someone want to work there.”

Write your ad clearly

Looking for a Chief Chatter (call centre manager), Retail Jedi (retail assistant) or a Wizard of Light Bulb Moments (marketing director)? Then advertise all you like but chances are you’ll miss out on candidates who won’t be able to find your ad because of the wacky title.

Fun titles like these (which were taken from real CVs sent to a UK firm) don’t necessarily get picked up when candidates are searching online, says Banks.

“It’s a basic problem but it can be a big one. We advise hirers to advertise their jobs with a role title that the person their seeking would be searching for.

“The role title is used in a lot of our SEEK algorithms for candidate searches as well as how we match your ads with our database,” she says.

While creating the right job title is important, it is also essential that employers do not overcomplicate the role by including too much detail in the job ad.

If you’re not accustomed to writing job ads, SEEK’s guided ad writing feature steps you through the process.

“We encourage people who aren’t confident in ad writing to use that feature,” said Banks.

“We also encourage employers to use our live chat feature while they’re creating an ad. Our team are always there to provide help and support and to critique ads.”

Understanding how certain key words can make a difference in job ads is also important. More than two-thirds of all searches on SEEK include a keyword search, according to the SEEK Small Business Guide. For example, early childhood workers may search for mentions of ‘Diploma’ or ‘Certificate III’.

Protect your brand

Don’t forget to keep all candidates up to date on what’s happening.

Closing the loop with candidates is paramount during the recruitment process. SEEK research has found that providing feedback on unsuccessful applications, followed by providing notification of unsuccessful applications were the best things companies could do to ensure candidates maintained a positive view of their brand.

“The number one pain point of candidates is not hearing back from hirers about where they are in the process,” revealed Banks.

“We’d encourage employers to take the time to use our tools, such as bulk email, to let candidates know.

“Remember: every person that applies is also a potential customer or may know someone who is,” Banks added.

It’s also important to note that candidates are likely to be assessing your company long before they submit a job application.

“Our research suggests that almost three-in-four Australians start researching potential employers in the very early stages of their job search,” Banks said.

“This demonstrates just how important reputation and communication around employer brand is to jobseekers.”

Recruitment is a process that takes time and careful thought, but with the available tools and technology at your fingertips, you can make it as painless as possible. Better still, if you put the effort in you can help protect the future of your business.

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