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Quick Tips to Navigate the Candidate Shortage

A number of recent articles (including these from the Sydney Morning Herald and SEEK), have highlighted the current challenges for many employers in attracting good candidates for their vacant roles. We've also begun to see this reflected in the market.

While the number of jobs being advertised has increased significantly (63% increase this October compared with Oct 2020), the number of candidates is down by 32%. Indeed, I was chatting with a client just this week who knew of a hospitality manager who had resorted to approaching his older customers at their tables to ask if they had any children or grandchildren living locally and looking for work!

There's no easy answer to these things, but if you're in a similar predicament here are a few quick tips that might help

  1. First explore options within your business: We sometimes find that employers look for solutions outside the business without first considering the possibilities internally. For example, is there someone already within the business who could potentially transition into the role (you may find that there are people "crying out" for a challenge/new opportunity and if they don't feel they can access that within your business they may ultimately be a "flight risk"). Alternately, is this an opportunity to redesign roles and/or restructure they way work is undertaken in order to ultimately improve the business and reduce or eliminate the need to recruit externally? 

  2. "Sell" yourself: If you do ultimately decide to advertise, don't make the same mistake we commonly see with job adverts, which is to write them almost entirely from the perspective of the employer. Fair enough to an extent, but good candidates have choices, so ads need to detail requirements AND ALSO be attractive from the point of view of the candidate. Perhaps ask yourself "Why would a good candidate want to work here, and what's in it for them?" and go from there. Identify your selling points and don't be shy! It could be, for example, your not for profit status, flexible work (a really important one for many candidates at the moment), variety of tasks, small team, opportunity to learn and grow, new role, "chance to make your mark", contribute to the community, work close to home etc…. Important note: don't overpromise and under-deliver, your selling points need to be genuine. 

  3. Consider where your good candidates are and get in front of them: Chucking an advert on SEEK then sitting back and waiting for a flood of quality candidates is probably just not going to happen, particularly in the current market. Think about other options for bringing your opportunity to the attention of good candidates. Depending on the role this might include, for example, posting the advertisement on local Facebook groups, sharing the opportunity via your social media channels, getting in touch with university/TAFE career support people, utilising active job search options by which you can reach out directly to potential candidates (eg. SEEK Talent Search - free with your job advert), seeking referrals from your existing employees (perhaps with an incentive if you hire one of their referred candidates), or perhaps even going "old school" (a sign in the window, local media advertising - radio, newspaper, online etc...). 

  4. Use your network!: Many business owners and managers we work with have spent years building a solid network of people who, in one way or another, support their business (as clients, customers, suppliers, business partners and local business organisations/groups for example). Don't underestimate the power of this network in terms of recruitment. Let your network know that you're on the hunt for good candidates and ask them to pass the word on, you'll find most are happy to help if they can. While they themselves will often not be direct candidates, keep in mind that they potentially have an extensive network of their own. It's all about getting the word out.

Hopefully these few tips help you navigate the challenging current market​. If you need further assistance, be sure to reach out....

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