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10 hiring tips for business owners

Advertising for staff - 10 tips for hiring for business owners

Australia’s unemployment rate may be on the rise, but the reality is there’s a huge skill shortage in many areas. Talented and experienced people with certain skill sets are spoilt for choice, and there are many companies looking to hire.

This presents a challenge for both the recruitment and retention of skilled workers. Smaller businesses may struggle to compete with large corporations offering Google-style perks and huge salaries. So how can you ensure your job ads stand out from the crowd and attract the right people?

1. Be honest and specific

Job ads that are generic with minimal detail have little appeal to jobseekers. Take the time to write an honest, descriptive ad and use language understood by your target sector. Your business may be small, but if you can convey its great culture, or benefits such as flexible working, your ad will be much more attractive.

2. Try social media

It’s free to create a company page on LinkedIn and build your profile. Once you have a presence online, it’s easier to find people – and they may even come to you. Another option is to start discussion groups on LinkedIn.

Once you have a position available, you can fire your job advert to followers who may be interested themselves or can share the ad within their circles. It’s a better place to start than simply going out blind and hoping you’ll receive a few responses. Plus it all adds to building your branding with more people following your company page. A LinkedIn recruiter licence is also a fraction of the cost of using agencies since it’s a simple annual fee.

3. Use job sites

Major job-listing sites such as SEEK are relatively inexpensive for placing an ad. But you need to keep your advert specific or you could be flooded with hundreds of replies. Vague job ads are a big mistake.

4. Try before you buy

Contractors and temporary staff can be a great way to test out a new role without the risk of extra headcount if it doesn’t work out. On the flip side, if you are paying someone on a high daily rate and then need them for a couple of years, it’s going to get expensive.

5. Cultivate existing staff

Always advertise internally first. Promoting from within can be a great idea, even if you have to train them in a skill they don’t yet possess – you already know they’re the right type of person and a good fit for your company.

6. Consider internal recommendations

This can be a great way to find new staff. It can cut costs and possibly be a better cultural fit, and employees will be able to recommend suitable people from within their vast networks.

7. Check your competitors

Browsing SEEK is a great way to see how your competitors are advertising their positions. Look at how they differentiate themselves and what skills and qualifications they’re targeting. LinkedIn is also very useful to see how your competitors are approaching their company page – how they do branding, job ads, culture, etc.

8. Focus on personality

Getting the right personality and the right team fit is the hardest part of recruitment, but it’s also the most crucial, particularly for a small business. Don’t start interviews by running through what you’re looking for in a role, as candidates will then just tell you what you want to hear. Instead find out who they are and what they’re passionate about.

9. Look for diversity

Having a diverse and inclusive workforce will benefit your business and also give you a wider pool of people to recruit from. If you have 20 people, for example, and they all come from different cultures, you can get all types of input. This will result in a better outcome than homogeneity.

“increase retention and reduce staff turnover you’ll face less of a recruitment headache”

10. Review and revise

If you receive a poor response rate or lack of quality applicants, revise your job ad. Was it specific enough to the role? If you are seeking a very specific skill set, you may need to try headhunting. Start on LinkedIn and hire an external agency as a last resort.

One of the thorniest areas is discussing salary, but you need to ensure there are realistic expectations on both sides or you’ll be wasting your time. Have an open and honest conversation over the phone first to find out their expectations and explain how salary is calculated.

Finally, prevention is better than cure. If you can increase retention and reduce staff turnover you’ll face less of a recruitment headache in the future. A positive company culture, offering flexibility and having clear career paths for your employees will help you hold on to them.

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