It can be a challenge to hire the best talent when the market is tight – but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

It’s wonderful to have a business that is going through a period of growth, but with a talent-tight market and a booming economy, business leaders are finding themselves in a bit of a bind when it comes to hiring.

In a post-COVID market the number of open jobs vs available professionals has swung in favour of jobseekers. Roles are available but the usual clamouring of candidates just isn’t there; the pool is shallow but the talent is still needed.

Australia is seeing a 3.5% unemployment rate as of June 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which is the lowest it has been since July 2020. People are comfortably working for better benefits and with more flexibility than ever before but it’s not such great news for employers seeking to hire the top talent.

All of this means that business leaders are going to have to figure out the right strategies that will make them the preferred option among the rest. The question is how do you find the right candidates and then convert them into employees who will stick in a tight labour market?

Hiring Managers are already well aware of these issues, but we’ve got some suggestions for you below to help solve the problem.

Create New Junior Positions

One of the most difficult dilemmas for people is that many employers want candidates with a certain amount of experience before they join their industry. Until someone hires them, they cannot gain that experience so it’s a chicken and egg situation for those looking to try a new industry or start again elsewhere.

To mitigate this you could create a junior position to attract candidates with a fresh perspective. Not only will you bring in new people, but you will also have new energy in your business. Creating exciting positions where you haven’t had them in the past will shake up your hiring strategy and open your business up to a larger pool of candidates.

Does this mean you have to train people? Absolutely – but you would have to train any new hire in the way that you operate, so why not start from scratch? You’d be a more desirable employer as a result.

Adjust Your Search Parameters

There may once have been a time you could be specific and ‘choosy’ when deciding on the types of candidates you are looking for, honing a skills list and succeeding in attracting some amazing talent. Things are now changing and it’s up to employers to broaden their brief to hook in the best out there.

It’s not the same as it used to be, but that doesn’t have to be negative. In a tight market, creating opportunities means showing jobseekers that they have the potential to be what you are looking for and that requires you to cut down on your extensive ‘wish list’ of skills. This way, you can attract candidates who feel they can meet your hiring criteria.

Being clear about the expectations by simplifying what you want to say and better identifying the experience level you are looking for will ensure that you encourage more applicants.

Build a Strong, Visible Brand

To stand out among all the other employers looking for talent in a shallow pool of options you should make sure that your online presence is strong. Updating your website and social media pages to present your best business self will help you get the word out that you are an attractive and professional prospect for jobseekers.

According to LinkedIn, you can attract at least 50% more qualified applicants for a role with a strong employer brand – and this can speed up your hiring process. Don’t allow your social media or your website design to be the thing that rules you out. You need a strong image right now and that requires taking time to tighten it up.

Building a stronger employment brand could include:

  • Working on defining your EVP to show what you can offer.
  • Demonstrating your values and how you live them as a company.
  • Sharing case studies/testimonials of happy staff.
  • Showcasing benefits that you offer and that you don’t over-promise and under-deliver.

If any of your online social media accounts or your website require an upgrade you should focus on this before moving forward.

Be Efficient During the Hiring Process

Securing skilled people in a talent-tight market means working efficiently – and that means shortening your time to hire. The last thing that you want is to find the best match for your job role only to lose them because another employer was faster than you at the offer stage.

You can make your hiring strategy a much more efficient one when you implement the following things:

  • Decide how many interview stages you need to get to the offer stage.
  • Sign off budgets for hiring as early as possible.
  • Make offers in advance subject to checks rather than waiting for referees to respond.

You could even find that working with a recruitment partner will speed everything along without skimping on the details.

Top talent know their worth and they won’t wait around for you if another option comes along. From application to offer, tighten up your procedures and be efficient in your timings. None of this is going to make you look like a desperate employer; simply one who understands that time is precious.

Look at Behaviour, Not Just Skills

While you are receiving applications from interested candidates, you should consider looking beyond the talents you asked for in your job advert. Sometimes, it’s about the enthusiasm demonstrated by jobseekers in their cover letter/CV.

Not every prospective candidate will have that character fit you are searching for and equally, the best fit might not have those boxes you want to tick listed on their CV, but what else can they offer? Do they have transferable skills? Does their CV reflect their ability to work hard? Did their cover letter or reference letters demonstrate their competencies?

It can sometimes be the case that those with the least experience have the most potential and that’s where you must adjust your expectations in a positive and hopeful way and not just discard a CV that doesn’t perfectly match the wish list you had in mind. 

If you have the resources to train someone who has the right personality fit but not the exact experience you need, it’s worth offering an interview and a chance. Being less picky right now could pay off as a result.

Be Generous in Your Offer

When it comes down to the wire, jobseekers will often be looking for the best offer. Company culture is important but so is the whole package. The top talent out there know they have options and it’s often more costly to you to let a great candidate slip through your fingers – but that doesn’t mean you should go beyond your means.

You have a budget to stick to and not every generous offer means huge salaries. Your benefits, your flexibility and your ability to offer a comfortable working environment will be something that attracts the best to your business. This can mean more than the overall salary in the end.

Signpost to recruitment partner to help determine an appropriate salary?

Look at Your Existing Talent

While we discuss finding skilled people that fit your business you should take a moment to look at your internal talent pool. You might already have a group of talented people working alongside you – can you promote from within? Examining the existing employees in your business will help you to determine whether there is room for them to reskill and move into a different vertical.

Asking your team if they would prefer to move into another area of the business gives them that boost that you trust their skills and it works within your retention strategy, too. People want to learn on the job and they want to have fun with it, and if you can build this into your retention strategy you’re going to keep your best talent while you scope out others to join you.

Your current employees deserve to know that they are valued and when everyone is encouraged and feels appreciated, they are more likely to stay on board after you finally hire them. Not only that, but happy employees attract new people who are interested in learning why they’re so happy.

Summary

When it comes down to it, you need to put your company out there and set yourself apart in a tight labour market. Your brand, your culture and the package you offer will help you to secure skilled people even when it feels difficult. Beyond your hiring efforts, you can use these same considerations to keep your existing employees.

When you create an environment where people want to work you’ll go beyond attracting the best talent; you’ll keep them, too! Hiring a new employee can be tough when the talent pool is shallow but it’s here that a specialist Recruiter could make a difference in your search.

Struggling with where to start? Don’t worry; our specialist team of Recruiters at Premier Professional are here to help. We have access to a range of jobseekers looking for the right role and we can help you to speed up and streamline your hiring process in Australia. Contact our team for more information.

Author – Employment Group