If you are trying to hire top talent in Australia, no doubt you know this market isn’t for the faint of heart.
With unemployment at record lows, and immigration quotas hindering hiring in some critical skill sets, it can be tricky to fill roles at any level. For more specialised roles or executive positions, it’s certainly a candidate’s market, and employers need to adjust accordingly.
We spoke to Bill Coyman, Swoon’s Executive Vice President of M&A and Expansion, about what’s happening in the job market, and he shared a few ways companies can hire and retain top talent.
“Focus on creating a memorable and positive experience for the candidate, regardless of the outcome,” Coyman says. “Candidates have a lot to choose from, so thinking through the various components of your package and how you handle the hiring process is crucial.”
The three main ways to set yourself up for success in a tight market are to understand what candidates really want, nurture relationships over the long term, and have a plan for candidate/contractor care.
1. Understand what candidates want
When there are many jobs to choose from, candidates factor in all the ways companies create a great work environment. Of course, compensation is a significant factor for any jobseeker, so you’ll need to review your offerings first. What are your competitors offering? Is there room to offer more to your candidates? Are there other ways to offer benefits that make a difference, like remote office stipends or wellness perks? Making adjustments to your overall package might be necessary to attract top talent.
Similarly, workplace location requirements are a hot topic. Candidates want more flexibility than before, and with so many companies offering hybrid or remote options, you may want to consider adjustments to a typical 9-5, in-office schedule.
If you cannot offer hybrid options for your candidates, consider what other benefits or accommodations could work instead. If you are in a traditional office-required environment, scheduling things like seasonal flex time to start or finish the work day, a work-from-home day during the summer, or early finish Fridays can be an excellent way to offer flexibility without going completely hybrid.
You’ll also want to examine your interview process closely in this market. If candidates are considering multiple offers, being time efficient and quick with decisions and offers makes a big difference. If you’re currently requiring three to four interviews for a position, consider cutting it down to two or three.
Similarly, be respectful of your candidate’s time by following up with an offer, feedback, or next steps promptly. The longer it takes to extend an offer and onboard increases the risk of losing them to your competitors.
2. Relationships Matter
Relationships have always mattered in the hiring process. But now more than ever, genuine connections can make all the difference for job seekers. Coyman notes, “the old phrase that we’re all connected by six degrees of separation is more likely to be just two degrees today, so reaching out and leveraging your network can be key to creating those connections.”
Of course, mutual connections can be a great way to build trust quickly, but that’s not always an option. In that case, be sure you’re spending time strengthening your network. Attending traditional and virtual networking events, industry-specific events, and charity and community gatherings help to create and nurture those in-person connections.
Similarly, conducting your interviews or meeting in person is extra important. Granted, it’s not always possible (hello, remote work culture) but when you can, make the extra effort.
“There’s just something different about the connections you can make in-person versus what happens through a video call,” Coyman says, “so start with a video call if you need to but getting to an in-person meeting makes a big difference. AI and robots will come – let’s enjoy the in-person connections now!”
Finally, remember that even if someone doesn’t say yes to your role, how you made them feel and your connection might lead to something down the line. Relationships build over the long haul, and referrals from these relationships are invaluable! Don’t dismiss a connection just because this opportunity wasn’t a fit.
3. Candidate and Contractor Care Counts
This should go without saying but take care of your candidates and workforce – the real ambassadors for hiring top talent. Whether it’s a short-term contract or a longer engagement, the experience you provide to them while working for you can make hiring much easier (or much harder!) down the road.
Not only could they keep filling roles for your company if it was a positive experience and therefore result in shorter onboarding times in the future, but they’ll tell their talented colleagues, too. Nothing is more powerful than contractors or clients who love working for you to make attracting and retaining top talent a breeze.
Coyman adds, “I also have experienced that your candidate or contractor today can become your customer down the line – it happens more often than you would think!”
While hiring in a tight market like this can be challenging, adjusting your process and offer can make a big difference in attracting the right people. By thinking long-term, making strategic adjustments, and ensuring you’re taking care of your current workforce (the best ambassadors you have!), you’ll be on your way to hiring the best and brightest.