Hiring quality staff is a top priority for SMEs right now according to research released last week by DBM Consultants’ Business Financial Services Monitor.
The good news is that there has never been a better time to secure talent. Salary growth remains on hold and many of the big employers are still looking to shed staff or maintain headcount as a way of controlling costs. This means SMEs will have far less competition from large employers with deep pockets.
According to CareerOne.com.au’s Hunting the (hidden) Hunters report, released earlier this year, over 62 percent of employed workers were open to job opportunities at the height of the global financial crisis.
Employees are even more restless now after waves of redundancies, reduced working hours and salary freezes. Candidates have also been drinking in the positive talk about the economy and the August spike in job ad numbers – the first in 16 months.
The time is right for strategic hiring but that opportunity can be squandered if employers don’t know how to extract maximum value from online advertising.
Use the following tips to ensure your opportunity gets in front of the right candidates:
1) Use specific job ad headings – Don’t use old fashion headlines like, “Great opportunity”. It is best to use the job title as your headline and choose language used by job hunters to search for roles. For example, “Cleaner” is far better than “Hygiene Technician”.
2) Be search engine smart – 85 percent* of job hunters search using keywords. Adding relevant keywords to the body of your job ad will increase the likelihood of your job ad being seen by job hunters. For example, for a receptionist role, use the words receptionist, administration, switchboard and so on. (*CareerOne: May 2009)
3) Be noticed – Use 3-4 bullet points at the start of your job posting outlining the key benefits of the role (e.g. salary, perks, location). This will encourage the job hunter to read the entire job posting.
4) Be understood – 45 percent* of job hunters say that they don’t get enough information from job ads. Help them by giving plenty of information about the job focusing especially on the specific projects/duties of the role and the key attributes needed to get the job. (*Hudson: Candidate Buying Power Report – 2008).
Good communication is vital
Acknowledging receipt of all applications is ideal. If you can’t, then cover this off in the job ad. For example, “candidates selected for interview will hear by X date”.
Outline the recruitment process to shortlisted candidates and always get back to them when you say you will.
Let each unsuccessful candidate know the outcome of the recruitment process, by phone if possible. Seek permission to keep any unsuccessful candidate’s details on file.
An unsuccessful candidate might turn up in a client organisation or as the manager of a family member. You just don’t know so be as respectful as possible.
During the interview process, use “behavioural” interview questions. This is where you ask for specific examples of what a candidate has done rather than asking them what they would do.
Questions start with phrases like “give me an example of a time when you…” This style is based on the premise that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.
Be upfront about perks. Also, be creative, for example, flexible hours, being self directed and having an opportunity to take on more responsibility are all important to quality candidates.
Finally, do your due diligence. When reference checking, ask for landlines rather than mobiles for referees so you can check their titles via reception.
– Kate Southam is the editor of CareerOne.com.au