How to DIY your recruitment and find a hidden gem

This article was first published in the July 2021 issue of Australian Printer, authored by Meqa Smith

Many businesses feel that they’d love to get some help with recruitment, but either just don’t have the funds available to afford it or their experiences with recruiters have been disappointing because of the way it has traditionally been done.

These businesses are my clients, so I’ve heard it all! 

The nightmare scenario of being inundated by candidates and spending hours sifting through resumes trying to figure out who to interview, or ‘hear’ crickets when you’ve got a role listed on seek and you’ve got no idea how to change that. 

I’ve also heard about huge fees for nothing more than offering a few resumes and unscrupulous recruiters placing candidates and then poaching others to place with another client, from the same business.

People are referred to us by our other clients because of the way my agency approaches hiring so differently. The method I developed (and that we use in the agency) has been designed specifically to fix the broken standard approach to recruitment. 

But I know there are many smaller businesses who just can’t afford to spend the money on fees, so here’s my advice on how you can use the same principles we do to DIY recruitment and attract the best-fit candidate for your role. 

Too many businesses have had a bad experience with disengaged employees (whom they hired in the wrong way so they were set up to be disengaged) and then approach the recruitment process in a ‘master-slave’ type way. 

It’s a bit of a change, but understanding that the employment relationship is like any other will help. It has to be mutually beneficial to succeed so you’ve got to think of it like a partnership of sorts. 

Start with value

Understanding both the tangible and intangible value you’re asking for and offering is the key to starting things off right. You need to figure out what you want to say before you do anything else.

  • Think through both the skills and experience and the values and characteristics your ideal candidate will bring with them, don’t just focus on ‘x’ years’ experience in a similar role’.
  • Be open to people from different industries, who have had a career break, run their own business or may not initially seem ‘perfect’ – these people are often hidden gems.
  • Look at the full package you’re offering and consider all you’re really offering as well – for example do you have on-site parking and a great coffee machine? 

Then communicate to connect

Now you know what you want to say – this is where you need to work on how you’re going to say it. Writing your job ad in a way that fits with the way your business really operates means that if someone is reading it and they like the way it sounds, that’s a good indication they’ll fit in with the way you do things.

  • Don’t use really formal language if that’s not the way you do things every day.
  • Don’t use too many clichés like ‘dynamic’ and ‘innovative’ to describe your business, choose more honest adjectives unique to your business.
  • Give more detail about what you’re looking for than “good communication skills” and “team player” these phrases don’t really explain what you’re looking for at all.

Remember this is an experience

The way you communicate with candidates and run the recruitment process is a preview for each candidate on the way you run your business and how you are probably going to treat them if they succeed. Actions always speak louder than words. You’ve figured out what to say and how to say it, now it’s time to make sure what you do is in line with what you said. 

  • Decide the best way to assess candidates for the most important things and let them know in advance what this will be and when it will happen.
  • Communicate with candidates in a timely way about the process.
  • Don’t make the process too long and onerous – focus on what you need to know and find the best way to get this information without multiple interviews.
  • Let everyone who applied know whether they’ve been successful or not.
  • Map out an onboarding process that helps the new person feel like they’re part of the team and understand the way the business works.

When you approach recruitment this way you’re going to find that your approach stands out to those candidates looking for a new role and they’ll apply, then when you treat them with respect throughout the process they’ll understand that you’re serious about being different and they’ll start to trust you. 

In the process, you’ll get a good feeling for the type of person the candidate is, how they communicate and behave. So, you’ll both be in a better position to decide whether or not it makes sense to work together and the relationship will be started the right way (which will set it up for engagement and the results you really want).

Comment below to have your say on this story.

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