Hir­ing and hir­ing

Six tips for hir­ing in a tal­ent-strapped world

Idealog - - CONTENTS - nz.fro­gre­cruit­ment.co.nz/hir­ing-guide

In 2014, Frog Re­cruit­ment di­rec­tor Jane Ken­nelly teamed up with The Icehouse busi­ness ac­cel­er­a­tor, speak­ing to over 700 em­ploy­ers across New Zealand. One out­come was the re­cently-re­leased e-book, Hir­ing and keep­ing good staff: A seven step guide, de­signed to dis­pel some em­ploy­ment myths and help SMEs level the play­ing field for top tal­ent against the big bud­get cor­po­rates.

Nikki Mandow took six tips from the book.


All too of­ten com­pa­nies know tal­ent is hard to find, but in­stead of plan­ning ahead, they re­act to each va­cancy as it oc­curs, mean­ing po­si­tions can take weeks, if not months, to fill.

Work­force plan­ning in­volves con­nect­ing staff re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion with your over­all strate­gic plan­ning. Set aside time each year to forecast your peo­ple needs against planned projects.


Top tal­ent is scarce, and high cal­i­bre in­di­vid­u­als en­ter and exit the job mar­ket over a mat­ter of days. This means com­pa­nies need to shift from the tra­di­tional model of only hir­ing when they have a va­cancy, to a con­tin­u­ous hir­ing model, where they are ready to take on a re­ally good per­son should he or she come across their radar screen.

Start by iden­ti­fy­ing the “must have” roles in your com­pany where there are sig­nif­i­cant skills short­ages, and then gear your hir­ing process so it can be­gin im­me­di­ately if the right per­son comes onto the mar­ket. OK, so you might have ad­di­tional salary costs for a pe­riod of time, but you avoid the prob­lems and costs in­volved in search­ing for the right per­son, em­ploy­ing the wrong per­son, or hav­ing a po­si­tion empty for months.


Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle in the Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view in June 2014, the se­cret to suc­cess in to­day’s hir­ing en­vi­ron­ment is be­ing able to spot “high po­ten­tials” – staff who con­sis­tently and sig­nif­i­cantly out­per­form their peer group.

This isn’t as easy as it might sound. For a start, most com­pa­nies mea­sure per­for­mance, not po­ten­tial, so at­tributes and be­hav­iours that char­ac­terise high po­ten­tials – like a bet­ter abil­ity to man­age change or a greater learn­ing ca­pa­bil­ity – might go un­no­ticed. In ad­di­tion, most or­gan­i­sa­tions don’t ar­tic­u­late the at­tributes and com­pe­ten­cies they value in their ideal em­ploy­ees, so man­agers don’t know what to look for in iden­ti­fy­ing fu­ture tal­ent.


Some ideas for re­tain­ing your best staff in­clude:

Know their ex­pec­ta­tions (for ex­am­ple in terms of ca­reer de­vel­op­ment, sup­port, on­go­ing chal­lenges and va­ri­ety).

Pro­vide chal­leng­ing and stim­u­lat­ing work and op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn and de­velop.

Let them know what ca­reer de­vel­op­ment plans you have for them and what op­por­tu­ni­ties are avail­able for them to grow within the com­pany. Of­fer flex­i­bil­ity and work-from-home op­tions. Fo­cus on train­ing and equip­ping your man­agers as coaches. Of­ten em­ploy­ees don’t quit their jobs or com­pa­nies, they quit their man­agers.

Com­mu­ni­cate di­rectly and clearly. Good em­ploy­ees want to please, but they need to know what they need to do.

Recog­nise and re­ward good work. Mon­e­tary bonuses are nice, but recog­ni­tion of a job well done cre­ates good will and loy­alty. Note: make recog­ni­tion spe­cific. “Good job” is ac­cept­able, but “Good job on the Nel­son pro­ject” is bet­ter.


Jane Ken­nelly says that hav­ing spo­ken to thou­sands of ca­reer seek­ers, the one thing uni­ver­sally in com­mon is the de­sire to work in an or­gan­i­sa­tion that has a pos­i­tive cul­ture and is a place peo­ple are proud to be work­ing for.

And this is not just the do­main of big-name com­pa­nies. Many New Zealand SMEs are win­ning the cul­ture race be­cause they act with heart, and their pur­pose is clear (see "Shift­ing the Titanic, next page).


Top can­di­dates may well re­ceive more than one job of­fer, so make sure yours is the most at­trac­tive. This means be­ing tuned into a po­ten­tial em­ployee’s job ac­cep­tance cri­te­ria, and be­ing adept at ar­tic­u­lat­ing a com­pelling job of­fer.

Use em­ployee ben­e­fits as a way of bol­ster­ing your of­fer­ing, par­tic­u­larly if you are com­pet­ing with other com­pa­nies. Ben­e­fits (not to be con­fused with in­cen­tives, which are dif­fer­ent and mostly per­for­mance-based) are a pow­er­ful way to en­cour­age new peo­ple to join your busi­ness. So flaunt your com­pany pen­sion scheme, pri­vate health in­sur­ance or child­care vouch­ers.

Start by iden­ti­fy­ing the “must have” roles in your com­pany where there are sig­nif­i­cant skills short­ages, and then gear your hir­ing process so it can be­gin im­me­di­ately if the right per­son comes onto the mar­ket.

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