Recruiting construction staff in Sydney is particularly challenging at the moment. The NSW construction recruitment market is competitive with recruiters courting talent with alluring job propositions.
Yet still, all-too-often the recruitment process falls-down, due to preventable circumstances.
It’s a common story …….
A business has a vacancy, they start a recruitment process and interview a jobseeker.
The business likes the job-seeker, and the job-seeker likes the business.
It’s a match!
Then the process falls over for any number of reasons, the job-seeker pulls out, and worst still, end up working for your competition.
The vacancy is still a vacancy and it’s back to the drawing board with more compressed time frames.
5 Tips For Recruitment Success
In a competitive market there are things you can do to ensure the process moves quickly and efficiently, whilst being confident you have made the right recruitment decision.
If you plan effectively, you can make assertive decisions, present a compelling job offer and if even earn their patience to stop them meeting all your competitors, whilst you navigate other distractions or roadblocks.
1. Plan for success
Effective planning always reduces risk (but you know that) so here’s how to plan effectively for a recruitment process.
a) Clearly define the role you are looking to fill, skills that will support your team’s ongoing success and personal attributes that will fit into your culture.
One of the reasons that hiring processes can be protracted is the lack of definition of what you are looking for.
This is an important process to ensure you can conduct effective interviews to assess candidates and know when you meet the right one. The fundamental aspects of a vacancy are always clear, but go into the detail.
You can interview people that have the capabilities to do a job, but procrastinate as you remain unsure whether they are the right fit.
Look at the challenges of the role or project, existing skills in the team to see how these can be complemented and the personalities that succeed under your management and in your business.
Look at your short-term, and long-term goals for the role / person / business.
Conversely, detail what does not work within your business and skill-gaps that would support failure in the role, rather than success.
As with everything in life there will always be compromise, but if you define the detail of what you want, you can make more assertive decisions.
A good recruitment partner will help you define these aspects of a role and prepare a detailed position and person description.
Use this information to structure your interview questions.
b) Clearly define the selling points of your business and the job.
To attract talent and get them excited about the role, you need to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Working with a recruiter can help define these as they can view your business objectively, benchmarked with the competition, rather than from a subjective standpoint.
If you are in a leadership role (hopefully) you will be a big fan of the business you are representing, but why should someone work for you rather than your competition?
I still see lots of job adverts that are still just focused on telling the candidate what they need to bring to the table, rather than selling the dream and telling the candidate what they will get in return for their hard work.
When a Project Manager could walk into 20 different companies and get a job offer, you are competing with your competitors for the same talent, it’s important to market your business.
Chat to your key / loyal staff and ask them why they enjoy working for your business, you might be surprised at some of the things you learn about your culture.
c) Define and plan the hiring and decision-making process.
What needs to happen for you to offer a candidate, if you meet the right one?
Do you need authority and sign-off?
Will other stakeholders be involved?
Does your manager need to meet with them?
Do you need to secure signature on a project you are tendering for?
Plan for these, speak to stakeholders to understand their availability for their part in the process and stress any urgency.
Speak to HR to understand their timescales for sending out contracts or ensure you have the necessary paperwork ready.
We can’t control other people’s time and agendas, but we can influence these, and if you know that HR take a week to issue formal contracts, or you won’t know about the award of your next construction project for two weeks, you can forewarn a candidate and manage expectations.
2. Dedicate time to the process.
All too often in a recruitment process “business as usual” takes priority and finding the time to review CVs and interview candidates is hard.
If you are recruiting, you need to dedicate time to do this and treat the process as a matter of urgency.
a) If you work with a good recruiter, they should have interviewed all submitted candidates face-to-face, got them excited about your business, taken references and sent candidates you want to interview.
This means you should need minimal time from your day to meet with candidates, make sure you prioritise meeting people before they get snatched by the competition.
b) If you are advertising directly, schedule time into review responses as a matter of urgency – if someone has applied to your job on Seek, you can pretty much guarantee they have applied for other jobs.
You should ideally confirm interview times within 24 hours of receiving a CV from a recruiter to promote your interest in a candidate.
Candidates want to be desired and this action alone starts to grow the relationship with you and your business.
3. Sell your business to the candidate.
If you are working with a recruitment partner, they will be selling your business on your behalf.
a) Keep re-enforcing all the good things about working for your business that you defined at the start of the process.
Remember, everyone is unique and has different goals and it’s important to understand these.
There is no point in selling the fact your staff get career opportunities interstate if the candidate is settled with family locally, and is more interested in the local career opportunities.
A recruiter will be mapping your USPs’ (Unique Selling Points) to the candidate’s goals throughout conversations and you need to reinforce these.
b) Another really useful strategy is getting the candidate to meet with one of your team members, pick someone that’s engaging and successful that can champion your business. This also has the benefit of getting a second opinion on the candidate from a trusted team member.
If you get the candidate hooked on your business from the first conversation, it’s easier to close the deal and prevent them talking to your competitors.
4. Be assertive in your decision making.
Often the process falls over after the first meeting.
This can be due to procrastination, wanting to see more candidates as a benchmark, getting management sign off to hire, coordinating a second meeting with other business stakeholders or just getting tied up with business operations.
If you have clearly defined the role, understand what you are looking for in a candidate to join your business, this makes the decision making process clearer.
If you have planned the recruitment process and engaged other business stakeholders, it should be easier to cut through the red tape quickly.
Don’t procrastinate if you meet the right candidate, move forward with a verbal offer quickly.
Don’t keep looking on the market to see if there is someone better – this works in a downturn, but as soon as a candidate thinks they are second best, you are at risk of losing them.
5. Engage with your new employee through their notice period.
Another important aspect to securing your new employee is keeping-in-touch between offer-acceptance and their start-date. This is typically a four-week period and it’s important to reassert the relationship through this period.
If you have used a recruiter, they will do this on your behalf, otherwise, ensure that you contact them in this period to make them feel welcome and part of your business.
This reduces any risk of successful counteroffer by their current employer or a recruiter coming up with a dream job opportunity.
If you have any social events happening during this time, invite them along – even to Friday afternoon beers. This has the added benefit of making first days less awkward and new faces more familiar.
They may not have started work, but they are now part of your team, remind them of this.
And finally, the induction period…
This is AS important as the recruitment process. When someone leaves, or is asked to leave in the probation period, its regularly a consequence of a poor induction process.
Everyone is super-busy and often on day one, a new hire is presented with computer log-in, handed tasks and left to get on with the job.
The first few weeks are crucial to set the tone of the employer-employee relationship and a good induction is essential to retaining your new recruit and supporting their ability to transition to your business and perform effectively.
Ensure there is a formal induction process within the team setting (aside to any corporate business process); and they receive the support they need to succeed in their role.
Ensure they have an “open-door” to a leader or mentor, if they have any questions or need support. Most teething problems can be resolved easily.
For further ideas on recruitment and retention strategies, please get in touch on 02 9460 6537.