Recruitment and job-hunting: two takes on the labour market

FINDING the right person to fill a vacant job has never been harder in Australia's tight resources sector and candidates can ride the current jobs boom to success, provided they know what they want and why they want it, according to specialist recruiters.

Constructive Recruitment director Giles Keay shares his tips on how to employers can find and retain staff.

"At the moment it's a candidate's market as there is a serious skills and people shortage,” Keay said.

"We spend our time finding good people by doing a lot of networking, word of mouth and using contacts to find suitable candidates."

Keay said the industry as a whole must continue to be enterprising to attract and retain workers from all walks of life and professions, such as school leavers, women and indigenous candidates.

And once the right candidate is found, Keay said staff retention is just as important as the recruitment process.

He said that while salary was important candidates are also looking for future potential and cultural fit, with ongoing training and role changing opportunities a priority for many workers.

Keay's top 10 tips for staff retention

  • Provide a flexible, supportive working environment and culture;
  • Provide structured training, ongoing career development and feedback implemented on a regular basis;
  • Offer greater work-life initiatives, including flexible working hours, holidays and reward days;
  • Continue to educate employees - good performance management systems will lead to a professional development plan for each employee;
  • Keep staff informed of change and vision within the business. Silence can be the greatest enemy if staff are not regularly updated;
  • Expectations - staff need to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them;
  • Offer market leading salaries and performance-based rewards, including ongoing bonuses and attractive company incentives;
  • Effectively managing staff is a key issue for business owners - in particular, managing generation Y expectations and wants;
  • Understand staff needs - likewise staff should understand the company's visions, values and assets; and
  • Listen to and empathise with staff on a regular basis to ensure a smooth working environment.
  • Looking at the job market from the other side of the fence, Hays Resources & Mining Regional Director Ben Hiles says job candidates can take big steps forward in their careers nowadays if they play their cards right.

    “In the current job market, candidates should be able to advance their career and gain a meaningful and satisfying position related to their skills and experience,” Hiles said.

    Yet far too often recruiters hear candidates say they are unhappy in their current role.

    “When asked about the reasons, they admit to accepting an offer because the salary was higher than another vacancy or because they wanted to move from a previous position quickly and didn’t take the time to research the range of opportunities available.” Hiles said.

    “Others say they are finding their search unproductive or frustrating, but then admit they have been haphazardly applying for vacancies because they really don’t know what they are looking for. These candidates often say: ‘I’m looking for anything’.”

    With such indecisiveness, it’s no wonder good people end up in the wrong organisations or positions, according to Hiles.

    “If you are being told you are overqualified or don’t have enough experience for the roles you are applying for, you are probably applying for the wrong jobs,” he said.

    “The best way to ride a jobs boom is to ensure that you take advantage of the number of jobs available to develop your career in the direction you ultimately wish to pursue.”

    The current market presents job seekers with an ideal opportunity to determine exactly what they want to achieve in their career, and then to pursue an opportunity that will allow them to ultimately achieve it, according to Hays Resources & Mining.

    “This requires clarity on the part of the job seeker to know exactly what they want, and a clear plan of action to search for the role that will advance their career in the desired direction,” Hiles said.

    According to Hays Resources & Mining job candidates should determine where they want to be in 5 and 10 years time, and then seek out the roles that will enable them to work towards their goals.

    “Given the current positive labour market, there has never been a better time to map your career and take advantage of the high level of vacancy activity to get to where you ultimately want to be,” Hiles said.

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