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Let’s talk: Recruitment



Featured | Let's Talk

By Loren Webb

Hiring the wrong person, at any stage of business, can be extremely detrimental and costly in a number of ways that aren’t only financial.

Of course there are the associated costs with spending time replacing that person, and the on-boarding and re-training of the newbie… and the more times you have to do this to find the right person for the team the more the financials build up. However, this is not the only cost.

There is a cost of negative working relationships, subsequent decreased productivity and team engagement, less innovation and inclusion, an overall frustration in the workplace that can quickly spread across the culture…

It’s not always possible to know after a few rounds of interviews if that candidate is the perfect person for the role, but at Dynamic Business we are sure that our business leaders can help you make a few less mistakes by outlining their strategies towards making great hires.

Today we ask, “What are the essential need to knows for hiring the best people?”


Daniel Ko, Acting Head of HR, InfoTrack

In August, InfoTrack was named Deloitte’s Best Managed Company for 2019. This prestigious award highlights how important our culture and our people are to InfoTrack’s success. InfoTrack maintains an open and transparent office environment and hands on governance. Teams are responsible for making decisions, allowing senior leaders to focus on overall company strategy. It is this that helped us win the Australian Business Award for Employer of Choice 2019.

When hiring the best people; intelligence, dedication, determination, passion and energy are key factors that any potential InfoTrack candidate must have. To ensure we get the best people, we focus on having a seven-day turnaround from first meeting to offer. This fast pace ensures that we scoop up high calibre candidates before our competitors.

Our people are our most precious asset, so we ensure to select high performers who put effort over obligation every single day.

Bruce Perry, COO, Wontok 

To hire the right people, you need to ask the right questions. This means knowing what to ask. When hiring very technically specific roles, such as a CTO, you may need outside help to assess someone’s skills and qualifications.

Behavioural-based interviewing goes beyond asking what candidates did in a job to how and why they did it. It’s also a great way to assess soft skills and cultural fit, as well as potential.

Never underestimate the value of potential. Someone with a desire and ability to learn can rapidly become as valuable as a candidate who started out with certain skills and knowledge.

Sometimes the right person isn’t the “best” person, in terms of the highest qualifications or the most extensive experience. What you’re looking for is someone who is passionate about what they do, and what you do, and wants to grow with you.

Tracy Coté, Chief People Office, Genesys

Research suggests organisations with the greatest gender and ethnic diversity deliver better business results. To ensure you’re making room for different voices, ideas and perspectives, evaluate your hiring practices. For example, make sure you aren’t inadvertently introducing bias with by using ‘he’ as the only pronoun in job descriptions and ensure interview teams are comprised of varying titles, genders and backgrounds.

In addition, examine your culture. Is there a clear vision, strategy and a point of view? People want to know about the company they will be working for, what it stands for, where it’s going, and they expect the same from individual leaders. We do this by fostering a culture that welcomes talent from all walks of life and promoting it throughout the candidate and employee journey. At Genesys, we know the bigger picture includes hiring the best people for the role and building the best teams.

Elliot Hayes, cofounder and Director, Smart Energy

Experiencing such a high growth rate has meant that we have had to hire quickly and strategically to stay cashflow positive. We have learnt a lot in the process:

  1. Close skills gaps: Once we have identified the skills our employees (and potential employees) need to carry out the project, we have a better understanding of how and why they might be suitable for a role.
  2. Enable employees to own their careers:We make a genuine effort to equip our employees with the knowledge and tools to do their jobs, and make a conscious effort to ensure they are empowered to make their own decisions. Allowing employees to own their careers also allows senior management to be freed up to focus on strategy and driving the company forward.
  3. Maximise existing employees:We’ve found that many of our employees are looking at how they can grow their skillset and add value to the company. Identifying these employees, finding out what inspires them, and working with them to up-skill has allowed us to develop our employees to close skills gaps, keeping them engaged and enabling further company growth.
  4. Build a company culture:We’re a close-knit team that works hard whilst having a lot of fun in the process. It’s down to this that we receive so many referrals from existing employees for roles we need filled.

Mike Featherstone, Managing Director, ANZ/APAC, Pluralsight

The biggest common mistake I see when organisations are recruiting and building out their teams is a focus on A-players or individuals who are already considered high performers. This is especially true for technology teams, where demand and competition for talent is at an all-time high. High caliber candidates are good, but employers should also prioritise a candidate’s strong willingness to learn and desire for ongoing tech skill development. Considering how quickly technology is changing and the need to be constantly learning to keep pace, businesses can’t simply rely on finding a candidate with the right skills of the moment. They need to prioritise candidates who recognise the need for constant skill development and are determined to improve in their role to remain up to date with the constantly changing nature of technology. The lifelong learner is the ideal candidate for any technology team and should be the priority of any businesses in our technology-driven world.

Vu Tran, GO1.com co-founder

Whether hiring internally or externally, it’s critical to support new hires so they can excel in their new roles. The last thing you want, after going through an often long and expensive hiring process, is for that person to struggle and fail.

Online training is a key way to efficient onboarding, and further developing someone’s skills. As well as enabling a new hire to work through learning at their own pace, it allows managers to easily monitor the results. They can also use it to identify other outstanding employees, who may be ideal for promotion to future positions that open up.

A really important way to look at hiring is to consider the lifecycle of individuals and their career paths. Employees rarely expect to stay in the same job for life these days, and they will likely only travel part of their career journey with their company. Providing ongoing training can be a strong incentive in a tight talent market.

Melinda Sheppard, COO, Pureprofile

Accessing talent is a continual top challenge for all startups, but particularly tech startups which need very specific skills.

The evolving workforce, with its surge in part-time, casual and freelance workers, presents an opportunity for startups to tap talent on demand – vital for rapid scaling. Hiring remote workers can be a key way to access rare skills.

The best people might not want to work for you on a full-time basis. They may be parents wanting to return part-time to the workforce, or simply no longer interested in a five-day week: the movement for a four-day week is growing. Consider whether a job share might be an advantage for your company – you get the benefits of two different people’s skills for the same role.

Monica Watt, Chief Human Resources Officer, ELMO Software

Ultimately, it’s about finding quality talent who are the right long-term fit for your company. Our recent research found it takes Australian companies 39.2 days on average to fill a vacant role, with an associated cost of $18,982. While alarming, this highlights the broader talent gap issues being felt across ANZ – almost half (46%) of Australian HR professionals believe there is a skills shortage within their industry. But with recruitment being such a pain-point, it is surprising that 40% of HR practitioners are not using tools to improve this process.

Technology has an integral role to play in alleviating inefficient, manual processes. Having one platform as a single point of truth has helped me, and can effectively support HR professionals to grow their business and retain top talent. It’s important to remember that finding the right people takes time and high employee churn can be far more damaging to a business overall.

Melissa Hyland, HR Manager, ipSCAPE

Hiring people can be a difficult process but the key is identifying the right qualities in a candidate that can be transferred to the specific role. At ipSCAPE, we consider individuals with experience that possess a positive attitude and an eagerness to learn as quality candidates. You can train for knowledge and coach for skill but attitude you cannot change so we hire for attitude.

Nicole Gorton, APAC Director, Robert Half

A wrong hire for a small business can jeopardise its future. If one employee fails to fit in or complete a task they are assigned to, there is much more at stake, as there’s typically less managerial support available.

Across the board, recruiters need to first closely examine the details of the job applicant’s resume and cover letter – check what job titles and responsibilities the candidate has previously held and the career path they’ve taken. Gaps here aren’t immediately a red flag, but they may warrant further clarification. The interview stage is a critical moment for identifying the right candidate, and it’s essential for the interviewer to ask a variety of standard, behavioural and off-the-wall questions. If you’ve prepared a list, don’t be afraid to go off script. Otherwise, you risk missing out on important information.

Finally, don’t rush the reference checks. Sometimes it’s difficult to trust your gut, and this is your chance to gauge a third party view on the candidate. These are best conducted verbally and you should never be afraid of asking tough questions.

Jane Bianchini, founder & CEO, Alcami Interactive

Providing a digital video interviewing recruitment platform, we’re in a privileged position to see what’s historically been missed by CV based processes and what makes the difference to getting hires right.Interpersonal skills have come to the fore in modern recruitment and cultural fit has become the focus – hire for the team and train for the role (if needed). Whereas CV based processes gave recruiters one shot at assessing interpersonal skills, these can now be reviewed in far greater detail, ensuring the level of talent expected from increasingly demanding consumers.

With the lines continuing to blur across omnichannel touch points, a candidates affinity and comfort with the technology is an early indicator of suitability for a lot of roles. It’s also essential to maintain a diverse mix of backgrounds and viewpoints to inform your best work, recruiting digitally can minimise biases to ensure this happens.

Arun Maharaj, CEO of HashChing 

When it comes to hiring the best people, it’s critical that you have a clear understanding of the traits you’re looking for and what the job description entails. When I speak with candidates, I’m typically looking for an eagerness to learn, the ability to work well in a team, and ideally some experience working within a small business. While certain skills are important too, these can often be taught. Look for someone with the right attitude and motivation, and the skills you’re after will follow.

With the modern workforce and technology rapidly evolving, you need to be able to identify candidates who are proficient in thinking critically and are open to trying new things by stepping outside their comfort zone. Employees must be resilient and able to adapt to change.

Rudy Crous, CEO and co-founder, Shortlyster

The best people are not necessarily the candidates with the most brilliant minds, but those who can contribute to the team and organisation in a way that goes beyond just hard skills. To identify these people, you need to screen for work behaviours, motivations and attitudes. The best people for the job will share the same values as the organisation and want to see not just themselves thrive in the position, but are committed to seeing the team and organisation thrive overall. By looking at these psychological traits through either psychometric assessments or interviews, you can find a good culture fit and someone who will be more engaged and have greater loyalty to you and your organisation. These employees leave a positive, lasting impact.

Chloe Sesta Jacobs, Head of People and Culture, Deputy

Hiring and retaining truly great talent in today’s competitive market is a tough challenge. The employment landscape has shifted dramatically over the past decade. Looking at the broader market and resources like ABS’ quarterly labour force statistics, it’s evident that full-time work is decreasing, while part-time work is on the rise.

When considering hiring and retaining, it’s now more important than ever to ensure staff feel empowered to choose the best way of working for them. Thanks to the influx of technology, the world has naturally become more connected which has made working remotely and part-time work a viable option to many. Employers need to move with this evolution, not against it.

Ultimately, recruitment isn’t simply about ticking boxes. It’s a continual learning process and being aligned with what’s happening at a national and global level is key. Regularly reviewing policies and company standards in line with this evolution is crucial in ensuring the continual growth and development of not only the business but its employees too.

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