Talent acquisition professionals and recruiters alike are struggling to source and place the best talent during the continuous upheaval of the COVID-19 crisis.
As a result, they live and breathe recruitment each day, whether that’s for sales, executive or technical roles across the globe.
To understand how they approach recruiting during the COVID-19 crisis, we recently chatted to them about the challenges they face, how they find the best talent and their top tips for recruiters and talent acquisition professionals.
What are the key recruitment challenges you’ve seen in your respective focus areas?
Chanelle: Australia relies heavily on skilled migration to meet the demands of our growing economy. Prior to the pandemic, Australia welcomed more than 100,000 skilled migrants under the skilled migration program each year. Since our borders closed 18 months ago due to COVID-19, we have seen no skilled migration. Businesses now compete for resources available to them already in the country, creating higher demand for technical skills and driving up salaries.
We have also seen hesitancy in candidates changing roles due to the ongoing uncertainty in the market, particularly across our product roles. Put simply, there’s huge demand and a dwindling supply. There needs to be a really compelling reason for someone to leave their position and join your team. In my 10 years of recruiting in Sydney, the candidate has never had more choice than they do today!
Victoria: The whole world is now about automation, so the tech space is a very interesting, fast-paced and extremely competitive industry to work in. We’re currently in a very candidate-driven market; the demand for high calibre candidates is strong and those that are currently looking to move have a lot of choices. Salary packages now include equity and ESPs (Employee Share Plan) along with short and long term incentives. As Chanelle mentioned, we now have a smaller candidate pool to work with due to the borders closing so that adds another challenging dimension.
Kate: As we’re heading out of the pandemic here in the UK, we are in a very candidate-driven market. Everyone is looking for top salespeople to regrow businesses. Candidates that have previously been hesitant to move are now considering a new position, however, they are aware that they are in the driving seat and most good candidates are involved in several processes. We need to act quickly to ensure we don’t miss out on great people.
How do you address these challenges and ensure that JobAdder has the best talent?
Chanelle: There’s no silver bullet to combat these challenges, so businesses have to get creative in more ways than one. At Jobadder, we have a flexible approach to work and we were that way prior to the pandemic.
We are about output and what you can deliver, over how many hours you work or where you work. We have benefited from talent coming to the market due to their organisation reverting back to their pre-COVID-19 inflexible working ways. You could be on a beach on the other side of the world writing code, or designing new product features from a ski lodge in Thredbo. We don’t restrict our searches to Sydney and we tap into amazing talent countrywide.
We have seen the most demand for senior-level individual contributors, and semi-skilled talent sometimes gets overlooked. In a way, Jobadder has taken advantage of this oversight and hired some incredible emerging talent that has gone from strength to strength since they started.
Here at JobAdder, you have access to and work closely with some of the most gifted leaders you will ever meet. We invest in upskilling through learning and development and career planning and support our employees in exploring opportunities across our business. This allows us to attract talent but also keep retention rates high.
We’ve also adapted our recruitment processes to keep up with how quickly the market is moving. We’re able to move candidates through our process within as little as a week to ensure we don’t lose talent to the competition, without compromising on hiring standards.
We have ambitious plans, and we won’t get there without our people or our customers. You’ll have a meaningful impact on our organisation and leave your own DNA by building products scalable for thousands of users around the globe. We are in a fortunate position to be hiring at scale. There’s never been a better time to join us.
Victoria: One silver lining of the pandemic is that it forced us (and all businesses globally) to look at how we can successfully manage and build a remote workforce. Whilst JobAdder has always offered flexibility to put family first, we’ve really pivoted and most of our roles which were previously HQ based can now be based anywhere in Australia geographically.
We pride ourselves on our culture and have spent a lot of time defining our core values. We’re extremely conscious about promoting those values throughout our remote workforce and integrating them into our recruitment process.
Not all candidates are driven by remuneration, flexible work arrangements, culture, learning and development, career progression (in a rapidly scaling company) and the opportunity to work with inspiring, motivated, innovative and down-right awesome people are also HUGE draw cards.
Kate: We play to our strengths. A lot of candidates are now also looking for a positive, inclusive culture with the option of flexible working. Although the financial side of the package is always important, people have reevaluated their lifestyles during the COVID-19 crisis. JobAdder offers a genuinely family-first culture and this is incredibly important these days. COVID-19 has changed the working landscape immensely. Gone are the days where people will accept being asked to do a two-hour commute into an office. JobAdder’s flexible and trusting approach to the team’s working day is so important, both for existing and new employees.
With the COVID-19 crisis continuing, what are your top tips for recruiting in the ANZ and UK markets, particularly for recruiters tackling remote recruitment?
Chanelle: You should consider what your organisation can do to support emerging talent if you’re finding it too competitive to secure skilled talent. We have seen how productive and successful remote working can be. Could you be looking further afield for talent? How can you adapt your recruitment processes to move quickly, while maintaining high hiring standards?
Victoria: There is a range of things you can consider, including:
- Flexibility around location and work hours
- Working with haste, clearly outlining the recruitment process and maintaining regular communication throughout
- Conducting a thorough qualification at initial contact – ensuring candidate’s motivations and needs align with ours
- Communication prior to start date
- A good onboarding process – recent statistics show that only 12% of employees would strongly agree that their organisation does a great job of onboarding new employees
Kate: We need to ensure a clear and concise process with lots of communication from start to finish, including onboarding. We need to make sure the experience is as positive as possible.
Although it’s important to avoid a lengthy interview process, when recruiting remotely it’s important to get potential new starters to meet different members of the team so they can get a true sense of the people and the company.
How do you effectively recruit for values and cultural fit in these conditions?
Chanelle: Jobadder is a values-led organisation and recruiting individuals who embody our values is absolutely essential if we are to maintain our ‘DNA’. When you talk to me, you’re talking to someone genuine. I like the candidate to drop their guard with me and to feel comfortable.
I also like to ask scenario-based questions they perhaps haven’t been asked before. This provokes an unrehearsed response. An example of this could be “You’re in a leadership meeting with the CEO and three of your colleagues. Your colleagues think one way on a matter, while you and the CEO think another. How do you respond to the difference in opinion?” In the response, I want to understand how the candidate bridges the gap, how they might influence their colleagues. Will they side with the CEO’s opinion because they’re the CEO, or do they get down on their colleagues level? Do they show humility and empathy?
Past performance is always a good indicator of future performance and I like competency-based questions for determining that. I also like to get to know the individual on a personal level as well. This continues throughout the entire recruitment process with every individual involved also looking for alignment on our values. Recruiting on values is where it starts but it doesn’t end there. It’s prudent for the organisation to really live them, not just have them written on their website.
Victoria: I like to ask competency questions that are centred around our company values, using scenario-based questions rather than examples of previous experiences. It’s also a good idea to conduct interviews via Zoom so you can read facial expressions and body language (as best as you can via video!).
You should also ensure that potential new employees meet with as many staff as possible (but as quickly and efficiently as possible) to ensure that they are given lots of information and exposure to the role, company and culture.
Kate: I like to discuss the company’s values, and see if the candidate has actually taken the time to find out what they are, as well as asking questions around them as a person. What are their motivators? What’s important to them in their next role and company?
I like to spend some of the first interview with a real open and easy chat about life, how things have been for them throughout the last (almost) two years and what has got them to the point where we are having this discussion. I genuinely believe that when people are comfortable you will be able to feel and understand who they are and what they’re looking for. Quite often they’ll speak about previous experiences both good and bad and that helps me to understand what their beliefs and motivators are. I like to find common ground with candidates, which builds trust and helps you to relate to each other.
If you would like to find out more about JobAdder, our values and how we’re growing, check out our Careers page.