Attracting Quality Candidates

By Rose McVeagh


With the latest unemployment rate at 4.8% (July 2017, Statistics New Zealand), this means the labour market is tight. What can businesses do to attract quality candidates in this environment?

Recruitment Basics

Employers know the recruitment basics, but these become even more important in a tight market, so our advice is:

  • Make sure your job ad is on point. Does it stand out from the rest? Is the language and wording aimed at your ideal candidate? Are you in the correct online recruitment category and salary bracket? Are you showing candidates the benefits of working for you?
  • Put effort into your candidate care. You must treat candidates well from the start. Poor candidate management means losing good applicants. Your hiring manager must return phone calls, respond to emails and in general, provide top notch ‘customer service’ to all candidates. They are interviewing your workplace right from the start, just as much as you are assessing them.
  • Assess all applicants based on experience and skills. Put your biases aside and assess each application fairly. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like someone’s name, font, age, hobbies – you only need to ask could this person do the job? Shortlist purely based on work history, qualifications and abilities. Don’t be scared to throw a ‘wild card’ in the mix.
  • Polish your interview process. Plan and prepare for interviews and make sure you will be able to assess each candidate adequately for the role. Make sure your questions are behavioural-based so that you can work out how a person will respond in a given scenario. Consider holding a second interview, taking your candidates on a site tour (with more informal chat), a presentation (for higher level roles) and a hands-on practical task (to assess work performance).
  • Reference check thoroughly. In short, you want to know the worst thing about the person you are about to hire.
  • 90-day clause. Just in case you got it wrong, make sure you have the 90-day option locked down. Do not make a verbal offer, put a preliminary offer in writing and make sure your new hire signs their employment agreement before they start work. The employment agreement must have an up-to-date 90-day clause to be of any use.

Next Level Recruitment

If you’ve got the basics right and you’re still struggling to fill positions, then some ‘outside the box’ thinking might assist. Have you considered:

  • Internal promotion – who could you grow into this role with the right support and training?
  • Social media – advertising on linked in and through online ‘word of mouth’.
  • Referral recruitment – asking employees to refer potential applicants (with or without a bonus for a successful hire).
  • Networking – ask everyone you know! Whoever you come across, let them know you’re hiring. Suppliers are often useful for linking candidates with hiring Employers.

Get in touch with one of the team if you’d like assistance with your recruitment. We can help with the whole process or just parts of the recruitment. Likewise, if you have questions about beginning a 90-day process, we can assist you to get it right.

Written by Rose McVeagh, of Russell Drake Consulting Ltd., Specialist Employment Relations Consultants who act exclusively for Employers - see or phone (07) 838 0018.


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