The battle for talent is heating up, and employees need to step up their game. It’s no longer as simple as posting a job and expecting to have a high-quality applicant pool.
In today’s episode, we’ll discuss how you can create an awesome candidate experience, essential attraction strategies and the best places to advertise your available roles. We’ll also talk about how you can create an attractive offer, tips on negotiating compensation and why onboarding and offboarding is important for employee retention.
Our guest, Paul Dinh, is the Head of Sales at CareerOne – the leading digital employment brand offering a unique job hunting experience and innovative corporate solutions for candidate sourcing, talent management and employee branding.
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YouTube Channel: HR Think Tank
00:00:00 – Intro
00:01:02 – Changes in Recruitment Trends
00:02:32 – Creating a Great Candidate Experience
00:05:16 – Recruitment Agencies VS In-House Recruitment
00:06:22 – Strategies to Attract Quality Applicants
00:08:29 – Tips for Posting Job Advertisements
00:09:51 – Disclosure in Job Ads
00:11:00 – Alternative Advertising Mediums
00:12:33 – CareerOne’s Position in the Market
00:14:07 – The Future of CareerOne
00:15:24 – Are Cover Letters Still Relevant?
00:17:43 – Identifying an Outstanding Candidate
00:18:43 – Managing a Candidate Transitioning into Your Industry
00:20:06 – Key Components for Creating a Attractive Job Offer
00:21:20 – Negotiation Strategies
00:22:45 – The Importance of Onboarding
00:23:55 – Key Features of a Successful Onboarding Program
00:24:52 – The Role of Offboarding
00:26:49 – Fast Five Questions
00:29:30 – Outro
Well, I think we’re heading more into a digital age, and technology is taking over.
In my experience, when I did agency recruitment, I was in a more transactional game. I was doing labour-hire for a company that focused on construction and trades.
So it wasn’t about long tenure and finding the right people, but rather about finding people who were skilled enough and had the right qualifications and work experience.
A lot of that process was done over the telephone.
Nowadays, I’d say platforms like LinkedIn are the starting point for many businesses, whether it be recruitment or even sales, because it’s the most powerful professional social network. So technology has gotten to a point where people aren’t making phone calls anymore and rather trying to use things, like LinkedIn, to streamline the process.
According to some people, we’re in a market right that is supposedly talent poor or talent short – I have my own thoughts about that specific topic. But what I am noticing is that people are trying to find the right candidates (not necessarily just what’s on paper), and they’re trying to find ways to do that without making phone calls and doing all that screening.
They’re trying to establish how to make the hiring process more efficient from the get-go.
I would say it’s essential to have a fleshed-out HR process to make sure that it’s not just done on a whim and that you have processes in place for:
- how many interviews are necessary,
- how the interviews are going to be structured, and
- how they’re going to be communicated with.
The number one thing all candidates want is to feel comfortable and confident – they want to feel like they know what the next stage is, what’s going to happen next.
What we receive in terms of feedback is that candidates feel upset when they’ve had a great interview but can’t pinpoint why they were never contacted or just informed that they weren’t successful.
A lot of talent acquisition managers are guilty of this.
It’s just a lot of work, especially if there are hundreds of applicants – especially if there’s no automation in the process to reach out to 100 people. So you need to make sure that you’re representing your company in the best light because that is something that comes back to many companies.
And for many companies, that’s their primary concern. Some companies want to use CareerOne, for example, and one of the products that we offer doesn’t allow them to have access to all the candidates that apply unless there is a paywall that stops them from that. And they’ve said, “This isn’t a product that works for me purely because I can’t contact all the unsuccessful applicants unless I pay money for that.”
So, the employer brand or the company brand is a consideration of how that candidate experiences things.
One of the things I pride myself on is that I make sure that anyone who comes through the doors at CareerOne knows what they’re getting themselves into and that they’re as informed as possible. I try to be as transparent about that, including what every single next step is and that timelines are met.
Q: When it comes to recruitment, when should an organisation consider using a recruitment agency versus keeping their recruitment in-house and doing it themselves?
Well, if resources are unlimited, I’d say do both.
Engaging a recruitment agency doesn’t cost you anything off the bat. Very often, the fees are allocated once you’ve accepted the candidate. So, if resources and costs are not a factor, do both.
It’s also dependent on:
- how strong your internal recruitment processes,
- how many resources you have,
- how big the team is, and
- how fleshed out the processes are.
At CareerOne, for example, we have a lot of tools at our fingertips – many of my team members are ex-recruiters themselves, so we have a lot of expertise, and we have access to a lot of candidates. So, we don’t need to use recruiters per se, but I’m always open to that concept.
My first tip, before anything else, is to understand the industry you’re recruiting for.
Let’s use doctors and lawyers as an example. A generalist Australian national job board would not be your best channel for hiring doctors and lawyers – they’re just not going to a job board and applying for jobs. Not to say that they don’t exist – there will always be a pool for that.
You will get better results or better quality if you do research in your industry and find the right channels.
Those examples I use often have very niche organisations and groups on Facebook; for example – that would be a place recruiters source candidates from very successfully.
But in saying that, wherever possible, fish from as many pools as possible. If you want to maximise your reach and exposure of as much talent as possible, you want to go through as many channels as possible.
In my space, there is:
- Jora, and
It’s also a case of how many candidates you want to receive, how much time you have to whittle that down to how many placements you need to make.
Q: So let's talk about the job ads themselves. Can you give us some tips on positioning the role and also the organisation so that employees are in the best position to get that talent that they're after?
My number one tip is to always look at what the experts are doing. If you don’t know how to write a job description, do some research, look at what other people are doing when they write up a job advert, and then take away the good parts you like.
I would also say to make it as easy for a candidate to understand as possible. If you make it too wordy, if the formatting is poor and it’s very hard for a person to make sense of what they’re looking at, then you’re going to have that problem with quality and with people just applying because they’re uncertain about what they’re reading and what they’re applying for at the end of the day.
That’s one of the core strengths of CareerOne.
We’ve moved away from that text-based job description, and we’re trying to use technology to improve the process for everybody. To streamline the process, we’re actually making it more visual, as opposed to reading texts.
With image-based adverts that are properly formatted, the information is much more digestible – so a person can make a snap decision on if this job is a good fit.
You should be posting as much transparency as possible.
Because I’ve been a recruiter, I understand why a client wouldn’t want to disclose the salary. But as a person hiring for CareerOne, I’m very transparent about:
- what is an offer,
- what the salary ranges are for every job title I have,
- what the potential commission earnings are, and
- what the linear ladder is for promotion.
Wherever possible, transparency makes the process a lot smoother.
Q: Can you talk to us about some alternative mediums that employers can use to advertise these roles?
Social media platforms, industry-specific niche job boards and location-specific job boards are ways for job hunters to find roles.
Interestingly, some rural areas still very much use the classifieds model. There are definitely plenty of newspapers and news outlets out there that are still the primary source for people to find their next role. But as technology reaches those areas and the players move into those spaces, they will end up moving to the digital age too.
Outside of social media platforms, you’ll have professional social networks such as LinkedIn – it does, however, depend on the roles you’re advertising for. And like I mentioned earlier, research these things. Look into what other people are doing in that space and put yourself in the job hunter’s shoes and understand what those people do:
- What are doctors doing?
- What are lawyers doing?
- What are CEOs doing when they’re looking for that next role?
Q: I want to ask you about the landscape that CareerOne operates in. It's a highly competitive landscape. How do you see it at the moment, and where do you see it going?
If I’m being very honest, the job advertising industry in Australia is like no other country in the world.
I’ll take America as an example – it’s very segmented, and the number one player differs from state to state in America. Whereas in Australia, Seek is the incumbent in our market, they have the audience share, and all the other players have their shortcomings, CareerOne included.
But that is the landscape today, and many advertisers are crying for change to shift this monopoly and have more options available.
And that’s what CareerOne is trying to do.
I don’t want to plug us too much, but we have built a completely different experience to the typical job board. We believe that we have the best in class job hunting experience. We’ve empowered our job hunters and candidates with tools, technology, and information presented in a much more digestible format.
That’s what I encourage people to take a look at. If they want to spur this change in our market and encourage change and competition, you need to be fishing for multiple pools. You do need to support and back all of these additional channels. It’s the only way that our talent pools can reach maximum efficiency.
We launched the new platform, the new job hunting experience, in October of 2019. We expose this to the job hunters and the candidates of Australia in 2020.
We had received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the new experience and that it was helping and empowering job hunters. And we’re having more conversations than ever before with existing and potential clients.
So for us, our journey right now is to really get the word out there about that job hunting experience.
For corporates, I’d say it’s still a relevant feature and something that is reviewed.
But many recruiters overlook cover letters because their objective is to show you candidates that are tried and tested have done the job before and don’t need a cover letter. Whereas in a corporate environment, cover letters allow a candidate to explain themselves.
So, I usually see a cover letter as a place where a person can explain the intangible things they can’t put on their resume because it’s experience, skills and KPIs.
But it depends on the company. I always encourage everyone to tailor their cover letter and their resume to the roles they’re applying to.
Q: What do you see as the role of skills assessment, psychometric assessments, and background checks? How does that help an employer identify an outstanding candidate?
All of those different tests and analyses will give scope.
However, how they’re used and interpreted depends on the individual in the hiring position. You can get all the tests in the world, but it’s up to you to define how you will apply that.
The tests are super valuable, and I would strongly encourage job hunters, wherever possible, to get as much information as they can. But if you don’t use all of those tools and information effectively, then it’s worthless.
Q: What tips can you give employers on managing the risks from a candidate who is transitioning careers into your industry?
You can do some skills assessments to see what kind of soft and hard skills they hold and how they translate into what you’re doing.
More often than not, psychometric testing helps define what kind of employee a person will be, which is important when you’re identifying what types of employees you need for the different types of roles.
Employment history will always be a tried and true methodology because that person has done that job before. But in terms of finding the best talent out there, you’re always going to be better off if you consider finding talent that people wouldn’t normally find.
There is a lot of technology out there and many companies that offer services to help you find the best talent.
I have salary ranges based on what I think a person is capable of currently, how many years of experience they have, and what their current targets and metrics are. This will give me a guide of what I feel I can offer a person.
So, let’s say there is a salary range, and I’m offering a person something more towards the lower end of that, it is purely because I’m saying to them, “Look, I think you’re a great candidate, that there is potential, there is value to be had here, but you are missing skills, or you haven’t proven that you can do X, Y, Z. Now I’m not saying this is going to be your salary forever, but let’s set some clear expectations of what you need to achieve to be able to improve that salary, and we’ll review it in however long.”
By clearly laying those lines down, everyone is on the same page, and no one feels like they’re being ripped off.
It highlights a company’s professionality if they have a structured onboarding process instead of just haphazardly putting someone into a role.
So, I would say every company needs to put some effort into their onboarding strategy and make sure that all the T’s are crossed, and I’s are dotted. I’ve seen many companies, especially small businesses, find great quality talent who ends up becoming very disillusioned very quickly, purely because the company just wasn’t organised enough.
There are plenty of resources out there for onboarding strategies and processes – we live in this age where information is at your fingertips.
I’d say a clear definition of the training guide and what is expected of that candidate.
At CareerOne, for example, we have a sales training manual that encompasses what the first four weeks at CareerOne will be like, what the expectations are and what our methodologies are.
This gives the candidate comfort in knowing exactly what it’s going to happen and what to expect.
I encourage everyone to have some kind of training manual to ensure that your new employee leaves the first day in their new position feeling like they’ve made the right decision and joined a good company.
Offboarding should help close those holes as to why people are leaving your business. And you should always be aware that you’re not going to be able to retain 100% of your staff. People will leave for several reasons. But an effective offboarding process will help close the gap of why they left.
It also ensures that they leave on a good note and that they leave feeling like you’ve given them a proper sendoff. Those exit interviews can often be a little bit awkward for a lot of companies because their process just isn’t strong.
Offboarding should be an exercise in establishing whether there’s anything you can do as a company to stop this from happening in future:
- Was it us as a company?
- Was it them as an individual?
- What were the reasons for them moving on?
A person who leaves on a good note will refer other quality candidates to your company. And if the stars align and the opportunity arises, there’s every chance they’ll come back if they’ve left on a good note.
- What was your first job? My first job was as a paperboy for my local area. I delivered that for about a year and made a lot of lifelong friends. Shout out to Pete and Norleen if you guys are still around.
- What’s something interesting that is not on your CV? Am I allowed to say that I’ve known you for a very long time and that we used to breakdance together many, many moons ago?
- What advice would you give your eighteen-year-old self? Speak up when you know you’re right. I think growing up in a culture where I was always taught to respect my elders… Don’t get me wrong, respect is a great thing, but there were times where I knew I had a better solution; I knew I was right, and speaking up would have bettered the process and the outcomes for everybody. But I chose to keep my mouth silent, and it took me a while to gain the confidence in knowing that, “Hey, I’ve got good ideas, I’ve got good solutions, and I should speak up about it.”
- What book is a must-read? I’m going to suggest the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green. It’s literally a book that has 48 different laws. And while a lot of them do contradict each other, they’re very interesting if you don’t know what you’re doing to try and achieve certain outcomes. This might give you some historical evidence of certain things people have done throughout history and how they’ve succeeded.
- What’s a job for the future that doesn’t exist today? Definitely think of something technology-related. I’m going to talk about something to do with 3D printing, like 3D printing a sous-chef. I know that they are making 3D printed foods to some degree, and I think it’s still very basic at this point. I think they made a steak recently. But I think it’s going to get a lot fancier, so that might be something that… I see that being something that will exist.