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The art of finding good staff

the art of effective recruitment
By Nicole Weber

Finding skilled staff can be a real challenge, especially right now when the labour market is really tight (that means there’s more jobs than people looking for work). It can be tempting to just hire anyone who comes along. The downside of that approach is that it can do damage to your service quality and reputation if you don’t have the right people for the job.

So how can you set yourself up for success when it comes to standing out as a great employer and finding good people? Here’s some tips to set you on the right path:

Be clear about your mission and values so you know what you’re looking for and applicants know what you stand for. Different values also need different skills. For example, an organisation that values trust needs people who can build relationships and show empathy. An organisation that values innovation needs creative thinkers and problem solvers. Think about your values and the skills needed to bring them to life.

Make sure you’ve got a clear position description that spells out the skills needed in the job and what’s expected. That helps you to be clear on what you’re looking for and it tells applicants what they can expect to do in the job. It’s also a sign that you’re a professional organisation.

Ask the right interview questions. Think carefully about what you need to know. Often, I see people ask closed questions (these are the ones that can be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’). Ask ‘open’ questions and use scenarios that come up in the job to see how people might handle certain situations. Here’s a couple of examples:

Tell me what made you apply for the job?

Tell me about a time where you had to handle a complaint from a customer.

These questions can tell you a lot about what motivates the person and how they handle situations that they’ll come across in the job.

Ask open questions

Checking references is a really important step and it’s vital that you keep an open mind. I’ve been contacted to give a reference for someone who used to work in my team and the person has opened with ‘I interviewed (applicant) today and they were brilliant! I’m going to offer them the job, but I just have to get a reference from you first’. They’ve already made up their mind. Whatever I say is unlikely to influence their decision. Don’t fall into this trap.
Reference checks are an important part of the selection process. Ask open questions that relate specifically to the role. Here’s some ideas to get you started;

How did the person contribute to the team?

Did you give them feedback and how did they respond?

Would you employ them again?

Complete background checks

Most positions in human services (NDIS, aged care, housing, youth work and others) require people to have a Working With Vulnerable Persons check and criminal record check. Any role where a person is working with vulnerable people and finances, no matter what business, should have these checks. If the role also requires any formal qualifications, ask for original or certified copies of these before the person starts. There have been some well-publicised cases where these weren’t checked, and years after the person was employed it was found that they were working in the job completely unqualified. Make sure that you complete background checks before they start in the job.

Recruiting new people to the team can seem like a challenging and time-consuming process. It does take a lot of energy but if it’s rushed or done poorly, there’s a minefield of risks and you can end up spending a whole more energy managing poor performance and customer complaints. When it’s done well, it pays off in great results for your organisation and more importantly, great customer service.

Get in touch with us if we can offer you more support with finding and managing great people for your team. We offer individual and group coaching and development programs to build essential skills and capabilities for effective leadership of any sized team.