By Monica Walmsley & Clare Ferguson, Directors


Finding adaptable and flexible talent when it matters most


The world – and workplace – as we know it are changing. It’s normal to feel uncertain, anxious or scared. Take moments each day to breathe and reflect. Equally true in this climate is that it is a time of opportunity, innovation and hope. Novocastrians are known for their ability to muck in and push forward. We are at the forefront of this change. We get to pave new ways, trial new strategies and contribute to a greater good in Newcastle, however that might look. With fear there is also hope.

Adjust your hiring criteria

In times of talent shortage, holding out for a candidate who precisely matches your key job criteria can mean a position is left open for weeks or months. Today, work from home requirements are standard rather than a ‘nice to have’ and other factors such as available working hours, specific software skills or on-site training prerequisites may affect your ability to find that best-match candidate. Don’t let your rigid hiring criteria get in the way of a great (available) candidate. Almost-matches can bring new skills and a fresh perspective, invaluable in the climate. Recruiting from different talent pools is also a great way to moderate salary inflation.

Access new talent markets

As the adage goes, “when one door closes, another opens.” At Monica Clare Recruitment we’ve seen Hunter businesses react and change to the current climate, with many improving accessibility for remote-based work. With geographical limitations lifted, you now have access to wider talent pools, especially helpful for those hard-to-fill roles. There’s also evidence to suggest remote workers are more productive than those based in the office.

Digital or die

It’s unsustainable to halt business operations until we return to business as usual. It’s time to digitise your recruitment efforts and at least part of your business practice. Fortunately, contactless (the new word of the hour) offers numerous efficiencies for your business, including consistency and immediacy. Consider this: two employees may be hired at the same time and trained by two different managers, resulting in two different onboarding experiences. A virtual on-boarding process can help consistency, especially across a national or geographically distanced workforce. Similarly, it can roll out quickly, helpful in a climate where a majority of candidates will be ‘online’ for most of the day.

E-meet with video

Skype, Zoom and Microsoft are established channels that facilitate the recruitment process and promote connectivity post-hire. As there won’t be an office walk-through or Friday drinks in Honeysuckle, it’s important you accurately present your company’s values and culture during the video recruitment process. A hire in this climate, could be a hire that really aids the direction of your business, so it’s important to get it right.

Let diversity drive business adaptation

Uncertainty requires responsiveness. While the needs of your business may have changed, as might have your services or staff requirements, take stock of what you have before you act. You have access to available resources in your staff—trusted colleagues for months or years. Consider leveraging their skillsets in new ways or repurposing staff within your departments or broader business networks. If you don’t have these established networks, tap into key contacts outside of your business.

Aid skill transitions

Support your existing staff with opportunities to upskill or aid in career transitions where their services might be better used. Consider making use of programs that offer career training or advice on personal branding. Remember to keep channels of communication open with your employees; staff shape your brand, so it’s more critical than ever to ensure these relationships are positive and supportive.

Protect your employer brand

In the event you may need to let staff go, remember to do so with genuine compassion and aid this change where possible. Consider using outplacement services to better equip your newly available staff with the latest opportunities. Workforce changes are sensitive topics at the best of times. How you handle downsizing, even when your hand may have been forced, can have an ongoing effect on your reputation in the Hunter market.

By Monica Walmsley & Clare Ferguson from Monica Clare Recruitment

About Monica Clare Recruitment

We are a 'people business'. We believe every successful business is founded on great people, not capital. Including our own.

Monica Clare Recruitment is a team 18-strong, skilled in matching people-driven businesses with talent, and jobseekers with dream opportunities. We are the most connected agency in the Newcastle region and our consultants are local industry veterans, skilled in recruiting for a span of industries: engineering, construction, marketing, IT, finance, accountancy, client services and legal, to name a few.

If ever there was uncertainty about the future of the workforce, it’s now—at least in the short-term. Thankfully, people are the most essential asset to rebuild. We are planning for the future, months and years from now. For candidates, we offer career transition services. For clients, we offer consultancy, from hiring through to outplacement.

  • Permanent and contract employment
  • Executive search
  • Bulk recruitment and assessment centres
  • Career transition and advice
  • Labour market insight
  • Internal talent acquisition support

For further assistance, give us a call on (02) 4967 5236

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