The Business Advisory Blog

The Business Advisory Blog

Insight, news and updates from Alliott NZ Chartered Accountants, Auckland New Zealand. The views expressed here are the views of the author and should be discussed in further detail should an article be relevant to your individual circumstances.

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.

Vanessa Williams
Published on

7 Ways to Distinguish your Business in a Competitive Hiring Environment

Businesses need people to serve customers and grow. This requires ‘recruitment’ which can take many forms like hiring full or part-time, subcontracting, and offshoring.

7K0A0597-403Whatever the approach, a recruitment strategy should help the business to stand out from other options candidates are considering. This is especially important when fewer graduates are taking entry-level positions and attitudes to work are evolving.

We asked some recent graduates what attracts them as potential employers and to provide some examples. Here’s a summary of their feedback.

1. An Employer with Resilience

A majority of graduates said they want to ‘avoid employment uncertainty’, especially when beginning their careers. They prefer to ‘find their feet’ in their first role and MAY consider more ‘risky’ employment options later.

Lesson: A business which shows it has weathered (or even thrived) in tough times (without reducing the team) will be attractive to job seekers.

2. An Employer which Stands Out

A challenge in any industry is to stand out from the competition. Differentiation can take many forms including services, customers, working conditions or culture.

Lesson: Address the question. “How are we different?” throughout the recruitment process. You may not appeal to everyone… but are more likely to attract the candidates that will ‘fit’.

3. An Employer Offering Attractive Compensation and Benefits

This will be a factor in swaying an applicant's decision, especially when considering several job offers. However, applicants don’t just consider the annual compensation in the first year. Many will look at longer-term earning opportunities, like bonus plans, equity participation, and non-financial benefits.

Lesson: Take a flexible view on compensation. Know that it is important but will mean different things to different candidates based on their ambitions. Tailor packages which will make sense to your target employees.

4. An Employer which is Flexible and Responsive

Many businesses will be on the smaller side (revenues, number of employees, etc.) compared to employers in other industries. But this can be an advantage. A small business can easily design attractive compensation plans, provide exposure to a wide range of duties and be flexible on employment policies. (Compare this to large firms, which can be impersonal and inflexible).

Lesson: Emphasise that you are flexible as an employer (while still maintaining good processes and discipline).

5. An Employer which Offers Advancement Opportunities

Career advancement can mean formal training. It can also mean exposure to new opportunities in a growing, dynamic business which will offer new management positions in the near future. A clearly-defined career path is attractive… but some candidates will recognise that the best and fastest advancement arises in ambitious firms which take on interesting and challenging projects.

Lesson: Demonstrate how people learn in your business both through your professional development activities and because of your bold, innovative approach.

6. A Successful Employer

Success means different things to different candidates but most want to feel proud of their association with their employer. Growth is an obvious indicator of success but other factors include a good reputation, significant customer engagements, industry leadership, prominent partners, a track record of innovation, and community service projects.

Lesson: Highlight your accomplishments, especially those which help you to stand out.

7. An Employer who Takes a Long-Term View

In some industries, businesses have short-term horizons, including the ‘exit’ of the founders as the business transitions to new owners. This can be appealing and exciting but is not ‘normal’ in professional services. A firm that hires entry-level candidates so they can be groomed for long-term success in a growing, vibrant, stable organisation is likely to be attractive.

Lesson: Emphasise long-term commitment to employees since this will attract more loyal employees who want to develop their skills as the firm grows.

How does your business stack up on these criteria? A small tweak in your strategy may yield significant results.

Further viewing

Topics: employers employment small business staffing strategy talent