Looking for a great candidate?

Saxon Marsden-Huggins | Founder | Recruit Shop


Large businesses can allow for a few mistakes during the hiring process, however small businesses aren’t afforded the same luxury. Hire the wrong person and you risk using a significant portion of your budget investing in an employee who fails to deliver a return.

Attracting the right candidates to your organisation comes from executing engaging job advertisements in the right channels for your target candidates. Get the job ad right and you’ve taken the first step in the journey toward the best hire for your organisation.

Unfortunately this is where many businesses go wrong, so I’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes small businesses make when writing job ads.

1. Underselling your business

Small businesses don’t have as much market exposure as larger-sized competitors, which can mean potential talent might not recognise your brand name immediately. To sell yourself and educate candidates about your organisation, you need to tell it to them straight. Highlight your work-perks, the personality of your staff and your growth plans– spell out anything you think will excite your potential candidates about working for your organisation.

2. Listing too many qualification requirements

Employers are starting to catch on that long and detailed lists of essential criteria is a bad idea. Candidates will rarely meet every single criteria in your list and you don’t want to run the risk of having qualified candidates disqualify themselves prematurely because of a long and daunting list of prerequisites. If you’re asking for three years’ experience when really only one is necessary to do a good job, then you could be excluding some potentially great candidates from engaging with your organisation.

3. Writing boring job ads

Online job boards are crowded places and if your job ad lacks personality or character it won’t do well in the competition for candidate air-time. Add some personality when you’re crafting your ad - think about what you want your brand to say to potential candidates and try to excite them through language and imagery.

Hopefully this will help you when you next look to recruit - think of it as your ‘what not to do’ list and you’ll be right on track to creating more interesting and engaging job ads, which will result in more candidates hitting that ‘Apply Now’ button.

CANDIDATE SCREENING: Explore new channels

Phone interviews have long been the number one choice for companies conducting first round interview screening but with the increased availability of online video technology, employers are now considering more interactive channels like Skype during their hiring process.

Video and phone interviews offer a variety of benefits for both recruiters and candidates. Where video interviews excel is in their ability to create a more personal connection than is possible over the phone. Also, they allow the applicant to gain a better idea of the personality of your organisation. Video interviews can also be more revealing (for both you and the applicant) because you can respond to facial cues and tone with greater ease. After all, 70 per cent of all communication is non-verbal. As exciting and innovative as video interviews are, they do bring with  them a few challenges. So before you abandon the humble phone interview it’s important to consider these points:

Lack of Internet Access – While the Internet has become a necessity for job searches, research shows that around 30 per cent of Australians still don’t have an internet connection at home. No internet will obviously put some candidates at an immediate disadvantage if video interviews are the screening method of choice.

Spotty Reception – Even for candidates that do have internet access, it might not always be reliable. Spotty reception can cause delays, make communication more difficult, or cause the video feed to cut off. So always have a Plan B in case the connection gives you trouble.

Poor Camera Quality – Poor camera or microphone quality can cause a candidate to become more uncomfortable, or can make it harder to conduct the interview. Echoes, hums, and buzzing can make it difficult to hear candidate’s answers and can make the interview disjointed.

Awkwardness – Research has shown that over 20 per cent of the population feels uncomfortable in front of a camera. Combine that with the nerves most candidates experience during an interview and it’s easy to see how some candidates may feel awkward and make more mistakes  than they would under normal circumstances.

For some, the benefits of a video interview may outweigh the challenges. But for others, these risks may simply be too great. If you do choose to use a video interview, make sure you have carefully considered the pros and cons. It may be a great recruitment tool, but it all depends on how well you use it.


While we’re well and truly into the New Year there is still much of 2016 to come and for many that means searching for and finding the ‘perfect’ new job. While it’s exciting to recruit top talent it’s even more important to concentrate on how to keep your employees excited and engaged in their role.

After all, there’s no point attracting top talent if you can’t hold on to it.

Happy employees work harder, stay longer and act as better brand ambassadors than dissatisfied employees - so it’s a no-brainer. But how do you keep your employees happy at work? The following five tips will help you keep on track this year.

1. Be Different

Offer something to your staff they can’t get anywhere else. People want to believe their workplace is different. Add exercise equipment to your breakroom, or have craft beer Fridays, or offer plane tickets in addition to vacation time. Offer something different that delivers a tangible benefit to your employees and you’ll improve their workplace satisfaction.

2. Hold Group Events

Building strong bonds between your employees is a critical element of employee engagement. Make sure you’re encouraging, even facilitating events for your people to interact with each other in a more relaxed setting. Trust building exercises and retreats are great but simple activities like creating sports teams or holding team parties can also improve connections in the workplace.

3. Train Thoroughly

It’s not just current employees but new employees who want to be happier at work and studies have shown one of the best ways to improve satisfaction is to give a great first impression through training. The more an employee knows and understands about the tasks they have to complete, the more satisfied they’ll be. Offer a comprehensive on-boarding program to ensure new recruits have the knowledge and support they need to excel in your business.

4. Measure Management and More

Every person in your company should be measured for their attitude, behaviours, and how much they’re getting out of their work. You need to know if a manager is rude to their subordinates, or if an employee you thought was lazy is actually extremely productive and simply runs out of work to do late in the week. Ensure you have robust KPIs and measurement tools that provide a good picture of what is going in with each person, and host monthly one on one reviews to make sure everyone is getting what they need from the relationship.

5. Create Growth Plans and Milestones

Most, if not all employees within a company want to be able to grow with it. Consider providing employees with a path towards growth, tracking how they can achieve a raise or attain a new title or promotion. Giving people a long term plan is a great way to make sure your employees feel they have a reason to stay and keep growing with you.

Lastly, ensure you’re open and honest with your people to foster an environment of conversation and trust. If your employees feel they can discuss the highs and lows of their work with you, they’ll be less likely to jump-ship when another opportunity presents itself.

Frustrated by the lack of an effective, value-for-money recruitment alternative for small business, Saxon founded Recruit Shop in 2010 to help small businesses find their next great hire. Saxon has an MBA from UQ, is a member of the Entrepreneurs Organisation and is currently based in Sydney.

Recruit Shop is Australia and New Zealand’s best priced recruitment agency providing low cost recruitment solutions to small and franchise businesses in any industry and location throughout Australia & New Zealand.

1300 411 740