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How Australian executives plan ahead for their recruitment needs

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Managing director APAC at Dropbox Charlie Wood. Photo: Dominic Loneragan.

Good employees are often the most valuable assets a business has.

Therefore, having a good recruitment strategy in place is critical for companies to get ahead — especially when they’re competing for niche and scarce skill sets.

Business Insider reached out to a number of Australian executives to see how they prepare for their recruitment process.

The results were diverse — working closely with universities to attract talent, engaging in strategic partnerships to promote diversity, and using Snapchat to share company culture through to leaving room in budgets for unexpected hires.

Here’s what they had to say (emphasis our own).

Charlie Wood, managing director APAC at Dropbox

Community is at the heart of Dropbox and our success. We pride ourselves on the eclectic mix of people that make up who we are and hiring is a big part of ensuring we continue to attract top talent from across the globe. Our Australian team is growing quickly, which means that we need to think ahead and ensure we are bringing on the right people, to fill strategic roles and play a part in driving local operations forward.

A key aspect in the company’s local growth lies in recruiting, so we need to plan and consciously think about how we are approaching the process. A big part of this lies in changing how we recruit, retain and promote employees, by actively investing in recruiting to promote diversity and working to minimise unconscious bias in the workplace.

From implementing standards to promote equality, to engaging in strategic partnerships- such as our partnership with Diverse City Careers to encourage gender diversity, we are working hard to be a company where Dropboxers from any background can build a career they love.

Ryan Bonnici, marketing director Asia Pacific and Japan of HubSpot

As inbound marketing specialists, our recruitment strategy reflects our inbound know-how, enabling prospective candidates to find us — rather than bombarding potential HubSpotters with spam or dreaded “catch-up” requests on LinkedIn.

A prime example of this is our dedicated Snapchat page, one of the (not so) secret weapons to our arsenal of recruitment tools. We invite teams members from our global offices to take the reins on our Snapchat story and share their unique perspective on the day that was. What better way to highlight HubSpot’s unique company culture than immersing yourself in it through one of the most popular social platforms globally?

For marketing professionals looking to take their career to the next level or borrow some industry insight, our inbound blog is packed full of organic content exploring the shape of the industry. Our teams across the globe – from Boston to Sydney – work hard to populate this page with the latest marketing, sales and agency resources, to position HubSpot as an industry leader in the inbound marketing space. Our views on trends and deep-dives from across the web reinforce our company values and share HubSpot’s culture with prospective candidates, making it an organic recruitment platform and a window to HubSpot’s world.

Lisa Thompson, director of human resources APAC for Commvault

The modern workplace and workforce is changing at a rapid rate. As much as we like to plan ahead, recruitment is one of those areas that you can never truly master –- because at the end of the day we deal with people, and every person is different. As a starting point, we ensure our recruitment plan strongly aligns with the overall go-to-market strategy. This way, new talent can immediately have a strategic and meaningful impact.

In conjunction with this, Aussie executives should have a firm idea of their company’s culture and values. There must be a clear process in place to ensure businesses are not just hiring talent with the right skills, but also the right attitude and cultural fit.

Lastly, businesses need to start from the top down. Having a strong leadership team can in turn attract the best talent to the organisation. All the great leaders I’ve work with have never stopped looking for people who can make their company great.

Judy Watkins, regional manager of customer experience, APAC, Slack

Judy Watkins.

This is a subject that’s top of mind for me, as growing Slack’s Customer Experience team in Australia is one of my highest priorities right now –– we have 70 positions that I’m working to fill! Slack is an incredibly customer-focused company, and delivering the best experience and support that we can is of paramount importance to us. As a result, we see the CE role as one that’s critical to the success of the business, and one that we hire very carefully for. We look for candidates who truly exemplify our core values of empathy, courtesy and craftsmanship.

For me, recruitment planning for Slack in Australia involves helping to educate people on how critical the customer experience role is in the company, what it involves, and what it can offer creative people.

Culture is very important to us at Slack and it informs every aspect of the way we do business, from our attitude to customer service, through to product development. We put a tremendous amount of thought and energy into our values — Courtesy, Empathy, Craftsmanship, Solidarity, Thriving, Playfulness — and so a lot of effort also goes into ensuring the talent we bring through the doors aligns with the values we stand for and planning for how to find these unique individuals.

John Ruthven, president and managing director, SAP Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand continue to grapple with considerably high levels of youth unemployment and an ever-increasing demand for ICT skills in the workforce. Focusing attention now on bridging this skills gap is one way to help to resolve youth unemployment. More importantly, bridging the this gap ensures we have the digital-ready workforce for the transformation Australia needs to raise our competitiveness.

Businesses have a key role to play in supporting and inspiring youth to discover the opportunities with technology in the digital age. In planning ahead and preparing for recruitment needs in ICT-related jobs, SAP already inspires, encourages and supports students to create and innovate with technology through the Young ICT Explorers competition. The competition is designed to prepare students for the workplaces of tomorrow and equip them with the skills critical to Australia and New Zealand’s future economic prosperity.

Through programs like Young ICT Explorers, organisations are already coming together to present future pathways and open doors. By working together, businesses can ultimately be on the front foot in ensuring the right skills and talent are being developed today for the current and future recruitment needs of every organisation.

Craig McDonald, CEO, MailGuard

Photo: Craig McDonald.

We only work with the best. In this space of cloud email and web security, we’re competing for a very scarce skill set, so we work closely with leading universities, ensuring we’re on the radar for top talent when they graduate.

We invest heavily in R&D partnerships with world-class universities such as Deakin to develop cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies. This investment allows us to develop market-leading new products, but it also puts us in the spotlight for top students who are looking to enter a fast growing industry after they graduate university.

Even with this niche skill set, it’s critical that we’re fostering the right culture as well as a highly engaged and motivated team. When our team is telling their friends what a great place MailGuard is to work, often referrals like that can turn into your best next team member.

Nick Bell, founder and managing director of WME

Nick Bell.

Always remain open to receiving new applications, even if you aren’t currently looking to fill a particular position. You could be surprised at what you receive.

Holding onto resumes you receive outside of hiring periods also keeps you ahead of the game when you are ready to hire, as you already have a stockpile of interesting resumes that you can refer back to when a position does become vacant.

I also believe in asking current staff for referrals, and incentivizing these referrals. Your team already knows the work culture and will be great at identifying talent that can value add to your business.

Ross Fastuca, CIO and co-founder of Locomote

Ross Fastuca.

Our approach to recruitment is that we’re always hiring. Finding the right talent is paramount for a fast-growing company like Locomote and it’s imperative to always have an eye on the market for good candidates. We have hired even when there hasn’t been a pressing business need at that particular time.

On the flip side, I’m so committed to building the right team I’ll never recruit somebody to fill a position if they’re not a good fit, even if the need is pressing. I’d rather focus my energy on ensuring we have a great team on board who are willing and able to do beautiful work in the name of innovation.

Gerard Roche, general manager of Nothing But Web

Gerard Roche.

Planning for recruitment starts with setting your recruitment goals.

The right people will make a direct difference to your bottom line, so setting goals around who you are promoting your company to and the types of candidates you require, will make a difference. Having goals prepared before you even start sending out job descriptions will ensure you stick to your objectives throughout the process.

If you compromise on these goals, there is a much higher chance of the candidate not being suitable for you, or your company not being suitable for the applicant. If your goals mean you struggle to find the right candidate, readjust them for a new recruitment campaign whereby your new goals will involve training and up-skilling the candidates you hire.

Mitchell Taylor, co-Founder of Koala Mattress

Mitchell Taylor.

Invest time in planning your strategy and leave room in your budget for unexpected hires.

Koala is a quick growth e-commerce company and our business plan is constantly evolving as we enter new regions and markets. It’s not always possible to predict the skills we will need to add to the team next month or next year, but what we can be sure of is that we will need someone.

If you plan for new hires (even if you’re not sure when you’ll have to make them) you won’t be forced to choose between inaction or finding the talent who will help you make the critical next step in your growth.

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