We can learn from across the Tasman - Sharon Davies

Employers should embrace new technologies to make the most of a fast-changing world (Originally Published in the NZ Herald)

Although it is sacrilege to acknowledge that the Australians could possibly do anything better than us, it is worth taking note of advances being made in the field of recruitment by our cousins across the Ditch. The good news is that those lessons can be taken on board secure in the knowledge that it is no "pavlova" or "flat white" controversy, but instead, insight that can help get good people more effectively on board.

The growing divide between New Zealand and Australia means local employers could be missing out on the best talent on the one hand.

On the other, they may be paying more than necessary to find good people.

Specifically, the Aussies are better adopters of technology and they tend to be more open to new advertising strategies.

Both these factors are becoming increasingly relevant to recruitment in a technologically-driven world, as candidates themselves are changing and using new ways to find employment.

Those employers who are willing adopters of technology find they can streamline the process, saving time and cost. Where the Australians embrace technology, locals tend to take an approach of "this is how we have always done it", limiting willingness to try better methods. Often you don't know it's broken until you try an improved way; by automating aspects of recruitment, you can focus attention where it matters.

In terms of new advertising strategies, despite employers crying out for more options to find quality candidates, Kiwi employers aren't looking in all the right places. In particular, there is an effort to target the elusive "passive job seeker" - that is, people who could be encouraged to switch jobs, but aren't actively looking to do so - yet Kiwis get hung up on "we get 50 candidates from Seek so we will just advertise there".

That quantity is no guarantee of quality; how many of those 50 are actually hired? The answer lies in the fact of talent shortages, with companies that have to keep looking. It is at this point that recruitment companies are called in - and where do you think they find their candidates?

The answer is, of course, in alternative advertising strategies, including programmatic advertising, which automatically places adverts in the online places candidates frequent.

It works a treat; in one example of using programmatic advertising, Talent Propeller had 800 applications for a position - that's 800 candidates picked up from Facebook and other social media sites.

These people might not even have been looking for work - but when a desirable position relevant to them popped up, they clicked and applied.

These are people who are almost certainly not actively looking on Seek.

Australian businesses also tend to have a clearer understanding of the cost of the recruitment process and actively seek to reduce it, including engaging experts where necessary and adopting skills testing at initial stages.

The bottom line is that in a changing world, there is value in amending approaches to recruitment, and specifically, by taking advantage of new methods and technologies that improve efficiency.

Australian employers are, in my experience, doing so better than Kiwis. And that leaves the door open for improvement.

- Sharon Davies is managing director of Talent Propeller Where the Australians embrace technology, locals tend to take an approach of 'this is how we have always done it', limiting willingness to try better methods Sharon Davies

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