Recruitment strategies that reflect the changes facing hiring managers today are critical to any talent management strategy.

The economy here in New Zealand is not in great shape right now. We’ve seen a weakening in our economic performance, per capita GDP is down, while unemployment has risen. Despite this, hiring activity continues. We know that many employers are still facing difficulty in finding the people they need—this is because there remains a serious skills shortage across many industries and sectors.

The hunt for the best talent is fierce. Candidates have more leverage, and successful employee recruitment is a proactive two-way effort. Not only are employers seeking the right talent, but talent is seeking the right employer.

An attractive employer and job offering in 2024 means more than just a competitive salary plus standard benefits. It also means growth opportunities, flexible working options, real work–life balance, as well as a healthy, supportive culture.

How do you successfully recruit and retain employees, when the hunt for talent is more sharply competitive than in the past?

Taking the time to consider, plan and build a talent recruitment strategy is a crucial component in ensuring your organisation has the right workforce to meet its future needs. Even if you are a business or organisation on the smaller side, with less frequent hiring needs, it’s important to map this out.

Here are my top 10 steps to help you identify and create an effective talent planning strategy—that you can implement right away.

1. Define your Brand

When people think of places to work, they often start with well-known brands that they are familiar with, and trust. While your brand as an employer is developed via the reputation you have for your products or services, it is bigger than just the consumer brand, and, you can play a part in defining this for job seekers.

Begin by writing an effective About Us page on your website. This should clearly convey your company’s vision and mission, and tell the story of your business, in a way that is engaging. If you have the resources, video is a great format for storytelling in this way.

Think about why people would want to work for your company, the interesting work you do, how you have an impact in the world, the diversity of your workforce, and if your existing employees recommend the organisation as a good place to work—make sure you share this!

2. Understand your EVP

An employee value proposition (EVP) is what an employer offers to employees, both monetary and non-monetary, in exchange for their work. That includes salary, health benefits, growth opportunities, training and personal development, and perks such as remote work or flexible hours. However, a successful EVP is more than just a list of benefits. It’s also your company’s overall culture—what distinguishes you from other employers out there? Why should an employee pick your organisation over a competitors?

It is worth spending some time to understand your organisation's EVP so that you can communicate this as a part of any recruitment marketing efforts, and when you advertise a role.

3. Treat Candidates as Customers

Great talent wants to work in an environment known for professionalism. One of the best ways to demonstrate this is during the recruiting process. Just as you would be respectful of customers’ time, you should do the same with candidates.

Limit how long an interview or phone call will take, let the candidate know the time expectation and stick to it. When a candidate arrives to meet with you, take a moment to offer them something to drink and show them where the restrooms are. This hospitality goes a long way to building trust. Once you finish the interview, make yourself available for any follow-up questions. Consider your employer brand and how it’s being presented at every stage of the employee recruitment process.

4. Recruit for Culture Add, not just Culture Fit

We often hear of culture fit :does a candidate “fit” into a company’s culture and existing workforce? But focusing too heavily on fit only limits your talent pool. Instead, aim for “culture add.

The research says that diverse and inclusive teams are more innovative, more creative, and better at making decisions. Within your own workforce, assess what you already have and what your team is missing. Then, consider every aspect of a candidate, from their lived experiences to their people skills, to see what they can bring to the table.

5. Shift from Education-based to Skills-based Recruiting

Just as culture fit is an outdated employee recruitment strategy, so too is education-based recruiting, especially as workforces become more globalised. Degrees vary from country to country. We recognise that of course, some roles require specific levels of educational achievement or certifications. However,  for many positions, hands-on experience, ability, passion and a great attitude are just as strong an indicator (if not stronger) of a candidate’s ability to perform.

You should also consider hiring candidates who fit your core values, even if there isn’t a specific position created for them yet.

6. Check your Job Descriptions

Just as we expect candidates to put effort into their job application, we should put equal effort into our job descriptions. Don’t simply set out a long list of what you’re looking for, make sure you include what you can offer, and why someone would want to work with you. Job descriptions that are packed with corporate jargon or that focus too much on what the company does, rather than what the employee will do, won’t stand out against competitors. Not only that, but your job description could have implicit bias in its language or requirements.

7. Have Job Ads that Reflect your Company

Your company culture and values are important, and your job descriptions and adverts should reflect that. If light-hearted fun is part of the culture, then incorporate that into the job ad. If everything is quietly business-focused at the office, be sure the ad is professional and polished.

Applicants will be attracted to work with the company, based on how the ad reads. You will be glad you let your company personality emerge in your advertising, so that you attract those who will be a good match, and add to your corporate culture.

8. Use Social Media in a Targeted Way

You likely use social media to attract customers, but you can also use it to attract new talent. Advertise jobs, and answer questions about open positions in your business through social media posts. Great talent is often found among those who are already familiar with, and following your brand.

Also, make sure that social media reflects all your company does, including work outside the realm of business activities. If you support nonprofits or charities, include posts with photos about it. This helps candidates align themselves with you in a way that makes them feel good about the work that they would be doing under your management.

9. Start an Employee Referral Program and Reach out to Past Applicants

If you’ve already got a great group of employees, it’s highly likely they will be able to provide referrals for new candidates. Good people generally know and hang out with other good people. To leverage this potential, a referral program is an excellent way to incentivise your people to reach out to friends, family and acquaintances to pitch working for your business. You can even go beyond an incentive, and make the referral process a contest with fun prizes and rewards for those who participate.

Another useful pool of talent is your previous, unsuccessful-but-good candidates. While of course, there were reasons that you didn’t hire someone in the past, it’s worth considering if they might be a fit for your current roles, and reaching out to them—particularly  those ‘second place’ candidates who were very nearly the right hire. Additionally, you never know when someone has acquired new talents or skills that might be a good fit for you now.

To prepare for this today, identify a way to flag ‘good candidates’ that don’t get hired this round, as potential for the future; people you want to stay in touch with. Build a communication process around keeping in touch with these people. This can help you efficiently navigate your future recruiting process.

10.  Recognise how the Workplace has Changed

Hybrid and remote work, once a perk reserved almost exclusively for freelancers and senior management, has now almost become the norm for employees. And as we settle into this new normal, companies need to adapt with revised recruiting strategies.

It’s more than just offering flexibility, but also recognising the reasoning behind that flexible time. Maybe an employee loves to travel. Maybe they’re a parent. Maybe they like to take a gym class on Wednesdays at 12. It’s acknowledging a candidate’s whole self and encouraging them to bring that whole self into work once they’re hired.

Bonus Tip: Remember Recruitment vs. Retention

Recruitment is the process, and retention is the long-term relationship. It’s one thing to charm an employee in the early days, but it’s another thing to keep that commitment going beyond the honeymoon phase.

That’s why your recruiting strategies should mirror your strategies for retention. While how to recruit and how to retain employees aren’t the same thing, focusing on one without the other will leave you in a recruiting loop that can feel an awful lot like the movie Groundhog Day.

Remember, talent planning is an ongoing process that adapts to changing business needs. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your strategy to stay ahead in a competitive and evolving talent market is what is going to bring you long-term success.


Interested in how we do recruitment differently at The People Place? We can help you hire great people for your business, without the big agency fees.
Give us a call on +64 9 300 7224.