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Business Advice

Winning the recruitment battle

Facing a labour crunch? Resolve the problem through creative recruitment strategies
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - February 22, 2011
By: Sheila Lim
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Winning the recruitment battle

According to the latest official figures, the number of job vacancies has soared. The economy is bouncing back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and employers are going on a hiring spree. The tightening of foreign-worker policies has also contributed to the increase in job openings. In all, there were 50,200 vacancies in September last year, a four-year high. 

The battle for manpower is so fierce that some organisations in sectors that are facing a lack of talent, such as banks and security firms, are offering generous one-off sign-on bonuses to attract candidates and “bond” them for a specific period of time.

If you are running a business, how are you going to cope as consumer confidence returns, and business picks up in a tight labour market and increasingly competitive economic environment? How do you ensure you have the right talents and sufficient manpower to satisfy the needs of your customers?

The first step to effective recruiting is to fully understand the skills, knowledge and abilities your employees must have to perform their jobs well and help you succeed at your business.

The second step is to identify potential employees with the right criteria and be more creative in your recruitment drive. It is important at this point that you think beyond the traditional employee groups which you have always targeted, and consider alternative sources, such as graduating students, homemakers, former employees, older workers or retirees with the relevant industry experience, family members of current employees, people seeking a new career, people looking for part-time or telecommuting work, and people with mental or physical disabilities.

Recruitment strategies

Once you’ve determined the potential employee groups you should target, the next step is to seek effective ways of informing them about the employment opportunities you have to offer.

Besides advertising job postings in the Classifieds and online portals like ST701, here are some alternative recruitment techniques you can use:

  • Post notices on bulletin boards at public places like community/youth centres, clubs, supermarkets, childcare centres, transit hubs, eateries or wherever you are permitted to do so.
  • Post notices on electronic bulletin boards where there seem to be a high concentration of employees with the skills you are seeking.
  • Meet representatives from various social groups like community clubs, welfare homes and adult education institutions.

You could offer to speak to their members about your organisation and the career opportunities available to them.

You could also invite the members of these groups and students of local high schools or colleges to spend a day at your place of business to observe the operational procedures.

  • Sponsor work-study schemes or provide mentored internship programmes.
  • Distribute leaflets to residents in the neighbourhood and immigrant settlement centres.
  • Publicise job openings in your company newsletter, communication networks and bulletin boards.
  • Offer potential candidates cash incentives or joining bonuses for a specified period of time.
  • Turn your high-performing employees into headhunters. Get them to refer people whom they think would make good candidates.
  • Encourage current employees to recommend family members and friends who are qualified to apply for job vacancies. Award them with cash incentives if the family members or friends they recommend are hired and remain on their jobs for a specified period of time.
  •  Set up a recruitment hotline and keep it updated so that when prospective job seekers call, they can receive information about the job vacancies available through the recorded messages.  
  • Organise career fairs at colleges, youth/community centres, or participate in career events organised by external parties.
  • Keep a lookout for potential candidates wherever you go. If you are impressed with the service rendered at a place you visit, write the service provider a “Thank You” note and include a comment that you could use someone who’s committed to providing quality service, and to contact you if they are seeking job opportunities. 
  • Approach employees of businesses that are closing down and inform them about your employment opportunities.


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