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The Key to Successful Recruitment in a Candidate-short Market

The Key to Successful Recruitment in a Candidate-short Market

18 January 2024 Mark Ogston

Executives Shaking Hands

​In the fast-paced landscape of local government leadership, 2024 presents a unique set of challenges for senior leaders seeking to recruit new talent into their organisations.

Successfully recruiting in a candidate-short market requires a combination of strategic approaches so for those aiming to secure talented professionals for key positions. Leading Roles and have a 7 -step approach to ensuring your organisation is ‘match-fit’.

 1. Building a Strong Employer Brand:

Why is it that some organisations have an “X-factor” and others do not? Chances are that they’ve worked on building a positive and attractive employer brand to stand out in the competitive market, and have developed strong understanding of their values, culture, and unique selling points.

These organisations also use online platforms, social media, and employee testimonials to showcase what makes their council a desirable place to work, and their community a great place to live.

 Health Check: Does your organisation have a strong, positive and attractive employer brand?

2. Strategic Human Resource Management:

 On average, councils spend about 34% of their budget on their human resources, which is typically greater than any other single line item of expenditure.

 It follows that effective planning, management, and development of an organisation’s human resources will have a greater impact on an organisation’s performance and service to its community than any other area of council’s operations.

 The development of an integrated Human Resourcing Plan that sits alongside a council’s Long Term Financial Plan and Strategic Asset Management Plan will offer an organisation a strategic view of optimising it's human resources investment, enabling it's organisation to effectively meet the requirements of its current and future program of delivery.


Health Check: Does your organisation recognise, prioritise and plan for the management of its human resources at a level that is proportional to the size of its human resources budget?

3. Streamlined Recruitment Process:

One of the earliest experiences a person will have with your organisation is through their engagement with your recruitment processes.

 First impressions matter, especially when a prospective employee is preparing to make a decision to join a new organisation.

 This is an opportunity to show that your organisation’s branding and value proposition are backed up by a professional organisation with seamless and timely processes and communication.


Health Check: Is your recruitment and on-boarding process simple and fast or is it lengthy and cumbersome?

4. Competitive Compensation and Benefits:

When employment conditions are tight, candidates have more choice about where they work, for what organisations and for how much.

 Candidates are typically well researched and aware of their “market value” and councils that offer competitive compensation packages and benefits both attract and retain top talent.

 Councils have typically offered additional perks, such as flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and wellness programs to enhance overall compensation packages, but these are now offered by private sector organisations and are no longer a point of difference.


Health Check: Does your organisation offer competitive compensation packages and benefits to attract and retain top talent?

5. Invest in Professional Development:

 Leaders of the present shape the leaders of the future, and the most competitive councils are organisations that consciously offer aspiring and future leaders a structured pathway for development of their leadership skills and experience.

 Organisations that explicitly invest in their people attract driven and ambitious people who opt-in to the organisation’s vision and purpose, and become deeply engaged, highly productive employees.


Health Check: Does your organisation explicitly invest in development of future leaders?

6. Networking and Relationship Building:

 Great organisations view their past, present and future employees as key relationships to be valued, cultivated and developed, and actively manage this group of people.

 This cohort of people can be council’s greatest hiring asset – a source of referrals, professional networks, advocates for your organisation and community, partnerships, working relationships and prospective employees.


Health Check: Does your People Plan address the full employee lifecycle?

7. Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment:

 Recruitment of high-quality people is difficult, risky and time consuming, and we operate against a background of skills shortage, technological disruption and intense inter-and-intra-sectoral competition.

 To respond effectively, a council’s recruitment strategy must be agile, flexible and continuously informed about changes in the industry, candidate preferences, and emerging technologies.


Health Check: Does your recruitment strategy and activities enable your organisation to have the flexibility to remain competitive in a dynamic job market?


Leading Roles has expertise in each of the seven elements of recruiting in a challenging market and invests in each element as part of our value to our clients.

 Working with Leading Roles improves a council’s capability and performance and offers a dramatically improved rate of success, and we’re proud of our record of a 93% placement rate for our recruitment activities.

 If you need support for your recruitment of key roles, or a maturity review of your own recruitment function, we’re here to assist.