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What a recruiter can teach you about hiring and retaining employees

What an experienced recruiter can teach you about hiring and retaining employees in 2022

Finding motivated, skilled employees and ensuring they’ll stick around for the long run is a skill. 

Unfortunately, lots of business owners and hiring managers don’t always have the time and experience to get much further than whacking a SEEK ad online and praying for the best. In a more global, competitive hiring landscape - that tactic might no longer cut it.

As Founder and Managing Director of S2M Digital Recruitment, David Jackson has racked up over 20 years of experience in finding the best talent across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

During our last “Elevate Your Business” webinar, we had one question for him: How can businesses attract and retain employees during a talent shortage? 

Attracting the best candidates

Businesses all want to hire the best candidates to help drive business success. And these days, that might take more than a simple job ad. David shared 5 actionable tips. Because as the saying goes, you can hire right, or you can hire twice.

#1 Become an employer of choice

“Getting your name out there is more important than ever: attending conferences, webinars, expo’s and really thinking of how your brand is perceived - not only just by your clients, but also by future employees.”

“If people know your brand, they will be more likely to respond to the job ads you put up.”

That goes hand-in-hand with being clear about your values. The employee mindset has changed from working “for” a company, to working “with” a company.  In particular the younger generation wants to feel that they are doing meaningful work for an employer who shares their world view. 

#2 Don’t be afraid to revisit past applicants

There’s also nothing wrong with going back to responses to your previous job ads and reaching out to candidates who applied for roles in the past. 

“Even if they weren’t a 100% perfect fit back earlier, they might have upskilled in the meanwhile or gained experience in a similar role at a competitor.”

#3 Always ask for referrals

While referral bonuses are common in the recruitment industry, it’s something that not all businesses fully embrace.

According to David, that’s a missed opportunity. Simply put,  “good people know good people.”  Leveraging your broader network, and that of your employees can often be the fastest way to find the perfect candidate. 

#4 Stay ahead of the curve

“I’m hiring 365 days a year,” says David. “If I meet someone and I don’t have a job for them, I’ll create a job for them. If you come across a great candidate you don’t want to let them go.” 

“And if you can’t afford to hire them at that exact moment, you need to keep in touch with that person, have a coffee with them every three months - keep them posted about what’s happening at your business and brief them as soon as a job becomes available.” 

Investing in relationships can be really valuable, and these hires are likely to stick around much longer than the more transactional hires that might come through a classic job ad.

#5 Accept that it’s a two way street

It’s no longer just the candidates that need to appeal to their future employers. In a candidate-driven market you have to accept that you will be judged as a workplace and you will be expected to offer certain perks. 

“Great candidates often come with a price tag, and that’s not even negotiable anymore these days. Candidates expecting 20% on top of their previous wage are no longer the exception.”

But it doesn’t just stop at wages. There’s the increasing demand of the hybrid of working from home, flexible work hours and a supportive, engaging environment with room for growth, mentoring, upskilling or education.

Retaining your best employees

The thing about being in a talent scarce market is that if you think your high performing employees are excellent, your competitors will likely think so too. How do you ensure you’re not left with a knowledge gap?

“A lot of tactics you use for attraction, will also be a great tool for retention”, says David.

At our office we have a raft of reasons for people to stick around. We do monthly lunches, office competitions, a monthly mental health day off, passes to gyms, tennis courts, the MCG,... and we clock off early on Fridays.”

But more importantly it’s about having honest conversations. 

“My key is sitting my staff down and simply asking what they really want and where we can go together.”  

Ultimately, honesty and transparency are a key tool, because it allows you to plan accordingly.


The best part about using David’s approaches on hiring and retaining staff is that it’s not just theory –he’s proven its success in the real world.

It's now time to put some of these tips into practice. What insight are you most enthusiastic to try first? Tell us via Twitter

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