With more than 35 years working in recruitment, CEO at Citrus Group Paul Smith has a wealth of experience and expertise in the industry. Here, he explains the state of the current recruitment market, the challenges and strategies for hiring.
How would you describe the current recruitment market?
It’s challenging, to say the least. There has been a major shift toward choice for the candidate, which means speed to market is now more important than ever.
What are some of the challenges the recruitment industry faces right now?
An ever-shrinking candidate market, most candidates are now passive and are spread thin across all available roles. Client needs are increasing, however candidate availability is not. All employers are struggling with attrition and looking to recruiters to solve this issue. Attrition really is proving to be the next biggest challenge for employers outside of the shrinking candidate market. Companies are having to get creative on their EVP (Employee Value Proposition) and are looking to us for help with this.
How could these be overcome?
Tapping into and creating new talent pools, such as regional locations around Australia, also increased overseas talent (unfortunately, we have not seen a dramatic increase of travellers and students compared to pre COVID days). Our clients need to articulate the EVP into their organisation to differentiate them in the market. Flexibility is key when hiring. This covers salary, WFH (Work from home) or hybrid working models and the hours of work on offer.
Outline some key strategies for hiring the best staff in the current market.
Understanding what skills/attributes are critical to the role and what can be learned and/or developed to widen the candidate pool applying to the position.
With workforce movement high in the current climate, how important is it for employers to offer a strong yet flexible workplace culture?
Extremely important. If they aren’t offering it, someone else will be and the choice is there for a job seeker.
What do you believe are some of the driving factors to retaining quality staff?
A clear and precise introduction to the position, including what flexible arrangements are offered, a detailed and comprehensive induction and training program, making sure that whatever was discussed and offered in the initial interview is provided as agreed, including growth and development in the role and making sure the salary is competitive in this market.
Do you expect tighter competition for employees as we move closer to Christmas?
Absolutely, most industries haven’t recovered from COVID with headcount, and the pressure to employ for Christmas will only increase that pressure.
Citrus is a major sponsor of the ASEA awards. Why should we celebrate the achievements of those working in customer-facing businesses?
Working in a customer-facing environment is not easy and can be challenging to say the least. The ASEA awards provide those working in this industry the opportunity to be recognised and celebrate their achievements.
How rewarding is it for you personally to be able to assist local and international businesses develop and implement best practice for contact centre recruitment?
When you have been in the industry as long as we have you become a part of it, and it becomes second nature to you. You realise that over the past three decades you have assisted so many companies from setting up the first green fields call centres, to recruiting ticketing personnel for the 2000 Olympics through to recruiting for COVID help lines and essential services, we have learnt so much and assisted so many companies, this is personally gratifying and rewarding.
About Citrus Group
Citrus Group, major sponsor of the ASEA awards for the past four years, is a market leader in the employment industry. It was established in 2013 to address an ongoing need for quality contact centre personnel and has a wealth of expertise in the recruitment, on-boarding, training and retention of contact centre personnel.
About Paul Smith
Paul has worked in the recruitment industry for the past 35 years, with 10 years working in senior positions for global recruitment companies including, Drake International, Adecco, Kelly Services and Chandler McCloud Group.
He ran his own recruitment businesses with his partner, Gordana, for 25 years, setting up Telus, the first recruitment agency specialising in the recruitment of phone-based (call centre) customer service personnel in 1996.
Five years later, they sold to Chandler McCloud Group and in 2013 they set up Citrus Group based on a need they saw in the market for a specialised call centre recruitment company.
Today, Citrus Group is recognised as leaders in the recruitment of contact centre personnel and recruits thousands of people every year into the industry.
For contact centre recruitment solutions, support, and deployment we’re here to help at Citrus Group.