Finding the right person for the right job can be time consuming but it helps if you know where to look. Putting an advert in the local newspaper is not the only way to find staff and may not be the most effective way for you.
There are several ways of finding staff:
1. Word of mouth
2. An ad in your window, on a public noticeboard or at a university or college
3. An ad in a trade or industry magazine
4. A “line” or “display” ad in your local or state-wide newspaper
5. Web sites
6. An employment agency.
Word Of Mouth
Many businesses, especially expanding solo operations, favour this method since it relies on recommendations from hopefully trustworthy sources, such as friends and business associates. It also costs nothing.
The drawback is that you may feel obligated to hire the person if a friend recommends him/her. Also, it’s unlikely you’ll find someone for a professional, full-time position this way since such people often — but not always — expect a certain level of hiring protocol.
Replying to an ad, reading the job description, responding to the selection criteria and attending an interview allows them time to consider you and your business before they make any decisions.
Use your window or local noticeboard
Window or noticeboard ads cost you nothing except a piece of paper, some ink and time to put them up.
These are most appropriate for low-skilled jobs and some administrative and service positions.
The best places to put them are in high foot-traffic areas such as shopping malls or streets (especially in your own window) or on public noticeboards such as at your local council. Some local newspapers and association or community group newsletters will run job ads free too. Other good places are at your local sporting and recreation clubs and centres.
However, be warned that you might be overwhelmed by enquiries.
Typically, such an ad will simply state that a job is available and the contact details.
Trade or Industry Magazines
These journals are excellent if you are looking for a specialist within your industry. The rates are usually similar to local newspapers but cheaper than the state or metro dailies. However, these types of publications are usually quarterly or monthly at best.
Using Web sites
Internet-based employment agencies and services are increasing in popularity, especially since they are easily accessible from nearly anywhere in the world and are usually low cost compared to print-based media.
They are excellent sources for certain jobs, especially in the information technology fields. Such services might be best for you if you are looking for a professional or technical employee.
Services offered range from simple postings of a few lines for free through to the full range of employment agency services where the Web site is just one medium.
One such Web-based employment agency is Seek.com.
Employment agencies will do most things for you and they will charge accordingly. They will talk to you about your needs, write up the job description, design and place the ad/s, be a contact for prospective employees, make a shortlist of the most suitable candidates and even interview them.
Because of the high cost, they are generally a last resort. You will need to factor in the time it would take you personally to do all these duties and what the cost of that will be.
That way you can decide if it is more cost-effective for you to use your time in operating the business and having an outside source taking care of searching for a new employee or if it would be better if you did everything yourself.
However, if you need casual or temporary staff regularly, it may be better to go through a “temps” agency. Such agencies have a list of suitably qualified staff, from labourers to highly trained professionals. You will pay a higher hourly rate and the agency takes a cut. However, they handle all the legal requirements such as superannuation and workers’ compensation insurance.
If you and the temp come to an arrangement about working for you permanently, the agency usually has a clause in the contract that requires you to pay the agency a certain amount for a period of the person’s employment, as compensation for the loss of income to the agency.
Use the local newspaper in your area for advertising for the following reasons:
- Advertising rates will be cheaper than the state or metro daily
- You may be able to negotiate an article (called an “advertorial”) about your business’ expansion which will also serve as general advertising
- You might get a discount on the employment ad based on your regular advertising schedule
- The job needs only part-time, casual and/or low-skilled staff who live locally
- The job is specific to the newspaper’s area and requires local knowledge.
Use the state or metro daily for the following reasons:
- You want to attract a more qualified or experienced person
- The job needs someone with specialist skills (it might pay to advertise locally first just in case the right person happens to live around the corner).
Line or display advertising?
Before you place a newspaper advertisement, you must decide whether you want to create a “line” or a “display” ad.
A “line” ad is just a few lines advertising your job vacancy in the “Positions Vacant” section of the newspaper. Use this for less important positions since professional and technical staff will probably not look in these columns.
A line ad will typically cost you a few dollars. Usually you just ring, fax or e-mail the newspaper’s advertising section and tell them the words you want and when you want the ad published.
Some local newspapers use newsagencies as agents who will take your ad and forward it to the paper. Check the deadlines in advance as some local papers have a deadline of a week or more before the publication date for classified ads.
A “display” ad is the boxed sort. These are much more expensive than line ads, depending on the size and whether you supply the design and layout.
Typically, the cost can be hundreds of dollars. Saturday editions of dailies are usually the most expensive. Colour costs even more. For this kind of money you will definitely want to see results.
Most papers will design the ad for you for an extra charge or you can pay a graphic designer (check the Yellow Pages and get three quotes). However, it’s simple to do it yourself these days, especially if you have a computer.
Once you’ve created the ad you need to print a clear, clean copy and get it to the newspaper by the deadline or e-mail it if your software is compatible (and it probably will be, but check first).
What do you say in the ad?
The information needed and its prominence is different for each type of ad.
For a line ad simply put the position title, the time allocation, and any special requirements and contacts. For example:
“Accounts clerk wanted. Mornings only. Must know MYOB system. Call 9999 9999 during bh.”
A display ad is able to carry more information because it is larger. You include the position title, time allocation and summary from the job description.
You can also “stand out from the crowd” if you think others will be advertising for the same type of position by putting an unusual heading on your ad, such as “This is a fun job”.
What not to say
No matter what position you advertise, you must comply with anti-discrimination laws. You should never specify or suggest a preference for or against any of the following characteristics:
- A particular gender
- A particular age (except for junior rates of pay, which is allowable)
- A particular religion
- Marital status
- A particular race or nationality
- Type of political opinion or membership
- A personal disability
- Education at a particular institution
- A specified medical history
- Sexual orientation or preference
- Parental status.