Rural recruitment: how to get it right

16 September, 2015 by
Ken Burgin

Just because you're operating in a regional area doesn't mean you can't find great staff. Here are nine things to help you along the way.

It’s true – city people don’t want to hear their country cousins complaining about staff shortages. They’ve got the same problem! It’s time for rural operators to update the job offers and promote them in a new way – you have a lot to offer!

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  1. Promote the benefits of where you are. Check the local council’s website: they’re in the business of positively promoting the area. Country rents and real estate can be much less expensive than the city – don’t forget to mention this in your advertisements. Your website should include information about local attractions and lifestyle, as well as opening hours, facilities and menus. Include photos of the best features in your town. This could be the chance for someone to buy their own house, which they could never afford in a big city.
  2. Advertise positions so the whole country can read them. On your  own website and using national job websites. Regional areas need to be even more web-savvy to overcome distance – savvy candidates will check your website, and won’t be impressed if it looks old or ugly. Facebook advertising is also an excellent option. It can be targeted to a particular area or type of person – few restaurants and pubs are doing this. It’s not complicated.- check the video lessons on Profitable Hospitality for how to get started.
  3. Build a relationship with your local school. Hospitality is a popular subject, and your teamwork with dedicated teachers will mean you are the first to hear about their best students. Host site visits and work-experience students, offer to be a guest speaker and find out what they need to improve school-to-work transition. Make friends first and the favours will follow.
  4. Keep in touch with former staff. Facebook is the best way to do this: invite staff to connect with your  page – social media means friendships don’t have to be lost or forgotten. Keep posting photos of staff enjoying their work, as well as the usual food and event shots. Every month or so ‘boost’ a post about happy staff to your fans, so they all see it.
  5. Find work for the partners. If the new chef is arriving with a family, chances are her partner needs work too. How can you help with this?
  6. Jump onto the training bandwagon. It won’t take long to find a training provider who will support with supervision, materials and even a subsidy. Everyone needs to start ‘growing their own’, and the hospitality training sector is highly developed. Another thing that will be appealing to local teachers.
  7. Work with local parents. They see the job advertisements and wake up sleepy teens. If they know you’re offering work with a future, they will make a strong effort to support you. And bad news spreads fast in the country, so make sure you play fair and pay properly.
  8. Think outside the square about who you will employ. You may prefer a low-cost 16 year old, but the 45 year old mum could be more stable and flexible, even if you need to ‘untrain’ a few habits as well as instilling new ones. Set your standards high – if the applicant doesn’t meet them but has a good attitude, get the coaching and feedback underway.
  9. Prepare a modern pay and conditions package. Being regional doesn’t mean you can plead ignorance of changes happening in the 21st century workforce. Check the Fairwork website or talk to your industry association’s industrial relations advisers about what to include.

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