Is it time to be flexible on candidate suitability?

Men performing Taichi

A skills shortage is on, so how can the mining industry fulfil its recruitment requirements?

How flexible are you and your company when it comes to recruiting new talent? How willing are you to change the picture you have in your head around who constitutes the “ideal candidate” for any particular role?

In recent years, as the skills shortage has deepened and ideal candidates have been harder and harder to find, recruiters at mining companies around Australia have been forced to consider candidates who haven’t necessarily ticked every single box on the job application criteria. For several years now it has less often been a case of finding the ideal candidate and more often one of finding the best possible candidate.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good

As professional mining industry recruiters, paid by mining companies to find the right person for every single job, it has been fascinating to watch that adjustment. We’re often told, “we need a candidate with A, B and C”. Often, of course, we’ve been able to fill the brief exactly. But in a real pinch, we’ve sometimes had to say, “we’re sorry; we can find you a candidate with A and B, or B and C, or A and C, but not all three”.

It's what happens next that really matters. Obviously, recruiting and onboarding a new member of the team are a huge investment for any business. Is it better to wait, try again, and hope for the perfect candidate to turn up? Or is it better to select one of the candidates who falls just short of the criteria, and invest in upskilling them?

In our experience, the key to filling a vacancy sooner rather than later is to be flexible in your demands.

4 ways to fill a mining job vacancy faster

Here are four ways to be flexible in your recruitment task, which we know from experience will help you fill your vacancies sooner during a skills shortage:

  • Can scheduled training sessions be provided to upskill your “nearly ideal” candidate? If not, can they work alongside someone and learn as they go? Chances are it probably won’t take them long to pick up the skills they need.
  • Focus on what skills they do have and see where they can be used, rather than focusing on the skills they don’t have.
  • Hire based on attitude, rather than skills. There’s an old saying in the recruitment business: “skills can be taught but attitude is forever”.
  • If they are missing a ticket or two, most candidates are willing to organise and pay for this themselves if it means getting a job. Can the start date be pushed back a few days to allow for this?

If you have a vacancy that you need assistance with and have been struggling to fill, contact the team at MPI today for a chat.

Jasmine Cole
Mining People International