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Help wanted: Survive the staffing nightmare before Christmas

Alexandra Cain
Business Journalist

Alexandra Cain writes regularly for the small business sections of The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review

Alexandra Cain
Business Journalist

Alexandra Cain writes regularly for the small business sections of The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review

Need a hand to get through the Christmas chaos? If you’ve left recruitment to the last minute, there is hope! Read on for tips on staffing your business during the festive season.

It’s always hard to find good help and for many businesses this can become a real problem at Christmas. In the rush to get ready for the festive season, sometimes finding good staff or ‘Christmas casuals’ ends up at the bottom of the to-do list. But there are many different apps, software and services that can help businesses ensure they have the right people on deck as the pointy end of the year approaches. 

Here are some of the best ideas for you to try.

life ring floating in water

Problem: I need staff at short notice
 

Social media SOS

There are lots of strategies you can employ – no pun intended – if you need staff tout de suite. If you’re looking for relatively unskilled staff to work at a café, behind a bar or to help fulfil warehouse orders, Facebook should be your first port of call. Post a message letting your contacts know you’re looking for casuals and ask them to share your post to spread the word even further. For work that requires a higher skill level, LinkedIn is your friend. Let’s say you’re looking for a barista, simply enter ‘barista’ together with your location into the site’s search engine and it will present you with a plethora of options who you can then contact.

Spotjobs.com

It’s also worth looking at online casual staff portals such as spotjobs.com, which is used by big-name businesses such as fast food restaurant Pizza Hut, department store David Jones and supermarket Coles to find reliable staff, and small businesses are welcome too. Check in with spotjobs.com for the details, but pricing varies depending on how long you list the job and whether or not the listing is promoted (which may be money well spent if you’re in a tight spot).

Student staff

Don’t forget local universities and TAFEs when you’re looking for staff. There are lots of students with time on their hands at the end of the year, so contact the switchboard to find out who’s the best person to talk to about hiring their talent. Do your research and make sure the institution you talk to offers courses in your industry. So if you’re a café, connect with a school that has a hospitality course.

Another option is Workstay, a dedicated site that connects businesses with students and travellers looking for work. If you go down this route, just make sure international candidates are eligible to work in Australia.

Problem: I need staff, but I also need to keep costs down
 

Freelance sites

Escalating staff costs isn’t just a problem at Christmas; it’s an issue for businesses all year round. But one of the benefits of a globalised world is access to staff in lower-cost economies. If you’re looking for staff to perform tasks which can easily be done remotely, such as data entry, computer programming or graphic design, sites such as AirtaskerFreelancereLance and Upwork might do the trick.

You can search by skill and check the candidate’s reputation in their profile plus chat to them about rates before locking in the work. Convenience aside, the real value of these sites is in delivering fast access to cost-effective professionals who are eager to get on with your tasks.

Problem: I have no time to recruit new people
 

Recruiterbox

It’s Christmas and you’re hard pressed meeting orders and managing the business. There’s simply no time to vet candidates, but you’re desperate for quality staff.

If this sounds like you, then you’ll be pleased to know that there is a range of online tools you can use to help collate resumes and decide which candidates to interview. One option is Recruiterbox, software that allows you to collect resumes from email attachments, create candidate profiles and easily search resumes for the skills you need. Recruiterbox is free for five users.

iKrut

Another free tool is iKrut, which really is recruiting on steroids. You can use the site to post a job and candidates send resumes through the site, which has heaps of cool tools to help you find the right applicant. You can even use it to arrange interviews.

Seek and Spotless

Don’t forget you can also use the more traditional recruitment options like Seek, a local recruitment platform where you can post jobs, but it is a more expensive option. Another option is Spotless, which has a reputation for finding staff such as cleaners and hospitality workers.  To find rates, have a chat with the team at Spotless about your specific job needs. 

Delegate, take a break

As you can see, there’s a host of different options for you to find and manage staff this Christmas, hopefully helping to keep the stress levels down and even give you the option of taking a well-earned rest.

To take advantage of this great offer

Telstra is offering eligible business customers a six-month trial of the powerful people management tool Deputy. click here.

Find Out More

Offers available to eligible mobile post-paid Telstra business customers. Free 6-month trial is only available to new Deputy accounts and not valid for existing customers or partners. Data charges apply to download and use apps. Offer available until 31 December 2014.  Deputy: For eligible mobile post-paid Telstra Business customers by redemption directly from Deputy. Trial up to 10 licences per customer. To continue using the app at the end of the trial, you’ll need to sign up for a paid plan with Deputy.

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