I had the good fortune of speaking with a long term client yesterday about his recruiting needs for 2012. I first started recruiting for this client in 1997 and he is now the Chief Executive Officer of a mining services business. He is planning to recruit a couple of Project Managers,

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one Financial Controller and a team of Analysts within the first quarter of 2012. When I sat back and examined his essential criteria for each role, I found the following:

* Flexibility and adaptability
* The demonstrated ability to deliver projects in a cost effective and timely manner
* The ability to lead multi disciplinary teams
* Enthusiasm and positive attitude

He and I got talking about these criteria and compared them to how he used to recruit over a decade ago. It would be fair to say that he was a pretty conservative and narrow recruiter. He worked in the manufacturing sector and had been in his position for over seven years. The criteria which he considered essential at that time included:

* Where the applicant went to school or university (private schools only)
* Tenure in jobs (less than five years was considered job hopping)
* Industry sector experience (he would not recruit you unless you had worked in manufacturing)

For me, the contrast found within these two lists provide a stark reminder of how recruitment has changed over the past 10 to 15 years. The changes have been driven by a maturing of the labour market and an understanding of the need to be flexible to attract the best talent. It has also been driven by experience in showing that valid behavioural and technical competencies are a better predictor of future success than pure resume driven “analysis”. There is a great deal of truth in the statement that you can train skills but you cannot train attitude.

So, what does this mean for companies recruiting in 2012? Well, there will most likely be a continuation of labour shortage as major projects move into construction phase. You are seeing people “jump ship” from traditional careers into the mining sector in order to make some money from the boom. Only this morning, I was talking to a team member here at Optimum about this. His daughter’s fiancé has decided to stop with his school teaching career to drive trucks on the mines in central Queensland with the hope of setting himself up financially for the future.

This drain on labour will put pressure on employers to “look outside the square” when it comes to acquiring talent. It is going to put pressure on recruiters to ensure that we are properly assessing relevant competencies and looking beyond the resumes when sourcing talent. Finally, it is going to put pressure on potential applicants to be a little more brave when it comes putting yourself forward for positions. If you feel as though you address the competencies required, don’t be afraid to apply.

Happy New Year to all and I hope we all have a safe and successful 2012.

Brad McMahon – Managing Director

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