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6 Ideas for Staffing in a Scarce Skills Market

In spite of the fact that South Africa’s unemployment rate is expected to average at around 25% in 2012* and the fact that many companies downsized during the last few years due to the global recession, finding top talent especially in areas of scarce skills is more difficult than ever. The reason is two fold. Firstly, traditional methods of advertising a vacancy (whether in the media or online) often attract an avalanche of desperately seeking candidates and filtering these is a long and tedious process. Secondly, the top candidates have their heads down and are so buried in what they are doing that they don’t have time to look at other opportunities. So as a hiring manager, what can you do to make sure that your company has the best staff? Here are 6 ideas.

  1. Look after your current staff.
    Don’t wait until your key person resigns before you wake up to their needs and then scramble to buy them back. Statistics show that 75% – 90% of employees who accept counter offers are looking again within 6 months**. So if you do buy back an employee with a counter offer, the chances are you are just buying some time. Better to put in the effort to keep them happy before they start looking around. Find out what motivates your staff – you’d be surprised at how often it isn’t just money.
  2. When recruiting, look for the passive candidates.
    In a scarce skills environment, if a candidate is actively looking and has placed his or her CV on job boards, they are likely to be swamped by calls from recruiters and companies, usually for positions they aren’t qualified for or interested in. These candidates are often the ones who take a job, and move again a few months later. Passive talent, on the other hand, are likely to be buried in their work. They aren’t actively looking for other opportunities, but when the right opportunity arrives, they will move. Knowing where the best passive talent is camped out, and approaching them, often takes extra skill and a unique selling point, but more often leads to a better, more stable appointment. Finding passive candidates requires skill and time. Use a good 3rd party (eg. Search agent) if need be. The fee is negligible when compared to the value your dream candidate adds to your company.
  3. Sell the job in the Interview.
    So many times the interviewer forgets that the interview is a two way street. The candidate is also deciding whether he or she would like to work for your company. Show them what makes your company special. You will regret it if after all your recruiting you identify the perfect candidate only to find they don’t want to work for you. Even if the candidate isn’t suitable and you decide not to hire them, they may end up working for your competitor – make them wish they were working for you.
  4. Be Flexible.
    In a skills short market, you should be looking for potential. Gone are the days when you went through a pile of CVs and systematically threw out all those who didn’t match each and every skill you have listed on your job specification. Today, the right attitude and the ability to learn far outweigh the skill. Knowing how to find out how to do something, and having the willingness to do it, is much more important than knowing how to do it. So look past the skills and look at the potential.
  5. Hurry up the Hire.
    Nothing kills a deal more often than time. In a skills scarce market, candidates don’t have the time or patience to sit through hours and hours of one interview after another. Streamline this process. If at all possible, get all the decision makers together in one interview. If this isn’t possible, at least consider other options like Skype or Telephonic interviews to make it easier on the candidate. Once you have identified the right candidate be decisive and make them an offer.
  6. Make an offer that is fair & Collaborative.
    We are no longer in an employment age where the offer is negotiable after it has been made. Any salary negotiation needs to be done at the start of the process. Often perceived benefits for the employer are not for the potential employee. A good candidate will not move for less money than what they are earning. Regardless of where the job is located or who the company is. Top candidates need to know what the bottom line on their payslip is going to be. Reflect this in the offer. Know beyond a shadow of doubt the offer is going to be accepted. This, to an extent, negates the threat of the counter offer. The days of making an offer below what has been agreed upon in the hope that, based on fear of loss, the candidate will accept are gone. Even if it is accepted, the trust has flown out the window before the person has even started. There is only one offer and it needs to be fair to both parties.


This blog is brought to you by Star Personnel Recruitment (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.

Recruiting IT Developers

Are you battling to recruit IT developers? These chaps are difficult to find, and even more difficult to appoint. Do you want to know why?

The reason is that they are getting calls, often a few calls each week from people trying to recruit them. So they have the luxury of being extremely picky on the jobs they apply for.

The mistake most companies are making is that they are asking these candidates to spend hours doing tests and assessments before the candidate even knows if he or she wants the job. These candidates don’t mind doing these assessments – actually often times they enjoy it, but they are not prepared to spend 3 hours working on a project for free, especially for someone they don’t even know.

So what can you do?
Firstly, make sure that the person representing your company to these candidates knows what they are talking about. With all due respect to HR Managers throughout the country – unless they specialise in IT recruitment or come from an IT background they are usually not the right people to make the first approach to these candidates. Developers want to know about the project and technology used from other developers. So if at all possible, let your Snr Developer, IT manager or IT Recruiter make the first approach. By all means, bring HR in at the second interview stage.

Secondly, make the fist interview logistically as easy as possible. Consider meeting the candidate in a coffee shop – during lunch or after work. Maybe offer to do a skype or facetime interview to save them having to travel to the venue. Think out of the box. This isn’t going to be the one and only interview – so it doesn’t have to be too formal, but it will allow you to find out if you have a possible candidate.

Thirdly – sell them on the job, your company and the technologies used in this first interview. The old days of making a candidate answer 100 questions is long gone. This first interview should be a conversation. Check that the personality is a fit, and find out if you can work with this person, but most importantly, tell them about the company and the job and get them excited to work with you. Remember that you are going to check their skills at a later time. This first interview is a chance to get them wanting to spend the time to do that assessment.

Finally be quick. If you find a good candidate, don’t mess about. Check them thoroughly, ask them to do an assessment, do what you need to do to make sure you have the right person – but as soon as you know, make them an offer. These candidates want to work for companies who are decisive and willing to cut through corporate red tape. Show them that you can do this if you need to.

There are some fantastic development candidates out there at the moment. Many are returning to South Africa having gained experience overseas. You just need to work a little differently to appoint them.

Happy recruiting.

International Healthcare Recruitment

South Africa is well known and respected for the quality of Healthcare Professionals. They have a reputation of excellent skills, education and the willingness to work hard. Although we hate to see them leave the country, many of them are keen to travel and gain international experience.At Star Personnel, we have a team of consultants specialising in Healthcare Recruitment and currently have a large database of Nurses, Doctors and Specialists that are interested in opportunities in other countries.

If you are in need of Registered Nurses, Doctors or Specialists and would like to know more, please contact us or give us a call on 021 5511337.

If you are a Nurse, Doctor or Specialist, and you are interested in finding out your options to emigrate or contract outside of South Africa, please also make contact with us.

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The Linx Personnel Group

Star Personnel Recruitment (Pty) Ltd. is the founding member of the LINX PERSONNEL GROUP…an Association of Personnel Recruitment Companies, Professional Staff Training Organisations, Industrial Relations Experts and Allied Staffing Services Companies, all working together to assist the CLIENT COMPANY, with a full range of human resources solutions.Our Member Companies provide a private and corporate database of screened, highly qualified applicants to meet each and every staffing need. Linx Member Companies are all specialists in a range of recruitment disciplines with extensive interviewing skills. Therefore as a Group we are able to work more efficiently, faster and with a greater degree of accuracy than any single agency.

Staffing services include: Permanent and Temporary staff, Contract Staff, Computer Training School and all matters relevant to Industrial Relation procedures. The latter includes practical support and advice from Labour Attorneys and Advisors on all matters involving the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Labour Relations Act and the new Equity bill.


Fixed Term Contract vs Probation

Welcome to Star Personnel Recruitment. South Africa’s leading owner managed recruitment and selection agency.Founded in 1986, Star Personnel has developed a reputation for working with a selection of top employers to identify and recruit outstanding candidates who suit the employer’s requirements in terms of personality, attitude and skills.

With arguably the most sophisticated database system in the industry, written exclusively for Star Personnel, we have contact with over twenty two thousand interviewed and screened candidates. Furthermore we have the experience and skills to find those passive candidates who match our client’s specific needs. We don’t just work with candidates who are actively looking, but develop longlasting relationships with outstanding candidates over a long period.

For our candidates, we offer a professional experience, where your application is treated with the utmost confidentiality and care. Although unable to place every candidate we deal with, we strive to make the experience of contacting Star Personnel, a pleasant and rewarding one.

Thank you for your time spent browsing our website. We look forward to being of service to you..

Hire Developers – Get them while they are fresh

Right now it seems the whole world is fighting for skilled and experienced developers, they are like gold. If you are one of the employers struggling, here are some ideas for building your team.

  1. Get them while they are fresh – hire the graduates. For every senior developer you employ, you should employ at least an additional two juniors. These may be straight out of their studies. They often have great skills, no experience but they will be happy to work at a fraction of what you are paying the senior.
  2. Teach the seniors how to lead. Allow the juniors to report directly into the senior developer and give him/her training on how to manage staff if necessary. The danger is that the juniors distract the senior but with a little training and discipline, the juniors will add value. Allow for twice a day to have a quick standup meeting where the senior assigns tasks and/or answers questions, and then leaves the junior staff to get on with it. The senior needs to take responsibility for making sure that their juniors are adding value by actually producing code, even if it is the mundane stuff.
  3. Everyone takes a step to the left. On a regular basis (at the end of a few sprints or at least once every 6 months depending on the nature of your projects) you switch things up. Move the juniors around so they report to a different lead. This will mean that the i.p. of your products, methodologies etc are constantly being stirred so they don’t stick on the edges. They will stay more consistent through your code and you won’t be stuck with only one person knowing it all.

This strategy will effectively triple your staff compliment of developers (which may be a good or a bad thing) but it will only add about a third (maybe a quarter) to your payroll.

You must understand that the juniors will have a lifespan of between one and two years before they will either need to be promoted, or they will be poached by those who have not adopted this strategy. The advantage you have is that you have had a year to find out which juniors are going to be great and which mediocre. We’ll show you how to hang onto the good ones.

For help with any of your staffing needs, please give us a call on 0215511337

Jan 2019 – Star Personnel opens office in Australia

Due to ever increasing demand for Healthcare professionals in Australia Star Personnel Recruitment is pleased to announce we have expanded our offices into Australia to ensure we provide the best possible fully customised service to both our corporate clients and candidates. And the good news is that we are doing it at no extra cost to you the candidate.

Although our focus at this time is on the urgent need for healthcare professionals, we hope to eventually assist South African candidates in other industries and disciplines.

Star Personnel Recruitment, are recruiting for healthcare vacancies throughout the whole of Australia, whether you are looking to work in a capital city or you are seeking a more rural location.

Australia is currently experiencing a shortage of healthcare professionals across many specialties. It is recognised a skilled workforce is essential to the future success of the Australian Healthcare system and this is great news for you.

Accordingly there are many opportunities for international healthcare professionals and this is attracting talented and enthusiastic professionals to Australia, drawn by their high quality of life, stunning landscape, great climate, favourable employment conditions and the wide range of opportunities for personal and career growth.

We are working closely with employers to provide a highly customised service to ensure we match your skills and preferences with the ideal employer, location and role. We make the process easy for healthcare professionals wanting to move and work in Australia at no extra cost to you.

First and foremost we understand moving to another country can be daunting and challenging. However don’t worry as Star Personnel Recruitment will do the hard work while you plan your Australian adventures at no extra cost to you.

International healthcare professionals will receive assistance from Star Personnel Recruitment on:

  • Finding roles with employers to present you for.
  • Representing you as a candidate for your desired position.
  • Interview techniques.
  • Negotiating on your behalf for the best possible: sponsorship, visa, employment conditions and relocation assistance.
  • A soft landing in Australia by assistance with: supplying information about your place of work, securing accommodation, locating schools where necessary, setting up bank accounts, Tax File Numbers, Insurance etc., advice on the Australian way of life.
  • Providing ongoing support during your stay in Australia.

In order to work as a Healthcare professional in Australia, you will need to register with APHRA ( The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). There is a cost to do this (that needs to be paid directly to APHRA) and this cost depends on your qualification and areas of specialisation. Star Personnel does not charge a candidate anything for our service. What’s more, is that should you take up employment in Australia with one of our clients, we can usually get all your expenses re-imbursed to you including this registrations fee and relocation costs – some of which is even paid for by the Australian Government.

Should you wish to know more, please contact us via Email or call us on 021 551 1337.

Why use SA Talent

Are you struggling to find scarce skills in your country? We have the solution for you.

Hire a South African. You probably know that South Africans are prone to painting their faces in the South African flag at sporting events, eating dried salted meat and saying funny things like Howzit – but what you also know is that South Africans are extremely talented and looking for international opportunities.

South Africa is a cosmopolitan country, filled with individuals from many diverse walks of life. Most South Africans speak at least two languages with English being mandatory at schools. Furthermore, many South Africans even have an EU or other passport – so visas are often not a problem.

South Africa is full of IT Personnel (Developers / Support), Engineers (Civil / Mechanical / etc), Professionals (Doctors / Nurses / Caregivers etc), all longing for an opportunity to work abroad.

Let us be your office in South Africa.

  1. We will consult with you to find out exactly what you are looking for. We recruit on both skills and personality.
  2. We then use our extensive database and network of contacts to find your ideal candidate. We have been doing this for over 30 years.
  3. We will interview these candidates face-to-face and screen them according to your set criteria.
  4. We will set up video interviews with you (the client) so that you can meet the shortlist.
  5. We will assist with the further screening, negotiating, visas (if necessary) and on-boarding of the candidate and make sure that they are en-route to you in the shortest possible time (sometimes quicker than a candidate in your own country could give notice and start).
  6. We will keep in contact with the candidate and make sure they are adding value to your organisation and are settled as soon as possible.

Want to know more?

Call +27 21 5511337

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Star Personnel Recruitment

Star Personnel Recruitment