Reshaping Your Recruitment ‘Box’


Reshaping Your Recruitment ‘Box’

Reshaping your recruitment box involves keeping an open mind and being prepared to invest the time to find the right person for the job. 

I’ve experienced a significant increase in small business owners asking for help in building their initial small team. Often the business owner has become extra busy and realised they need an employee, but they ask:

What type of person do I need?

What skill set?

How do I choose the right person? 

And then some. I suggest putting the ‘must have’ skills into your recruitment box then what is it you ‘would like to have’. How can the musts and the like to haves be put together to ‘reshape your recruitment box?’

There are certainly many considerations but let’s focus on finding the right person.

I’m first to admit that it’s not always easy. In my experience when building your first team you need to use a different approach to the traditional recruitment methodology. You need to think broadly at the skill mix and have a good think about the personality you are looking for. Not a clone of you but skills that are not your strength and the tasks that bog you down, the ones you don’t enjoy doing,

Actually, I think the broad thinking approach should be something a small business owner should always consider.

Why not the new technology for recruiting?

In this technology age, most professional recruiters apply a software program to scan applications looking for specific key words and skills. While this key technology is great for very specific roles and for large business when it comes to small business, so many great applicants are missed. Small business needs a suite of skills, which sometimes is hard to even articulate. 

There needs to be an intimate understanding of your business and where your business is heading. Why and how you are growing.

What should you be looking for?

Of course, there are essential skills; however, what are the unwritten skills. What if there was someone that did not have experience in doing exactly what you want but has the transferable skills. Possibly their qualification does not match exactly but can be mapped across successfully.

An open mind and broader thinking are needed to identify persons that do not necessarily fit into the ‘box’. You need to think if the ‘box’ is reshaped. This applicant may be an even better new employee. 

Explore through an initial conversation if just maybe you’ve found the right person. What about a person with a disability? Communities are rich with skilled people who just happen to have a disability, but they are often overlooked – too hard, or worse I’ve had someone say to me “how would a disabled person know what to do?”

  • Over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability. That’s 1 in 5 people.
  • 18.6% of females and 18.0% of males in Australia have disability.

Let me share a recent example of exactly what I mean

My client needed 2 Project Coordinators with the brief being very clear – exceptional communication skills both written and verbal along with a degree in behavioural science. A mature approach with the ability to make informed decisions promptly.

If I had used the scanning software, my short list would have been completely different – I was looking to match the brief but also looking at skills from other disciplines that could be matched across as well as the individual life skills. Most importantly, in speaking with them, I had a strong focus on their attitude.

My shortlist

  1. A person who had not been in the paid workforce for 12 years and was wheelchair dependant.
  2. A new graduate in her early 20’s.
  3. An exercise scientist working at the Institute of Sport.

I was confident that in a ‘reshaped box’ each of these applicants could excel in this project coordinator role.


  1. Each had exceptional ‘can do’ attitudes
  2. Clear willingness to learn
  3. Open and honest during the initial interview
  4. Good, down to earth humans

The successful applicant

My client ended up offering a job to the three applicants with them all accepting. She reshaped her thinking and has grown her team with 3 very different people with different skills but with the right attitudes. A great balance and I’m excited to watch the growth of this enterprise. 

Lessons to learn

  1. Look outside your ‘box’ of must haves
  2. Just because a person has a disability does not mean they can’t do a particular job
  3. Attitude is critical. Someone may have all the skills in the world but if the attitude is wrong then they are the wrong person.

As an HR Business Partner, I’m lucky to know my clients and their business intimately. It is worth the extra effort in finding your new team member. Remember, you can successfully reshape your recruitment box.


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