Scott Dundas

Scott Dundas

Better to hire no one than the wrong one, speaker tells Central Alberta businesses

Are you struggling to fill a vacant spot on your business’s payroll? You might be better off leaving it vacant.

Are you struggling to fill a vacant spot on your business’s payroll?

You might be better off leaving it vacant.

Scott Dundas, labour recruitment manager with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s business commercialization branch, described on Thursday the pitfalls of hiring out of desperation. Speaking at breakfast organized by Central Alberta: Access Prosperity, Dundas suggested that hiring the wrong person can be far worse than hiring no one.

“Sometimes saying no at the recruitment stage is the right answer.”

Not only are unsuitable candidates likely to hurt a business’s productivity and profitability, chances are they’ll contribute to turnover numbers in the future. And that’s also costly.

Dundas said the financial outlay required to bring in an entry-level employee — from advertising to training — has been calculated at about $3,500.

“How many times do you want to basically throw $3,500 in the garbage can? When you don’t do recruiting right, that’s one of the side effects.”

Dundas urges businesses to disclose as much information as they can to job applicants at the outset. They should also keep their core values in mind when interviewing, he added.

“As much as you may need that worker, if you’re sitting there and that person is giving you answers that don’t line up with the way you do your business, saying, ‘No thank you,’ is the right decision.”

Retention should go hand-in-hand with recruitment, said Dundas. Ensure new employees are trained properly and given time to build their skills and confidence.

For those who have come from outside the region or country, try to make them feel welcome through such actions as introducing them to members of the community and local organizations, said Dundas. Impress upon them that they’ll have opportunities to learn and advance within your business.

Some staff turnover is inevitable, and probably desirable, said Dundas.

“If it’s somebody who doesn’t really want to be there, it’s OK if they go.”

Scarce labour was a problem in Alberta a few years ago, and will be again, suggested Dundas. He said the province anticipates a 77,000-worker shortage in 10 years.

Central Alberta: Access Prosperity is a regional economic association dedicated to attracting investment to the area.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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