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Recruitment is one of the most important activities any business carries out. A company is only as good as its employees, after all. But more often than not, recruitment isn’t as straightforward as it seems on the surface. There are plenty of challenges inherent in the hiring process – and when you’re in a regional area like Newcastle or the Hunter, your locale can throw additional challenges into the mix.

In 2019, GWG hosted its first Think Tank forum, gathering some of our region’s industry leaders to discuss their experiences and insights on talent attraction, selection and recruitment in Newcastle. This event helped us to gain some valuable insights into the most common challenges faced by local businesses when approaching the hiring process.

Below, we’ll highlight a few of these challenges and explore some ways the recruitment agency avenue can help make the hiring process easier and more successful.

Most common hiring challenges

Here are some of the most common recruitment challenges faced by businesses across the board…

  • Talent shortage. There are talent shortages for many roles in the local region, particularly for specialised roles – often businesses will see the same candidates.
  • Time to hire. Many hires take between six weeks to three months, and the length of the process often doesn’t meet the business’ time constraints.
  • Selling our region. There’s an increasing need to have to sell Newcastle as a location to candidates from outside the area. This often goes hand-in-hand with the need to develop creative packages that could attract talent out of major cities.
  • Comfortable candidates. It’s difficult to entice local talent to change jobs and many are not willing to move easily.
  • Red tape. A lot of internal paperwork and approvals are involved in getting headcount approved and job descriptions agreed upon.
  • Counter-offers. Managing counter-offers from existing employers for high-quality candidates can become difficult.
  • Accepting okay. It can become tempting to settle for second-best if the search for the ‘perfect unicorn’ proves fruitless.

The local recruitment agency offering

In order to mitigate some of the above challenges, many companies choose to engage external assistance. Here are some of the most common reasons local businesses do (or should!) choose a recruitment agency to take the lead on their hiring…

  • Experts in hiring. Recruiters are experts in their field and have extensive networks and access to large amounts of talent, so they may already know the people you need.
  • Specialist roles. With a niche or specialist role, it can be challenging to find a candidate that suits; an agency will have more reach, given they recruit year-round.
  • Multiple roles. Recruiting for multiple roles makes things even more difficult, especially on top of the normal duties of a company’s hiring manager – often external help is essential.
  • Active talent. Good recruiters will know when talent are exploring new opportunities, or might be ready to move but won’t likely apply to job ads.
  • Local knowledge. Most agencies outside the region do not understand the unique Newcastle market, lifestyle, salaries and culture as well as local agencies do.
  • Market intel. Recruiters can provide insights on market activity, trends and workforce structures, along with detailed salary packaging advice.

Tips for working with a local recruitment agency

If your business has decided to go down the agency route, you might be interested in a few quick tips to make the most of the recruitment experience…

  • Have a healthy sense of scepticism. There’s variation in the quality of the experiences on offer from different agencies. Businesses need to be careful who they deal with to ensure they (and their current and future staff) are looked after.
  • Make sure the agency is knowledgeable. A good recruitment agency will make the effort and take the time to learn the employer’s culture and team dynamics, and to find the right fit for the role.
  • Be aware of the timeframes involved. The recruitment process can take longer than you think. Remember that timely feedback is important for candidates – good candidates shouldn’t be left in the dark.
  • Don’t forgo the employer-candidate relationship. Even when working with a recruitment agency,employers need to work directly with candidates throughout the process to ensure a proper relationship is formed before hiring.

If your company is in need of recruitment help (or if you’re interested in upcoming events similar to the 2019 Think Tank forum), we’re here to chat! Give us a call on 4905 0130 or email us at

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