August unemployment figures show the job market in Australia may be strengthening with the unemployment rate declining to 6.2 per cent after it rose from six to 6.3 per cent in July after several months of positive jobs growth in the second quarter.

Now this might not seem like much to celebrate, but we also need to take into account the number of new job seekers who came into the market in July after a change to the Government’s Newstart program increased the participation rate. The reality is, however, that new full-time jobs growth has been outstripping analyst predictions for some time now with the August figures nearly three times the rate expected.

Increased and consistent new jobs growth over the last three months has also continued to heat up in the building sector, with demand for skilled white collar professionals very strong. This is despite recent indications that the housing boom may be settling down based on the auction clearances on the eastern seaboard in recent weeks.

Whilst there has been high demand for qualified tradespeople for some time, a real shortage of well qualified and experienced white collar professionals is starting to emerge, and the demand is highest for drafters, estimators and site supervisors. This is seen the most in Sydney, with Melbourne and Brisbane following not far behind. However, demand in South Australia is still subdued, reflecting the general state of the job market in SA where the unemployment rate is the highest in the country.

Companies looking to attract estimators, drafters and site managers can expect to see competition for top talent continue for some time and they will need to put their best foot forward with their recruitment practices if they want to snare the best people. They will also need to ensure they have strong engagement practices in place to retain existing staff who are likely to be receiving headhunting calls from rival companies.

Here are three tips to help you in the race for talent for your business:

Spread your net wide

When looking for staff, use a wide network. Advertise on the internet, engage a specialist recruitment firm, ask your clients and staff if they know anyone, and use social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn to seek referrals.

Clear your schedule

Ensure you set aside adequate time in your schedule to complete the entire process expediently. If you have multiple candidates to interview, interview them on the same day. If there are others involved in the process, ensure their schedule is clear too. Many a qualified job candidate has been lost because the person doing the second interview was not available for an extended period of time. If you like them and they have the skills you are looking for, move quickly, as the chances are someone else likes them too.

Win their heart

In a job-rich market, job seekers are making decisions about who they want to work for as much as you are making decisions about them. They will likely have multiple choices, so you need to make sure you stand out. Through the selection process, take time to get to understand what motivates and drives them, and make sure you clearly align this with your employee value proposition. Facts and figures about your business will make them listen, but the way you make them feel will make them act.