‘My unusual approach to finding staff’

A regional business has opened up to My Business about embarking on a highly unusual method of advertising its latest job vacancy, in a bid to stand out from the crowd as a great place to work.

Michelle Ford, founder of Get Smart Promotional Products, based in Port Stephens on the NSW mid-north coast, says that the need to expand her search to find suitable job candidates is causing her to look at unique ways to advertise vacancies in her business.

“We've got a limited resource pool when you're in a regional location, so we didn't want to limit ourselves to just advertising locally; we wanted to broaden our horizons. We wanted to get the word out there to as wide a community as possible,” she tells My Business.

“We've previously relied on Seek. With Seek we can go [after] the Hunter region. [But for] this role, we've spent the last six months working on a strategy for growth for our business, looking at what we're going to do for the next five years, [and] we've kind of said that this position is vital … to drive our growth forward.”

Rather than compete with a huge range of other advertisers in the larger capital city markets, Michelle decided to use Port Stephens’ influx of tourists over the summer holidays as a means of advertising her vacancy.Get Smart founder Michelle Ford with her job billboard

“The thing about Port Stephens is that it's an amazing location, and it's close enough to the city that you feel connected into the city. Our whole population absolutely swells on the weekends and during holiday season, so we really thought we could tap into that market of people thinking 'This is just paradise, how do I stay here?',” she says.

“[We are] letting people know that actually there is a way you can stay here: we've got an amazingly successful business and we're looking for a superstar to help drive us forward.”

To achieve this, Michelle created a monster-sized advertisement to display on a local billboard (pictured). She says the billboard is strategically located on a major road exiting the popular holiday spot, and hopes it will appeal to visitors who are un-enthused about returning to the big smoke.

The campaign includes a new website for prospective applicants seeking to land a 'job in paradise'.

“Traditionally we go into our really busy holiday season between now [mid-November] and the end of January, so I've pretty much got it booked 'til the end of January.”

Michelle says that despite not knowing anyone who has ever advertised job vacancies this way, doing something a bit out there actually resonates with her business values of trying new things and being quirky.

When asked about how she will determine the success of the strategy, Michelle replies: “That we actually create and get a buzz happening behind the campaign, that we get the message out to the wider audience, and that we manage to have a fabulous pool interested in us and interested in our business; that will be a success for me.”

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