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Weir Minerals: Tips to fill roles in a talent shortage

Xref met with Shelby Lindsay, Talent Acquisition Manager at Weir Minerals Australia, who shared with us how her team is overcoming hiring challenges in market where it is hard to find suitable candidates.

Shelby Lindsay, Talent Acquisition Manager for Weir Minerals
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“Implementing Xref has been a key driver in progressing candidates to the offer stage purely because our process has been reduced by days.”


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Opt-in rate for referees to be considered for future roles

For over 150 years, Weir Minerals has been manufacturing heavy-duty technology and engineering products that are essential on mining sites. Committed to a low-carbon future, the company is dedicated to making processes like mining more efficient and sustainable. 

In Australia, mining is a dominant industry and so Weir Minerals Australia faces continuous recruiting demands. And, as with other industries, hiring has become more difficult. 

The labour market is short of candidates, especially for blue-collar roles, and efforts to attract a candidate’s attention is often scattered across social media platforms. Sourcing candidates is a challenge because talent no longer applies for job postings in droves like they used to. 

Shelby Lindsay started with Weir Minerals Australia last year as the company’s first internal Talent Acquisition Manager. Prior to this, Weir Minerals Australia had been using a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) agency to handle hiring needs. 

Shelby recently spoke with Xref about overcoming hiring challenges in a candidate-short market and how creating more efficiencies with tools like Xref can help. 

When Shelby started with Weir Minerals, she had two key challenges:

  1. building an internal recruiting system, and 
  2. dealing with a tough talent market.  

Says Shelby,

I’ve been recruiting for over a decade. If you told me when I started out I wouldn’t have enough candidates apply to a job ad I wouldn’t have believed you.” 

One of Shelby’s first goals was to streamline recruiting to speed up the hiring process and give her small team more time to source the right candidates. Xref was one of the first platforms Shelby implemented to achieve this goal of streamlining recruiting to ultimately time to hire. 

Read on for key insights on creative hiring strategies and saving time during the recruiting process. 

1. Tell us about hiring at Weir Minerals

At any time Weir Minerals have about 80 roles open. When I started, we only had a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) with some recruiting functionality. One of the first things I did was identify processes we could streamline quickly. I work with a team of three, so efficiency is essential. 

2. The mining technology industry is very specialised. Does that impact hiring for you?

Engineering and mining are male-dominated industries. We have gender and diversity initiatives in place to help balance this.

As for the wider industry, it’s a candidate-short market right now, especially in the blue-collar space. We have strong targets around our time to fill a job opening because, at any one time, a candidate will likely be talking to two or three employers. 

There’s also a housing crisis, so even if we get enough positions filled we also need to think about where to house them. There are definitely a lot of factors that influence our work. 

3.  How are you working to overcome the talent shortage market? 

When it comes to attracting top talent, we’ve had to be more creative than ever with candidate sourcing strategies. I push my team to be open and innovative. There’s no idea that’s silly or disregarded. 

It’s a very different market right now so we need to be proactive in the recruitment process. My experience of hiring for Weir Minerals is that it is difficult to find the right candidate quickly. We are rarely able to find a suitable candidate simply by posting a job ad on a job board. 

We use different tools like LinkedIn for proactive sourcing and maintaining a talent pipeline. On the blue-collar side, we make sure we:

  • are at trade expos, 
  • build relationships with TAFEs, and 
  • have a strong referral program

These creative recruitment methods form a large part of Weir Mineral’s candidate sourcing process and as a result, have seen great candidates come through the door. 

As part of our hiring process, we also make sure what we’re offering as a business is going to be attractive to each potential candidate. Where we can, we focus on location, flexibility and job share roles. 

We’re really focused on increasing gender diversity. Flexibility is a selling point here but we also offer competitive salaries. We often review our policies and procedures and look at where we can improve and be more inclusive for our open positions. 

“We work off the assumption that candidates are speaking to a number of employees at one time. That’s the reality and we’re all in the same boat.” 

4. Why did you start using Xref?

Implementing a tool like Xref was the first thing I wanted to do when I looked at what processes we could streamline. 

I started with a team of three people who had never worked together before and we had a lot of candidates to manage.

Each candidate requires two reference checks. One reference check takes about 15 minutes. And that’s only after you get the referee on the phone. Our team could spend hours playing phone tag and trying to tee up time to chat with referees. We just didn’t have the capacity to keep up with the demand. 

For our general level roles, there’s also an expectation that we will hire quickly. We’ve had to move quicker than we ever have before as it’s a matter of potentially hours before a candidate is offered another role. 

I had used online reference checking in previous roles and knew it was a solution that would save us a lot of time. So, we implemented Xref within two months of my starting at Weir Minerals Australia. 

5. What’s life now like using Xref? 

We are really efficient. Before Xref, we struggled getting referees on the phone and conducting compliance checks was really slowing us down. With Xref, we can choose and tailor the questions we want to ask really quickly and send out requests. No phone tag needed. 

Candidates enjoy having full control over who we are reaching out to and can forewarn people when reference requests come through. There’s no worry we are going to contact someone without their consent. 

The fraud detection Xref offers has also been huge. We’ve had a few cases where concerns have been flagged over shared IP addresses. It helps us get a better handle on the process overall. 

Overall, Xref has allowed my team to be more strategic in the way they are recruiting. Our process is more streamlined and we are much more efficient. 

Implementing Xref has been a key driver in progressing candidates to the offer stage purely because our process has been reduced by days. 

“Implementing Xref has been a key driver in progressing candidates to the offer stage purely because our process has been reduced by days.”

6. What are your favourite things about the Xref platform? 

It’s so easy to go in and see who still has reference checks pending and who has their criteria met. I can see on one page which references are outstanding. It’s so convenient. 

Other platforms I’ve used haven’t made it easy to split the data so I could see exactly who still had pending references. 

I love how easy it is to export data into a PDF. I export data and transfer it straight to hiring managers. There’s no fiddling with the returned reference reports. I just do a straight export and it’s done. 

I’d also like to shout out the Customer Success team. When we implemented Xref, I was new and trying to get my head around the business. The Xref team provided fantastic support. 

I received regular check-ins and whenever I’ve reached out with an issue there’s been a quick efficient response. All tech issues are resolved quickly. 

There’s no comparison with other businesses. 

“The Xref team were a fantastic support. I received regular check-ins and whenever I’ve reached out with an issue there’s been a quick efficient response.”

7. What are your plans for the future? Are any new innovations on the horizon? 

A lot of the roles we’ve been recruiting for are blue-collar. But, now we’re starting to focus on senior roles and this is where the People Search function will come in handy for us. Generally, past referees have been managers, so we have a talent pool of senior leaders waiting for us to tap into to fill open roles. When I was comparing options on the market, the People Search function really stood out as a point of difference and I look forward to using it more. 

Final thoughts 

Overall, implementing Xref has seen the Weir Minerals Australia recruiting team enjoy big wins. 

Hiring during a talent shortage can be challenging. As Shelby shares, speed to offer is essential in a market where candidates are often speaking to two or three employers at the same time. A key way recruiters can tighten their hiring process is to implement technology that reduces manual work. 

In the case of Weir Minerals Australia, implementing Xref replaced the need for recruiters to verbally call referees for reference checks, a move that’s saving the team hours of time every week. The recruiting team is also innovative when it comes to sourcing candidates ensuring they have a presence on job boards, at institutions like TAFEs and at events like trade fairs.

Keeping a close eye on policies and procedures to ensure inclusiveness and adherence with diversity and inclusion principles has also been key. Shelby and the team work hard to ensure more female representation in a male-dominated industry.

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