Winning the war to top talent has always been a challenge, even for companies perceived to be at the top of their game.
Pursuing top talent may take on a different approach for smaller firms versus larger competitors, but each will have their own appeal to a specific candidate pool. Regardless of size, the need to execute your strategy effectively never diminishes.
Are there truly differences between what attracts one candidate to a smaller company versus a larger company? The short answer is Yes…………. But many core, common requirements seem universal, regardless of company size. Here are some important items to understand and address when recruiting top talent:
Tell a good story – Words have power. Everyone wants to work for a company who embraces a similar culture and work environment that aligns with their desires, regardless of company sized. Take time to understand a candidate’s desires and motivations as it applies to making a job change, and be sure your firm can satisfy those key desires or motivations. Speak to them directly.
Sell what you have – If you do not have the latest and greatest in technology for example, don’t try to cover that fact up. Instead, assess and catalog other advantages and strengths your company may have, and be prepared to showcase those strengths at the appropriate time during an interview.
Money still matters, but money should never be the primary reason to hire someone – Competitive wages are still a necessity, but that does not mean you will be forced to hire at the top 10% of the market. Besides salary and benefits, more and more candidates are increasingly interested in what a company stands for socially and collectively, as well as understanding the products or services a company provides to their clients.
Flexibility can be key – This is not new, and has always been important to employees; but flexibility has taken on even greater importance with the emergence of the millennial generation. Work from home policies, management by goal attainment rather than task oversight, flexible schedules and work hours when appropriate for the job responsibilities, and even job sharing (part time workers sharing the same job) can be strategic advantages you can offer to attract top talent.
Get referrals – Your employees know your firm, so they should have a good idea of the type of individual that will fit in well. Ask your best employees to reach out to people they know and let them know you are hiring.
Replace or Upgrade with the future in mind – Whether you are forced to replace a staff member, or upgrading the team, keep the future in mind. Hiring new talent is the time to improve your ability to meet future growth or service goals, while sharing that vision with the candidates being interviewed.
Keep the 80 / 20 rule in mind – Top talent is not necessarily the person with the exact mix of skills you are looking for. They may appear to be an easier decision, but as mentioned before, keep the future in mind. If you do not have a clear growth path for this “perfect fit”, they may not last long. On the other hand, if someone has 80% of the key or core skills and experience you are looking for, most likely you should interview them. You may find it is the 20% of the skills they lack that make your opportunity attractive to them, and that period of professional growth will improve loyalty and retention.
Hire the smartest candidate you can identify – Top talent likes to work with smart people, even those more junior in experience. There is a difference between current skills and latent talent. Talent is something you are most likely born with, skills are developed through experience. But just having a set of desired skills does not necessarily mean someone is the best candidate as previously mentioned. High talent and intelligence almost always end up being more valuable to a company than just specific skills. Be sure your interview process has questions that help uncover intelligence and talent, as well as desired skills.
Website – Is it your worst enemy or your best friend when it comes to presenting the image of your firm you desire? In today’s world, it must be mobile friendly, and current. In a tech savvy world, it is safe to say that close to 100% of any technical candidate is going to visit your website, and form an opinion before they interview with your company.
Social Media – FaceBook, Linkedin, Twitter – All create an image and impression of your firm. If you use them sparingly, use them wisely. Keep personal, negative comments off these sites (including your personal accounts).
Passive recruiting and raising your company’s brand awareness should be a constant theme to attract the best talent available. If VAR Staffing can help you grow or upgrade your technical staff, we welcome the opportunity to share our best practices and discuss your needs. Call us at 972-996-0966 or email Awilliamson@VARstaffing.com