Looking for new talent for your business? Here are some new, fresh and innovative approaches to finding new hires.
It is no secret that there is a “war for talent” in the business world to attract the best and the brightest, including in the highly competitive fields of Professional Services. As this fight continues, and while some of the same best practices we have known for decades still apply, there are other cool, innovative approaches that firms have successfully employed in ensuring the top candidates accept their offers.
Some things never change, and many of the best practices for attracting top talent still hold today.
It still starts here. This does not mean you have to pay at the top of the market, but if you want the top candidates for your firm, you need to at least be within market range. And with more and more states and cities enacting pay equity legislation (including Massachusetts) it is important to know that you not only need to review compensation against the market, but also against gender specific compliance rules.
When it comes to benefits, medical, retirement and generous paid time off continue to be the “must haves” to be competitive, though dental, vision, life insurance and commuter benefits will sweeten your offering in candidates’ eyes.
Providing development opportunities is not the same as providing a career path. Managers do not need to guarantee promotions; rather, top talent is interested in continual learning and exposure to new experiences. By creating a culture of learning—with solid reimbursement policies for job related trainings and programs—your workplace becomes that much more attractive. In an industry based on close, trusted interactions and relationships between a firm’s employees and its clients, this continues to be critically important. For example, a law firm may offer an “emerging leaders” program for high potential junior associates and paralegals, or an accounting firm might offer reverse mentoring opportunities where more seasoned accountants can develop their technology and social media skills by learning from more junior accountants.
Top candidates want to work for organizations that make a difference, whether they are for-profit or non-profit. Top talent considers it a plus when giving back to the community is a core value that is encouraged amongst the staff.
When dealing with a war for talent, a disciplined and strategic approach to the candidate interview process is essential. It is no longer about making candidates squirm or having them feel grateful to just be considered. Hiring managers and HR professionals with Professional Services firms now need to be cognizant of three primary areas:
If you find the right candidate, you do not need to keep looking. No single person is perfect for any job, but there are still excellent candidates and if you find them, hire them. We lose too much time and too many good candidates with unnecessarily drawn out and over-extensive comparison shopping. This is not about settling; it is about recognizing and moving forward with a good fit when you see it.
The best candidates are often internal referrals, however, the age-old policy of paying out a referral bonus after 90 days is outdated. This type of policy was put in place to prevent employees from referring subpar performing candidates, but the fact is no employee wants to refer subpar candidates and jeopardize their reputation. So a better approach is:
Professional services firms thrive on doing extra for their clients, and the same should apply to the hiring process. Giving every candidate something that is company-branded makes them feel a part of the team. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive —a water bottle or mousepad does the trick. And when job offers are extended, get creative. Send flowers or swag to the new hire’s home—companies that do this have seen significant increases in their “close” rates, and it gives you a much better chance at hiring (and retaining) the candidate you truly want!