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Innovative Approaches to Attracting Talent

It is no secret that there is a “war for talent” in the business world to attract the best and the brightest. As this fight continues, and although some of the same best practices we have known for decades still apply, there are other cool, innovative approaches that organizations have successfully used in ensuring the top candidates accept their offers.  

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It is no secret that there is a “war for talent” in the business world to attract the best and the brightest. As this fight continues, and although some of the same best practices we have known for decades still apply, there are other cool, innovative approaches that organizations have successfully used in ensuring the top candidates accept their offers.  

It is no secret that there is a “war for talent” in the business world to attract the best and the brightest. As this fight continues, and although some of the same best practices we have known for decades still apply, there are other cool, innovative approaches that organizations have successfully used in ensuring the top candidates accept their offers.  

The Tried and True 

Some things never change, and many of the best practices for attracting top talent still hold today. Here are some tried and true methods:  

Competitive Pay and Benefits

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 organizationyou 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 need to review compensation against not only the market but also genderspecific compliance rules.  

When it comes to benefits, medical, retirement, and generous paid time off continue to be the “must haves” to be competitivethough dental, vision, life insurance, and commuter benefits will sweeten your offering in candidates’ eyes.   

Create Development Opportunities

Providing development opportunities is not the same as providing a career path. Organization 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 learningwith solid reimbursement policies for jobrelated trainings and programs—your workplace becomes that much more attractive. In an industry based on close, trusted interaction between the salesperson and the customer, this continues to be critically important. 

Good Corporate Citizenship

Top candidates want to work for organizations that make a difference, whether they are for-profit or nonprofit. Top talent considers it a plus when giving back to the community is a core value that is encouraged among the staff.  

Innovative Approaches 

If the tried and true aren’t helping, here are a few innovative approaches you can try: 

More Strategic Interviewing

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 just to be considered. Hiring managers and HR professionals at organizations now need to be cognizant of three primary areas: 

1) SellingIn a hyper-competitive market for top talent, you need to sell your organization as an employer of choice and an employer someone would want to work forYou need to clearly articulate why it is more than just “a great place to work.” 

2) Being realistic about the jobOrganizations need to give candidates the opportunity to self-select out of consideration. Give them a tour, show them their workstations, show them the maintenance and service department, and let them talk to someone else in the position. In the end, there should be no doubt about the nature and expectations of the job. 

3) Ask the right questionsDo not have all of your questions closed-ended, with answers of “yes” or “no.” Use open-ended, behavioral questions to discern if the candidate has the right skills for the role. This method will ensure that the person’s core skills are covered but, more importantlyalso provide you with an idea of what he or she will contribute to the organization’s future.  

Don’t be a “shopper 

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 themhire them. We lose too much time and too many good candidates because of drawnout, over-extensive comparison shopping. This is not about settling; it is about recognizing a good fit when you see it.  

Internal referrals

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 candidates, but the fact is that no employee wants to refer subpar candidates and jeopardize his or her reputation. So a better approach is:   

  • Pay out the referral bonus as soon as the new hire starts. If the employee does not last 90 days, that is on the hiring manager, not the employee who made the referral.   
  • Use referral bonuses only for specific, hard-to-fill jobs.  
  • Make the bonus substantial enough so that it will grab your employees’ attention and incentivize them to take action. It will still be less than what you would pay a recruiting agency to fill the job. 

SWAG! 

Organizations thrive on doing extra for their customers, and the same should apply to the hiring process. Giving candidates 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 mouse pad 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!  

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