How to attract talent in a competitive market

The eternal challenge of attracting talent often seems elusive.

That talented candidate you just interviewed will receive multiple job offers.

How do you influence their decision to accept your offer? 

Stand Out

Don’t even try and attract the best talent if you don’t stand out in any way in your market.

Are you the oldest business? Or the best? Do you have a compelling story? Or unique products or services? Are you the most innovative? Or maybe have the best customers? Perhaps your culture is best in class. Is your office the coolest in the best location?

If you can’t differentiate yourself in some way to stand out from the crowd, why would you attract the cream?

If you have an ‘ah ha’ moment in realizing you don’t stand out in any way, it’s never too late.

Commit to brainstorming ways in which you can stand out and create a point of difference.

Then tell the next gun candidate at interview.

Fish in several ponds

You wouldn’t fish in the exact spot on the same river day after day if you never caught a prize fish.

Adopt an approach that sees you fishing in several ponds in attracting talent. 

Of course you can fish for candidates through traditional job advertising. But complement it with a battery of other fishing lines including listing on your website, emailing your network requesting candidates of interest, social media shout outs, external agencies on a success fee only arrangement and employee introductions with a finder’s fee paid.

Sell the sausage and the sizzle

The sausage is what you sell. Craft and practice your perfect pitch. Then pitch what you sell passionately and clearly to every candidate. 

The sizzle is what you do so well that makes you great. 

Back up the sausage and the sizzle through providing resources to candidates that demonstrate your great work, reputation and market presence. 

Clarity & transparency

Start by explaining the process and timeline. Explain what you will be doing and what they will need to do in the process. Provide a timeline for the process from start to finish.

It’s amazing how many businesses I meet that are unable to define a role they are hiring for. Think about it from the candidate’s position. Would you accept a role that is unclear? So take the time to document the key priorities and a tight position description for the role. Refer to this in the interview.

Be prepared for questions in advance and answer them comprehensively and honestly. Allow enough time for the candidate to ask questions and don’t rush them.

Involve a star-studded line up during the interview process

Present a dynamic and diverse group of people to the candidate throughout the interview process whenever possible.

Internally, in addition to a direct report, be open to including peers in the latter interviews to connect with the candidate and assess fit.  

Externally, be open to a trusted advisor/mentor conducting an informal phone call late in the process with the candidate, to provide an independent opinion.

Candidates observe this, and in my experience, this only enhances their opinion of you as a potential employer.

Move quickly

First to move often wins.

It is an overlooked advantage. But often the first employer to make an offer wins the day.

Find the right balance between a rigorous recruitment process and timely execution of offer.

If your instincts are screaming at you to make a hiring decision, fast track the process and make an offer now. 

I’d love to hear about your innovative ideas around attracting talent to your business.  

Darren Bourke

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Cheers, Darren K Bourke