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10 Ways to Attract Real Talent to Your Organization

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        While it is true that there are a lot of talented people who have found themselves unemployed recently, the majority of the top talent you want to attract is still employed.  So why should they leave their current organization for yours?  Below is a guide to help you put your best foot forward. 

1.  Be ready to sell your organization vs. your competitor’s
        Be prepared to answer the following questions:  Why is your company more stable than your competitor's or a candidate's current organization?  Why is your culture better?  Why is your compensation/benefits package better? Even if the person you’re interviewing doesn’t directly ask them, these questions are top of mind for anyone considering a career change right now.
        You should also be prepared to discuss any recent successes or key business wins your company has had, and be able to detail how they will affect the new hire when he or she comes on board.   

2.  Manage your brand in the marketplace
        You can’t control all the information that will appear online about your company, but there are some things you can do to manage your brand on the web:

  • Make sure your website is current.  Outdated information looks sloppy and suggests you’re understaffed or not organized enough to regularly maintain your site.
  • Complete a search of your company online to see what prospective hires will find when they do the same.  If there are any issues that need to be addressed, you’ll know it before you interview and can bring it up then.
  • Be discreet when you’re looking to hire.  Minimize your exposure by keeping your company name off the job boards.  You or your executive search consultant should be networked enough to be able to identify top talent without splashing your company’s name around town.  This will keep the flood of phone calls and resumes from unqualified candidates from overwhelming you and your staff. 

3.  Tighten the interview process
        A long, drawn out interview process is a common frustration our candidates and clients have voiced.  True talent will only be available for a short time before another organization brings them on board.  It is in your company’s best interest to commit to a timeline that allows you to be thorough, but not drag the process out too long.  Be respectful of the candidate’s time and also that of your team who is involved in the interview and hiring process.  Coordinate schedules so interviewees meet with multiple people each visit to ensure more of the team gets the chance to meet them, but doesn’t require numerous returns to your office. 

4.  Maintain your network, manage expectations
        Recently some clients have stated that their companies are in a hiring freeze, and because of that, they are hesitant to meet with new talent.  Their concerns range from fear of disappointing the candidate because there is no position to wanting to avoid the frustration of meeting someone they want but can’t bring on right away.  Always take the opportunity to meet with true talent, but manage expectations when there isn’t an open position.  This strengthens your network and keeps you tuned in to what is happening in the market.  You may decide that this person is so good that you can create a position for them.  And, you never know when someone on your team may leave; if you’re well-connected, you can fill that vacancy quickly. 

5.  Be realistic about your expectations
        When evaluating the position and setting the budget, make sure your expectations align with what the current market demands.  Truly top talent comes at a price.  Investigate the marketplace yourself, or discuss it with your search consultant to make sure that you know what level of talent and experience to expect given your salary range.   

6.  Include senior management in the interview process
        Wow potential hires by showing how much you want them to join your team.  Recently we were working with a candidate who was being pursued by a number of banks.  Two of the opportunities were very similar and she had narrowed her focus to those two positions.  During her third round of interviews with one of the banks, she met with a peer, the manager, a senior manager and the CEO.  Following the interview, she commented that everyone she met with shared a common vision.  She was also highly impressed by the CEO’s approachable style and his knowledge of her and the people she’d met with.  Not only did he take the time to meet with her, he was prepared in advance to have a real conversation, not just a meet and greet. 

7.  Ask great interview questions
        The best predictor of future performance is past performance under similar conditions or situations.  Think about the responsibilities and goals for the person who will assume this position and ask questions that reveal how the candidate has handled similar responsibilities in the past.
        Take some time to ensure that each person that participates in the interview process is prepared to ask questions that gain genuine insight into potential hires.  Also, having questions prepared in advance will put interviewers at ease and give them some consistent interview content with which to evaluate and compare multiple candidates. 

8.  Be passionate about your company and this person’s opportunity
        Truly great organizations have a clear vision that is shared by every employee.  Meet with your team to review the goals of this new hire and what you hope each candidate will take away about your organization following the interview.
        Make sure that anyone involved in the interview process is a positive representation of your company culture and values.  Following several extremely positive interviews with one of our client companies, a candidate was asked to return for one last meeting with someone who had been on vacation the last time she had interviewed.  She arrived for the final interview prepared to confirm the decision she’d already made that this was the company she wanted to join.  During that meeting, the interviewer commented that he was interviewing elsewhere and described a very different environment than what her previous meetings revealed.  Soured by that meeting, the candidate ultimately decided to decline the company’s offer. 

9.  Be candid about the issues
        No job is perfect.  While it may seem like you want to paint a rosy picture to make your company more attractive to potential hires, a real portrayal of your organization will be far more appealing.  Honestly discuss any issues your company or a person in this position will face.  This will give potential hires the opportunity to pass if the challenges seem too great.  It will also reveal how they might handle these situations if you open a dialogue during the interview.  You may find that this person is not ready to take them on. 

10.  Communicate your on-boarding and training process
       You might think that you can plan for your new hire, once you know who it will be.  However, a clearly communicated on boarding process and training plan will set your organization apart from others pursuing a candidate.  Map out the first day, week, month, quarter, and year, and describe what you expect the new hire to have achieved at each point.  Again, this opens the dialogue with the candidate to ensure that your expectations and theirs align.  And, once an offer is extended, the plan is already set and ready to be put into action.

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