Getting the talent you need for your business is a perennial challenge. You need capable people who can drive your organization forwards. But finding them is never easy. There just aren’t that many extremely talented people out there. And those that do exist are already working all the hours available for their existing employers.
So what’s an entrepreneur like you to do? Here’s some advice for the weary.
Build Your Employee Brand
When you’re a top talented employee, you know it. For that reason, you’re often much more willing to swap jobs to find the best pay and conditions. Cybersecurity professionals in high demand will often hop from one job to the next the moment a new employer offers them a better deal.
As a company, you can take two approaches to talent recruitment. You can either take a “seeker role” where you go out into the marketplace and try to grab whatever talented people you can. Or you can become more like a “magnet,” attracting talented individuals to your enterprise using your glory.
If you’re struggling to attract the right people, try shifting your focus. Work on your employee brand – as Google does – and find ways to make people want to work for you. That way, you can benefit from speculative applications and don’t have to worry so much about going out and recruiting by yourself.
Do Your Interview Process In The Office
Talented people want to get an accurate sense of what it’s going to be like for them if they take a job with you. So, whatever you do, don’t host interviews away from the office – this will seem very strange indeed. Instead, invite candidates to your premises, wine and dine them if you can, and show them all the perks they can expect from working with you. You don’t have to go into full sales pitch mode. But make the perks you offer completely obvious.
Make Your Interview Process Interactive
When it comes to hiring, companies can be very stuffy. Many insist on the traditional interview format where managers probe candidates with endless questions.
Talented individuals, though, don’t appreciate this approach. From their perspective, it’s a massive waste of time. They would much prefer to simply show you what they can do and then let you judge. After all, they have the skills, so why not just use them?
A lot of firms, therefore, are hosting open days where employees simply work in the role to prove their worth. This approach gives you a much better feel for what the candidate will actually be like on the job. And it allows highly talented people to bypass the annoying interview process.
Get People To Interview You
Companies seem to think that we still live and work in the 1970s, an era of high unemployment and poverty. But that’s just not the case. People today have more choice than ever before about where they take a job and how many hours they work. That means that employers need to make jobs with them seem like great deals. People want more than paychecks – they want fulfilling careers.
Getting talented people to interview you is one of the most sophisticated approaches you can take. Being able to ask questions allows them to find out what you’re going to do for them. Remember, operating a company is very different from running a 19th-century workhouse for the poor. Yes – the employee has to bring value to the table, but so do you.
Allow Remote Work
Many talented people weren’t so keen about working in offices, even before the coronavirus pandemic induced a surge of homeworking. That’s because commuting wastes their time and, usually, they prefer to work by themselves, not surrounded by other people.
A few companies are investing in remote hiring, but not many, and that’s a problem. Talented workers don’t necessarily live in the city where you keep your head office. They’re often scattered all over the country, if not the world.
Start Looking On Social Media
You can find out a huge amount about people on social media. Most professionals post links to their work history and education on sites like LinkedIn. They also reveal information about the kind of person they are, telling you whether they’re a good fit for your corporate culture.
Set Your Pay Above The Industry Average
Paying your people above the industry average can have a massive impact on the talent you attract. A lot of employees are sick and tired of average wages, but managerial demands above-average performance. If you want a great company, you have to be willing to pay for it. And that means raising wages.
Most talented employees understand this setup intuitively. They know that companies who are serious about their people always pay a premium over the going market rate. They’re looking to pay 25 percent more for 50 percent better performance. And that’s precisely the kind of environment that resonates with talented people.
Give Talented Employees A Probation Period
The idea of giving talented employees a probation period sounds a little strange, but many of them appreciate it. Usually, they’re not the ones on probation, you are.
Giving them three months of non-employee contractor pay allows them to feel you out. It lets them see if you’re the type of organization they’d like to work for long-term. In that sense, it’s a chance for you to put your best foot forward and sell yourself.
Screen Your Candidates
Interviewing every single candidate applying for roles at your firm would be prohibitively expensive. That’s why many companies now prescreen candidates, ruling out those who don’t make the cut.
The best way to do this is to think about the minimum requirements that you have for a role. For instance, perhaps you require five years of experience in a specific field.
Screening increases the likelihood that only talented employees will come for an interview. This approach avoids time-wasting and provides you with a better selection of people.
Talk About Development
Today’s talented employees want fat paychecks. But they also want firms to develop them, improve their skills, and boost their prospects. In other words, they need to feel like there is potential for progress.
Thus, when you advertise roles, don’t just focus on pay and holiday benefits. Also, talk about the training that people will get and the prospects for climbing the ranks. Discuss how your enterprise always tries to promote from within if it can, and how individuals can get on a positive career track with you.
Check Backgrounds And References
Some people look great on paper but are hiding a dark past. You might have what looks like a world-beating CV in front of you, but the candidate themselves might have a history they don’t want you to know about.
Giving people a second chance is something that a lot of companies do, especially if the person has significant skills. But you still need to be careful. Any employee prepared to omit facts on their CV is also likely to avoid telling you things on the job.
Organize Networking Events For Your Industry
Smart companies know that there is a limited pool of talented people available in any industry. And most of them are already working full-time elsewhere.
That’s why they regularly organize networking events for their industry. Ostensibly, they use these events to “share ideas,” but the main goal is to acquire talented people from other companies.
Events are great for branding. Firms that run them immediately, gain credence among talented employees. And it makes them seem like they are at the top of their respective industry.
Industry events need not be expensive. Just rent a venue for the day, hire a couple of speakers, and use the event to get to know other people in the industry. You never know who might be out there.
Offer Performance-Related Perks
Talented people aren’t free-riders. They know that they have the skills to deliver real value to companies. Unfortunately, not all firms are willing to pay them in proportion to their efforts. And that can annoy the heck out of them.
That’s why highly talented workers are always on the lookout for firms offering performance-related perks and pay. This way, they know that they will get paid in proportion to the value they create and they’re not stuck in some arbitrary pay bracket.
Remember, if a person is creating a lot of value, they can do it anywhere. They don’t have to stick with your company. Paying them less than what they’re worth is actually a massive risk – and not one that you should take.
Go With Your Gut Feeling
Lastly, if somebody seems great on paper but disappoints in real-life, then listen to your gut. Your intuition can often tell you much more about a person than you could ever get from studying their personal statement or listening to them in interview recordings.
Going with gut feeling might sound a little strange, but remember that your unconscious mind’s information capacity is tremendous.