How to Attract Top Talent in a Competitive Market

by Rich DeMatteo on September 11, 2014 · 1 comment

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Recruiting exceptional talent for your business can be tough at the best of times, but if you’re in an industry where the competition for super-stars is fierce, you really need to be proactive in your approach. Gone are the days of simply posting an advertisement and hoping for the best – now it’s time to get creative with your hiring strategies, if you want to secure the best employees for each job.

Never mind the big wigs

In the United States, one start-up founder is competing with the likes of Google and Facebook to attract top talent to his business. New Zealand born Anthony Smith, founder and CEO of customer relationship-management software firm, Insightly, is utilising innovative strategies to more than double his work force this year.

According to Smith, business owners and CEOs of smaller companies should leverage their business size. Although working for the big industry players can have upsides, there are plenty of perks to working for a firm that is small and nimble. He suggest companies emphasise the fact that in boutique-sized companies there is less bureaucratic red tape for staff to get through, plus more opportunity to have their ideas heard.

In addition, Smith says to put forward the idea that they are more likely to make a difference in their work at a small firm.  People love it when they can help others, or even lead the course of a company over time. As a result, this is an ideal feature to sell prospects on.

It’s all about the perks

There are plenty of other creative ways to recruit top talent as well. One of the best is to offer the right kind of perks. After all, you can’t expect to be able to compete for the best candidates if you don’t offer the type, and level, of compensation that potential hires value. While many CEOs and business owners may think it’s all about salary levels, in actual fact, all-star candidates can often be lured with other types of perks.

A case in point is to consider creative benefits such as stock options or equity in the business; health benefits; time off for voluntary work, or matched donations; and support of professional or personal development through coaching, mentoring, or further education.

Seek professional advice

It is also helpful to hire a recruitment company to maximise your chances of finding the right talent.

Specialist recruitment firms have the tools and the industry knowledge to help locate the best person for the job, and can make the process easier and less stressful. Andrew Brushfield, Director – Victoria and New Zealand at Robert Half says that, “If you want to hire the very best talent, you need to make sure that they are finding out about the job. Advertising a position doesn’t necessarily mean that the right people will see it. Recruiters, on the other hand, have a large database to mine, and can target and contact people who are appropriate for the role.”

Similarly, it’s important to project the image of the company correctly in order to attract top talent. If your job ads are bland and boring, candidates will assume that the company is too. This is another way in which recruitment firms can excel.

“You need to be able to grab the attention of potential hires in the first few seconds that they read a job ad,” says Brushfield. “As recruiters, writing advertisements day in and day out, we have a much better grasp on the type of language and format needed to be used in order to be noticed”.

Consider taking advantage of some of these ideas next time you need to hire the “best-of-the-best” candidates. After all, the most critical element in any business is its staff, so don’t take it lightly.

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