Getting a lot of applicants in front of you is great—if they’re all the kind of prospects you want. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems a company can have is attracting the right kind of candidates for the job. No matter what industry you’re in, you want to attract top talent with unbeatable experience and creative ideas. You want innovative employees who can help your company thrive in an era of continuous digital transformation. But it turns out, you might be inadvertently making mistakes that discourage these people from applying to the job. The following are five common mistakes that may be deterring your ideal employee away from your business. Address these problems and you’ll start to attract the right talent to your organization.
It’s tempting to see the hiring process as a one-sided situation: you expect a candidate to “sell” their qualifications to you. For example, the term “personal brand” even gets thrown around a lot; a candidate needs to sell you on their particular strengths and assets in order to get the job. But the truth is, in order to get those people through the door, you first need to sell your company to them. What is your company brand? What do you stand for and what sets you apart?
Both in the initial job description and throughout the interview process, there’s an aspect of storytelling that comes into play. It pays to have a positive company narrative that clearly communicates what it would be like to work for your organization: the unique benefits of your company culture, the values you embody as a whole, and your overall mission. If your job description only offers up vague buzzwords, your candidate won’t get a clear picture of who you are, what you do, and why they should want to work there.
Nowadays, companies have to not only offer an enticing narrative of their brand but also an innovative vision for the future. You need to let potential candidates know your vision includes them—one of the biggest reasons people cite for leaving a company is a lack of growth opportunity. Your ideal candidate is looking to make a significant impact in your industry, and if you can’t offer them a climate in which to do so, they won’t be interested. In order to build a truly innovative team, you likely want top-tier candidates that have worked at forward-thinking companies—think Google, Amazon, or Facebook for example. But without a clear vision for the future that gives someone realistic opportunities to grow and make an impact, it will be hard to attract those kinds of employees.
Attracting people who can help you thrive in an era of digital transformation naturally requires you to make certain investments in technology—investments that are necessary for these people to do their jobs. Of course, these investments aren’t cheap; but if you can’t provide the right tools and technology to help a potential employee and their team be successful, it will be hard to entice them to take on the role. So how do you get the budget to make those necessary investments in new resources? Getting support from the most senior leadership is crucial in getting the budget for resources that top candidates will need.
If you’re consistently struggling to attract competitive talent, be sure you’re offering competitive compensation. Those leading tech companies that your ideal candidates probably work for like Facebook and Google have an unfair advantage over more traditional companies when it comes to compensation. They can likely offer stock options and stock grants that have been highly lucrative over the last five years—not to mention substantial salaries. If you want to attract talent away from a top company, be prepared to not only pay them significantly in terms of their salary but make good on the equity they’d potentially be giving up over the next 3-4 years. The usual 10-20% salary bump is often not possible with these highly-paid candidates—in order to buy them out it sometimes ends up being upwards of a 50-100% increase in their overall compensation.
In today’s wired world it’s easier than ever for people to do their jobs from anywhere they choose. More and more companies offer the flexibility to work remotely, which is often an attractive feature for people who may be hesitant to relocate if your company is located outside of a major hub city. For example, it may be hard to attract top talent away from Silicon Valley and convince them to move to Boston if they perceive there to be fewer attractive companies out there. Why would this candidate move across the country when they could move across the street? Consider whether or not the physical location of your company is deterring top talent, and what you can do to remedy that like offering remote work options or potentially relocation incentives.
In essence, if you’re struggling to attract the kind of competitive, innovative, top-tier candidates you’d like to your company, it could boil down to one of the five factors discussed above. Before you start the hiring process, be sure you have a clear company brand and vision for the future, as well as the right resources and competitive compensation. You also may want to consider the benefits and drawbacks of your company’s physical location and determine other ways to make the position more desirable to a candidate, such as the option to work remotely or incentives for relocating. Choosing the right employee is the fun part—but first you have to get the best possible candidates through the door and interested in your company.
About the Author
Matthew J. Schwartz is the Founder, President and CEO of MJS Executive Search with nearly two decades of experience in retained executive search. Matt’s expertise lies in bringing together key executives that exhibit passion and creativity with leading organizations in a wide range of functional areas such as Marketing, Sales, Digital, Interactive and more. From Digital and Social media to Machine Learning and AI, Matt is passionate about cutting edge technologies and is dedicated using his knowledge to help his clients remain or become leaders in their realm.
Founded in 2003, MJS Executive Search has established itself as a top retained executive search firm that identifies and places unique, hard to find executives in highly specialized roles.
If you are interested in learning more about our Transformational Talent™ solutions, contact MJS Executive Search today to learn more about how we can help your organization. www.mjsearch.com