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Want to Attract the A-Talent? Treat the D-Talent Better

Written By Steve Potestio | Oct 24, 2014

Want to hire the A-talent? I’ll tell you how: treat the D-talent better.

The typical strategies to hire the best talent? Offer more money, amazing benefits, provide office perks like free food and foosball, and hope for the best. D-talent may be great talent for somebody, but not for your company. They are someone else’s A-talent. So, you ignore them. Wrong. Treat everyone the same during the recruitment process.

People talk. Company reputations are built on what people say on the street, and whom they say it to.

Treating the D-talent (and the B’s and the C’s) better demonstrates that your company is consistent and focused in your recruitment strategy. It aligns everyone in your organization along the same goals and plan. You present your company and your staff as a united front. Your organization comes across as professional and organized, and your employees engaged and involved. That’s good stuff when a candidate is evaluating whether they want to come work for you. The foosball table is fluff; this stuff is real.

People talk. Company reputations are built on what people say on the street, and whom they say it to. Treating candidates poorly sends bad messages out to their extended network, and you risk negative associations with your company. If your firm has a bad reputation, or a bad recruitment process, people will talk about it. Your employer brand suffers, and your recruitment efforts do too.

I recently had a conversation with a business owner who complained that he couldn’t find employees fast enough. He felt people were lazy and didn’t want to work hard. This was an insight into how he, and subsequently how his company, hired people. I did not want to tell him, but his attitude is a reason his company can’t attract people.

Throwing money and benefits at A-talent may work at times, but it is not a strategy, and it’s certainly not sustainable.

Most companies try to attract talent with money, benefits and perks. Survey after survey tells us that money is not the most important driver for most employees.

Throwing money and benefits at A-talent may work at times, but it is not a strategy, and it’s certainly not sustainable. In the long-term it probably creates more problems. If money is the driver for people to join a company, money will always be the driver, and they will probably leave as soon as someone else gives them more.

Most large corporations have a process in place for managing resumes and candidates. It does not mean they do it well, but they have a process. Many smaller firms don’t have a process or a strategy, and it shows.

Take these small steps to build a strategy and start attracting better talent:

  • Establish a process for recruitment and hiring. Identify someone to own your process. No rogue managers. Everyone follows the process.
  • Don’t rely solely on job postings as an awareness campaign for your openings. Be proactive in promoting your brand. If you do post jobs, focus more on your brand, vision and future, and less on a laundry list of skills you seek.
  • Implement an employee referral bonus program.
  • Make the process reasonable for candidates to navigate. Be clear on everything from next steps in the process, to coaching your employees on who they may be interviewing and why. Get everyone on the same page.
  • Map your company hiring plans in coordination with your growth plans.
  • Make sure your employees know where the company has been and where it wants to go. They are spokespeople for your brand. They need to know your company’s story.
  • Be honest about your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Don’t sugarcoat stuff. The truth will come out eventually anyway.
  • Acknowledge and respond to EVERYONE that submits a resume.
  • CALL everyone you interview but do not hire. Thank them for their interest.
  • Identify people that may fit future opportunities. Let them know that you have this interest.
  • Have formalized offer letters and job descriptions.
  • Offer fair market salaries and benefits.
  • Know what your salary range is and be firm. Pay extra if you have to, but not as a policy. If it’s about money, this may not be the candidate for the long-term. Know this early.
  • Have an on-boarding and training process established.
  • Be clear, and set expectations for success early, with new hires.

Easy steps every company can implement. You will become organized. Professional. Intent. Strategic. You will begin to build a reputation as a company that values people. Not just the A-talent, but all people.

The A-talent will get the message.

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