How to win the war for talent

by | Sep 21, 2016

One of the things that’s remained true throughout my 20 years in the career industry is that good people are always hard to find. The market goes up. And the market goes down. Hiring is client driven – a few jobs, lots of candidates. Recruitment shifts and becomes candidate driven – loads of jobs, potential employees are in short supply

There is a constant through them all

The good people are fewer and further between. They are hard to find. And even harder to hire. They have options

To attract them you need to employ some reverse engineering techniques. What does the top talent want in a job and an employer? Is that who you are and what you’re offering?

This has driven an increasing demand for employer and talent branding. Positioning yourself  – partly through what you (or your marketing team) say about you… and partly through what your people say about you

How do you do that?

Firstly you need to know what your ideal talent considers to be their ideal workplace

  • What do you have already that will attract A players to join you – this has little to do with money and a lot to do with culture, values, quality of minds already within the team and potential
  • How will your dream hire know these things about your company?

Secondly, what do you need to change within the structure of your workforce and your workplace to make you a more attractive proposition to the best people?

  • What more must you do?
  • What can you do to go one step (or two steps) further still?

How can you now position all these desirable aspects of your company – and the roles you both have and will have – so talent finds you?

Consider the technology you use

The platforms and networks you’re part of. Most importantly, think how you conduct your recruitment process – are you courteous to applicants? Do you respond to them in a timely manner? Is your interview process as leading edge as your client solution and your vision?

Some of the leading edge companies – in terms of attracting and retaining talent – are starting to talk about employees first… clients second.

They know that getting their company functioning effectively is – like everything in life – an inside out job. When you take care of your people. When they feel valued, appreciated and even cherished, their performance goes up and your clients benefit. But this has to start before your new people are even aware of your existence

As many people have famously said, including Derek Sivers: “How you do anything is how you do everything”

Talented people will check out your organisation long before they hit apply… or say yes to a recruiter. What they see about you ‘out there’ will determine if they want to step through the door

You get someone like MLT to help with your employer and talent branding. The candidates like what they see and they say yes to making an application… How do you handle the process from there?

It’s easy to get caught up in being busy and having a full diary and see interviews as another thing to factor into an already overcommitted schedule. While that may all be true, it’s also important to consider how letting time slip, dates slide and allowing meetings to get postponed, changed, or interviews to be swapped out at the last minute looks to your potential new hire?

Are they feeling the love?

I always liken recruitment to dating – building relationships with new people from the ground up, is the same in many respects, regardless of the context

Leaving someone hanging too long in between ‘dates’ makes them think you’re not that into them… which leads to them thinking it’s either never going to ‘get serious’ or if it does, you’re not going to be ‘the one’

There are so many aspects of hiring top talent that have nothing to do with being a FTSE, or offering good pensions. Lots of them are fully within your control and – with an active and conscious talent strategy – become part of the DNA of your company

‘That which is like unto itself is drawn’ – the icing on the cake being talent is a magnet for more talent… and it is a war you can definitely win!

Julie Holmwood

Julie Holmwood is a Director at MLT Associates. Having worked in the career industry for 20 years; as a frontline recruiter, international headhunter and supplier of client and talent services – she has extensive knowledge of the hiring lifecycle

Julie is a frequent writer and contributor to multiple on and offline publications and is the author of Clickst@rt Your Career and Get That Interview; both available as paperback, kindle and audio books on Amazon and Audible

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