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Five ways to attract top talent

From providing volunteering opportunities to offering tailored development training packages, there are plenty of non-financial ways to attract the best candidates.

They say money makes the world go round, but for many candidates salary isn’t the only factor considered when accepting a job offer.

While incentives used to be limited to 401(k), commuter benefits, and stock options, candidates are now looking for a wider range of benefits. We asked two of our experts for their advice on how you can ensure your hiring processes are meeting expectations. 

1. Company reputation

“To attract the best talent on the market, it’s essential companies create a reputation as somewhere candidates want to work,” says Julia Zhu, associate director at Robert Walters China. As she explains, companies well known for their products and working practices will be able to attract the strongest candidates simply on their reputation within a particular sector or industry.

“When it comes to the actual hiring procedure, invest time and effort on creating an efficient recruitment process that promotes and reflects this reputation,” she adds. “Everything from a well-crafted job description to the way the successful candidate is offered the position should reflect the company in a positive light.”

Executive branding is everything. Ensure your C-level executives have an authentic and distinct online presence. Consider using a monitoring tool to track company or executive-level sentiment, and respond to criticism when possible. Ensure your C-level executives are engaging in thought leadership, attending networking events, and participating in relevant panels.

Takeaway: Are you telling the world about how great your company is? Invest in marketing that shows prospective employees just how great you are, then back it up with a stand-out recruitment process. Changing jobs is never easy, so you must have had good reason to explore the job market and consider leaving your current role. Perhaps you've been lacking motivation lately and have felt like you aren't moving quickly enough or maybe you've fallen out of sync with the company values since you joined.

2. Company culture

“Having the right company culture in a workplace can make all the difference when it comes to making a position more marketable for potential employees,” says Phill Westcott, director at Robert Walters UK. He explains that having the right culture for the right talent could include opportunities for flexible working, the level of autonomy given to employees or even providing a team lunch on a daily or weekly basis.

As Phill notes introducing smaller, softer perks like giving employees the day off for their birthday is a great way to gradually change a company culture. “These changes can often be hard to accept in workplaces with an engrained culture, but they can make a role significantly more attractive to candidates.”

Don’t just implement policy, but also be sure to measure culture improvements. Anonymous employee surveys are a great way to identify gaps in desired and actual behavior.

Takeaway: Introducing small, incremental changes to your workplace culture can make a big impression on potential employees. Add employee testimonials to your careers site and monitor your Glassdoor ratings and reviews to provide candidates with a better insight into day-to-day working life. 

3. Personal relationships

Line managers should view interviews as opportunities to develop good interpersonal relationships with candidates,” suggests Julia. She argues that relationships formed through the interview process can often make the difference as to whether a candidate accepts an offer or not, as it provides them with an idea of what working relationships they can expect within the role.

“Provide relevant training for line managers before the interview process to ensure they can successfully present both themselves and the company to candidates,” she says.

Takeaway: Are your hiring managers building up strong relationships with potential employees? Invest in interview-focused training and install a structured interview process that allows hiring managers time to develop these relationships.

4. Personal fulfilment

“Employees don’t want to feel like they’re simply a cog in a large machine, they want to know that they matter and that their work is making an impact,” explains Phill. He notes that this sense of fulfilment is increasingly important when it comes to attracting the best talent. “These candidates will want to make a tangible difference and be able to see how their particular work affects their department, their company, and even wider society.”

One way companies can make this sense of fulfilment central to the recruitment process is by setting out how candidates can interact with the decision-making process in the role. “Candidates will want to know their overall decision-making capacity and that their ideas matter.”

Takeaway: Explain the importance of the role within both the immediate team and the wider company, highlighting the opportunities available for employees to make their voices heard.

5. Career progression

“The prospect of career progression is often fundamental in a candidate’s decision to accept a job offer, so it’s essential that companies are proactive about conveying potential opportunities for professional development,” advises Julia. As she explains, establishing training that focuses on increasing the hard and soft skillsets of employees is a great way to attract those candidates thinking about longer-term career development.

“Companies should consider introducing a job rotation program that provides employees with a good overview of the different skills needed in the company, ensuring details of this program are fully laid out within their recruitment process.”

Takeaway: Are you doing enough to develop your existing employees? Establish a tailored professional development scheme and make sure these opportunities are discussed with candidates during the recruitment process.

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