What’s your company doing to attract high-caliber employees that will allow it to seize the future?
Corny as it sounds, that’s not an idle question. For startup leaders, it’s an imperative. Your young company needs to attract the cream of the crop, especially as its fights to get off the ground and into the black, or it’s likely not going to be around long enough for it to matter.
“The brutal truth is that some employees are worth more than others, even in identical roles,” says Scott Vollero, an international entrepreneur who’s spent the better part of the past 20 years cultivating talent in the metal recycling industry. “To maintain its competitive edge, early-stage companies must do everything possible to attract talented rock stars who can go to bat every day — and consistently hit home runs.”
In a competitive labor market, that’s a tall order. The good news is that there’s no “secret sauce” to talent attraction. Companies that do these things, and do them right, tend to win the rock star race over and over again.
- Market, Market, Market
Recruiting is marketing. Selling a job to a recruit is no different than selling a product to a customer, except you’re paying the former and taking money from the latter. (Though hopefully you’re extracting even more value from the former.) Every recruiting action you take needs to frame candidates as “gets” — the more, the better.
- Treat Candidates Like Customers
Marketing again. If you haven’t already, ditch the “We have all the leverage” mindset. When you’re sitting across the table from a candidate, you’re not the only one with something to offer. Smart recruits know when to walk away. If they feel as if they’re not being treated with the respect worthy of a talented individual weighing a life-changing decision, that’s just what they’ll do.
- Budge on Compensation
When it comes to compensation, you should know where you want to end up. Just make sure that place is not where you begin. In the grand scheme of things, it’s worth paying 10 or 20 percent more on a candidate who’s likely to repay you — and then some — in value. ROI: the three most important letters in the English business lexicon.
- Sweeten the Deal
Beyond compensation, little gestures can make a big difference. Recruiting a software whiz from your competitor’s Cleveland office? Pay his relocation costs. A few thousand bucks to break an apartment lease, load up a truck and fly out the dog is chump change if it seals the deal.
- Play Up Healthy Culture
You don’t have to lie about how hard your employees work. Promising 40-hour workweeks when you know darn well your new hires work double that is a recipe for disaster. But you can play up the quality of your employees’ time off, the wealth of office excursions and team-building exercises you schedule for happy hour and weekends, and the flex-time policy you just institute. Faced with the choice between a healthy, positive workplace culture and a “get it done and get home” white collar assembly line, most candidates choose the former.
These aren’t the only ways to attract talented workers, of course. There’s plenty more sound advice out there. So, what are you doing to make your company attractive to your industry’s top rock stars?