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  • Lisa Frank

Employers: Who is Fighting YOUR War For Talent?

More jobs. Fewer qualified candidates. Faster interview processes. Bigger salary increases. Premature promotions. Multiple offers. Counteroffers. It’s here and we are all feeling it. Your business is growing. You need to hire more top talent ASAP. You post a job description on LinkedIn. You get some responses, but none of them are even close to being qualified. You incentivize your employees with referral fees, but you still aren’t seeing much.  You push your internal recruitment team for more resumes, but they, too, are baffled as to why their efforts – the same ones that have brought you great talent over the past five years – aren’t working either, anymore. And then, eventually you find a great person for the job…and you have them come back four more times to meet everyone on the team (because it’s important that everyone is on board), and by the time you are comfortable enough to make them an offer, you find out that the candidate has two other compelling offers already in hand.  And with no other qualified candidates in the pipeline – you may be back to square one by the end of the week. You’re a hiring manager. What are you going to do about this? How will you navigate the battles in this new, evolving, candidate-driven talent war?

  1. Know Your Mission: You know that you need to hire, but do you know exactly what or who you’re looking for to get the job done? Are the job’s goals and objectives clear and defined?  Are your salary ranges competitive? How many people do you need to hire? What is your hiring timeline? Do you have a healthy recruiting budget? Do you have funds to make an investment hire if you come across unplanned top talent that could be a true asset to your company? Hiring for a company is like putting together a puzzle of various skill sets and personalities.  If you and your team have a clear, unified vision of what your company needs to accomplish through its talent acquisition, you can make more precise hires within shorter time frames.

  2. Find Out What You’re Up Against: Do you know what your competitors are offering?  Significant salary increases? Big bonuses? Flexible/work-from-home schedules? Company cars? Cell phones? Laptops? Doggie day care? Free booze Fridays? Compensation and benefits packages come in all shapes and sizes these days, as we strive to find creative ways to improve (or cushion) the work-life balance conundrum.  Assess your current offerings and do some reconnaissance to find out how yours stack up against the others. Don’t be afraid to integrate new trends, but put create incentives, polices or procedures around them ahead of time so you can offer new benefits in an organized, thoughtful way – not with your back up against the wall just to lure in a new employee OR to try to keep an existing one.

  3. Be Unpredictable: It’s definitely easier to pluck a candidate right from a competitor who is doing the exact work that you need done at your company.  Someone who can come in and “hit the ground running” is always ideal. But, have you ever really considered who else might be out there? Open up your search a bit, vet for transferable skills and strong culture fit, and perhaps you’ll uncover someone with a non-traditional background, who might bring even greater value or the fresh perspective your company needs.  Now is the time to step outside your hiring comfort zone, reach into a different kind of talent pool, take a chance, and get creative!

  4. Engage Your Allies: Current employees, former employees, former colleagues, industry peers, vendors, clients, friends and family.  Know your ambassadors and ask for their help in identifying and referring talent. Incentivize them.  They know you, and your company, its culture, its successes and its idiosyncrasies.  Their support, insight, recommendations and networks will prove invaluable to you in this process. Just make sure you return the favor!

  5. Strategically Assemble Your Frontline: Who is actually going to battle for you? Who is in the field on your behalf?  Is your internal HR/Recruitment team well-equipped to find the right talent, and then to sell, sell, sell? Post-and-pray, social media, video vetting, Taleo-reliant methods will no longer get you the best talent.  Today’s top talent is passive – they are not hanging around on LinkedIn, Indeed, or other platforms looking for a new job. They are already head-down and knee-deep in their current work.  Those are the people you want. Hire skilled recruitment partners (internal and/or external) who know the market, are well-versed and well-connected in your industry, who are skilled in engaging and motivating passive candidates, and who are genuine partners to you and your company.  If talent acquisition is your priority – this is a necessary investment for your future.

  6. WIN! You know ‘em when you see ‘em, and top candidates have short shelf-lives. Your recruitment partner should be able to guide you to make a competitive and compelling offer that your favorite candidate will accept. So, hurry up! What are you waiting for? Make the offer. Seal the deal.Frankly Speaking: We haven’t seen a job market like this one in years. While technology has greatly impacted our recent talent acquisition strategies, companies must be armed with pre-recession, back-to-the basics, traditional recruitment efforts AND experts, if they truly want to see results. The War for Talent is definitely on.  Are you prepared to go to battle?

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