The Art of Talent Attraction

3 minutes, 12 seconds reading time

You may think I am joking, seeing as I founded an Executive Recruitment Firm, but I’m not.  Hiring is one of the easiest processes to undertake, assuming everything surrounding it is handled properly.  The reality is that making an offer, getting it signed and confirming a hire is pretty straight forward, you have the right candidate, they want to work for you, boom – done!

See therein lies the problem, making a hire is easy and often line managers don’t see the effort, the challenges, the planning and deliberate execution to get to point of hire.  I have a few golden rules I live by in search and one of my key ones is that you should never have an offer declined.  By the time the point of hire arrives, it should be a simple case of signing and processing the paperwork.

Prevent declined offers with process

So why should you never have an offer declined?  If someone turns down your offer, your process was flawed and you weren’t truly controlling the process.  That reason, or trigger, that causes them to decline the offer should be identified, discussed and overcome before progressing through each phase of the process.  Even if that means cutting that person because the alignment is not quite right.  I see it regularly where a firm runs a 6-8 weeks process and at the very end their top candidate says no and they repeat.  The wasted time, lost productivity and the indirect financial implications on the business are massive – yet often accepted as just one of those things.  Ask yourself if you have ever found yourself ‘hoping’ someone will accept your offer?

Through headhunting calls, pre-screening, formal screening, pre-client interviews, two rounds of client interviews, several debriefs, referencing, testing, constant two-way communication and background verification – there should be no surprises left when it is time to make an offer.  Why go through that trouble if you aren’t going to talk openly and candidly about why the opportunity is going to be right for both sides?

Attracting the Right Talent Takes Committment

The main reason people struggle with hiring is they fail to realize that talent attraction is an ongoing commitment– not just when you are actually recruiting.  It is about staying true to your vision, values and purpose.  Marketing opportunities and showcasing your organization in the right places, to the right people who share your identity.  Developing strong internal talent strategies that enable and maximize the potential of existing staff and provide true platforms for progression.  Balancing external hiring through established professionals, new graduates and diverse backgrounds.

I sat down recently with an award winning firm who have spent the last 5 years working on their brand as an employer of choice.  Now consider that their average employee works 50-60 hours a week by choice and earns 10-20% less than their nearest competitor…  yet they have people queuing up to come work there… most CEO’s in the city would kill for that outcome.  They run a smaller, leaner, more cost effective team yet outperform their competitors daily on results, productivity and retention.  The secret – they treat talent attraction as an ongoing business critical issue where culture, environment and talent development are central themes to who they are.

Employee Fit Trumps Skill

Qualifying people based on fit rather than skill, removing the resume as the determining factor on initial screening, focusing on the future rather than the past.  All of these are crucial to success and part of an overarching talent strategy – so stop hiring as a transaction and develop a talent strategy.  A strategy that can enable sustained success, built on cultural fit, belonging, and a commitment to excellence.

So remember, hiring is actually the easy part, talent attraction is an art and needs to be an ongoing commitment as part of your overall talent strategy.