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6 ways to attract and secure the best candidates (that aren’t about base salary)

Posted by Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on Friday, Sep 22, 2017

Attraction and retention beyond base salary | Hays BlogHow do you find the right person at the right time – and then make them the right offer? It’s not easy to attract and retain in today’s talent market but the Hays What People Want report gives insight into how employers can find, secure, and keep the right people. While salary is important, our findings show that other factors outweigh it so employers can and should look beyond competing on salary alone.

1. Tailor your strategy
If there’s one thing we learned from the What People Want report, it’s that one size doesn’t fit all. But too often we see employers writing job ads to try and get a high number of applications, or shaping job offers based on what has worked in the past. If you want to attract the right talent, not just the most talent, then you need to understand your ideal candidate and tailor your approach.

Where are your ideal candidates? Use niche job boards, associations, refer a friend programs, and your specialist recruiter to tap into the right talent pool. And make sure you’re promoting the right job factors. For example, our research shows that Generation Y candidates are very focused on career growth, while candidates in construction want to know what project they will work on next.

2. Grow your network
Think of your network as every person that you’re able to communicate with. That might be your email database, your social media connections, associations, or employee networks. By growing your network in the right areas you increase your ability to target the right candidates so you increase useful job applications. Invest time in your social network to engage relevant potential employees, and make the most of your relationship with your recruiter – they can connect you to a wide range of candidates.

3. Share success stories
What is it really like to work for you? Embrace the idea of “show, don’t tell”.  To encourage candidates to see you as an employer of choice, share real life success stories from your employees and teams. When someone is promoted, when you win a bid, or celebrate as a company, make sure you’re sharing photos and testimonials with your network. Focus on the things that matter most to candidates – career growth, strong leadership, communication, and work-life balance.

4. Promote career development programs
When it comes to retention, career growth is almost as important as company culture, and it’s especially important for Gen Y candidates. However, that doesn’t mean you need to offer un-earned promotions or pricey training programs. Make the most of existing internal knowledge – offer secondments, job swaps and shadowing, mentorships, lunch and learns. Include career planning discussions in annual appraisals to show employees that you are engaged in their future with the company. Finally, make sure you communicate internally and externally about what you have available. Programs that no one knows about aren’t a retention or attraction tool.

5. Prioritize the right parts of company culture
We asked employees to rank the most important aspects of company culture and all demographics rated strong leadership, open communication, and work-life balance as most important. Candidates and employees won’t be swayed by superficial perks such as free lunches and social events. Those are “nice to haves” but there is no shortcut to strong company culture. An employee survey is a great starting point for improving your culture because it will give you a clear view of how your team feels and what changes you can make to improve satisfaction. Finally, if you have a strong company culture make sure you’ve adapted it into an employer value proposition to improve your employer brand and attract great candidates.

6. No bad surprises in your package
Once you’ve made an offer, make sure you can close the deal. Your chosen candidate shouldn’t have a bad surprise when they look at the total compensation details. While benefits are a lower priority than other factors, they can still be a dealbreaker if you don’t meet expectations. Three-quarters of employers offer health and dental, and two-thirds offer three or more weeks of vacation so if these are not included in your package, it may be time to review. Your recruitment consultant can help you avoid these surprises by clarifying candidate expectations ahead of interviews and offers.

Learn more about how to attract and retain your top talent by requesting your copy of the Hays What People Want report today.

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