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9 innovative ways to attract talent

You may think you have found your ideal candidate – they tick all the boxes, all the skills required and they are a great cultural fit. But while going through all the paperwork and deciding whether the candidate might actually be perfect for your organisation, the applicant has taken another job and left you having to do the full process all over again.

As a business owner and as someone who works in the recruitment industry, I know how tough it can be to recruit and find the ideal candidate. Currently it takes businesses on average 60-90 days to hire talent and according to People Driven Performance the cost of replacing a highly-skilled or experienced employee can cost a business up to 150% of an employee’s annual salary. Add this to the productivity loss of not having a team member and it creates a major challenge for business.

With all the time and investment that goes into finding a good hire, you’d think people would do a better job.  The reality is though that more than half the time people hire the wrong person or someone who’s not good enough.  It’s a function of expectation – for too long it’s been too hard and painful to get it right! While historically it might be bleak, here are my steps on the best way to hire your team.

Before you begin

  • Create a strategic plan: As a business leader, you need to take a moment and think about what you need from potential hires, not just now, but 12 and 24 months ahead. This involves skills and development, but also responsibility and accountability. Start any recruitment process with a real and honest internal view of your medium term needs and goals for the
    hire and turn these into a meaningful role and career path for the potential candidate.

The hiring process

  • Show candidates you care: Every step of the hiring process should make candidates feel special and valued. It doesn’t matter how wonderful you think your company is chances are, unless you’re Apple or Google, the candidate doesn’t have the same “hero” view of your brand. Great candidates need to feel special. You can do little things like making sure the environment is prepped for the interview and having the interviewer make sure the candidate feels comfortable by offering coffee or water.  Also, you need to keep the candidate engaged and be prepared to move forward quickly between interviews and ultimately to offer.
  • Be honest about company culture: Once you dive into the interviewing process, be transparent and honest about the purpose and values of your business. What does your company mean to its customers and how does its culture and management reflect this? Sites such as JobAdvisor are becoming more important and relevant as people turn to independent and objective peers for recommendations and reviews over and above other sources. It’s also important that your company website has a good crack at explaining people and culture too. The risk of not being transparent about what the culture is like is that you set unachievable expectations and the candidate will leave (usually within 90 days).
  • Make recruitment a priority: Give recruitment the attention and urgency it deserves if you want to give your business the best chance of finding an employee. It’s now possible to leverage recent innovations to find and hire great talent quickly and easily, but it requires the attention and priority of the right people in the organisation from the start.
  • Move quickly in certain circumstances: Candidate care and urgency in the hiring process is particularly important when dealing with candidates who have come through referral or agency channels. They will have been sold the role and screened, either by an agency or a friend. If the employer is not perceived as moving quickly and enthusiastically towards a decision, the candidate will feel unloved and lose trust in the opportunity. When the market is tight, candidates can become passive and may not be actively seeking new roles, so this is especially important, particularly in talent short sectors such as mobile, web and data science.
  • Back yourselves and take responsibility for hiring: Gimmicks like six month guarantees and four step recruitment processes show a lack of clarity around how decisions are made and an inability to take responsibility for hiring decisions. Focus, be clear about what’s important, work out how to assess cultural fit. Also empower the team the potential candidate will be working with to participate in the hiring process.


  • Onboard with success: When you’ve made your hiring decision, move quickly to put forward an offer and contract, and then provide an awesome on-boarding and pre-boarding experience. Send the candidate a pack with great info about the business and “homework” so they arrive on day one prepped, knowing who’s who and what’s what.
  • Prepare for arrival: Make the candidates first few days as professional but fun. Ensure their desk, systems access and equipment is ready before they arrive. Be prepared with a run sheet for week one. Provide context to what they’re going to do and how it sets them up for success.
  • Follow up to ensure a smooth transition: Check-in regularly with your new employee, both formally and informally. Be sensitive to the acclimatisation process and provide opportunities for small but visible wins early. This will help the employee feel good about themselves but also help the team realise some value early.

By strategically thinking about each aspect of the hiring process from planning to recruiting to onboarding, you can ensure that you are not only getting a candidate who is the best possible fit for your organisation, but you have a better chance of keeping that employee for longer. The key to keeping an employee is making sure he or she feels valued and has opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

About the author:

This article was written by By Ben Hutt, CEO of digital recruitment marketplace The Search Party.

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