The ‘war for talent’ has dominated the HR lexicon for over two decades. Yet the competition for skills is as intense today as it was in 1997 when the term was first coined by McKinseys. The talent is ‘out there’, but how can hiring managers find the people they need to fill the positions they have, regardless of whether they are ‘on’ or ‘in’ the market?
Clarity is key: In the quest to boost their profile as an employer choice, many recruitment marketing efforts are filled with hyperbolic words and phrases aimed at seducing the people they want to apply. Trouble is the message of what the role actually is can easily get lost in translation. Tell candidates what you actually do, share your company vision and paint a picture for them of how this potential candidate can be a part of it.
Avoid waffle: Be clear about the role, your expectation of the successful candidate and what’s in it for them if they were to secure the role. But do so in a way that avoids the usual clichés. For example, describing the remuneration offered as a ‘competitive salary’ tends to raise a doubtful eyebrow – is it above the national average for the advertised role? Similarly, steer clear from ‘unrivalled career opportunities’ too – unless you have a track record of promoting from within and one of the highest staff retention levels in your sector, it is better to avoid making such a claim.
Provide flexibility: Organisations have boasted since time in memorial that they offer all employees a flexible working option, but rarely has that extended beyond starting work a few hours later in the morning and making up the time later on. The move for greater flexibility of the workplace has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and employers will need to embrace it… fast. From providing employees with the infrastructure they need to effectively work from home on a set number of days per month, to enabling them to work staggered or reduced hours to fit around childcare commitments for example, flexible working options have evolved from being nice-to-have to essential criteria for today’s candidates. It would be tragic to miss out on top talent by being inflexible (and we’ve seen it happen).
Don’t undervalue talent: BC Forbes once said that successful relationships only happen when they are mutually beneficial. Unless the candidate’s salary and benefit package demands are not real world practical, don’t try to drive down their value by offering a below-rate deal. This may appease the finance director eager to streamline the organisation’s hiring costs, but it will likely bite you hard over the long term.
Firstly, the candidate will invariably know their worth. If they feel you are undervaluing them and failing to take into consideration the contribution they could make to your organisation, the chances of them accepting your offer are slender at best. Moreover, if they have a strong network this could damage your employer brand.
And secondly, even if an offer was accepted, it will only be a matter of time before they realise the offer made was not in their interests but in that of their employer. As such, they will likely seek to make a move elsewhere and you will have to restart the hiring process all over again.