Attracting and Retaining Top Talent: How to Succeed in a Tight Market
Magnet attracts metal figurines shows the importance of attracting and retaining top talent.

Does it feel like attracting and retaining top talent has become one of your biggest challenges? You’re not alone. Consider this scenario.

“Hi! I’d like to talk to you about a great job opportunity that I think you’d be a perfect fit for. Is now a good time to talk?” — Kevin, 32, is one of those lucky people whose phone keeps ringing with calls like these. He is getting constant calls from recruiters trying to pry him from his current job. But he knows better than to jump at every offer that comes along.  He is weighing all his options. Kevin is not alone. Top talent is always showered with options. But they are picky about what offers they accept.

The employment market, in general, has shifted in favor of candidates. Job seekers are getting multiple interviews and finding work far more quickly. They can afford to pick and choose between employers. For companies, this boils down to a major recruitment challenge — attracting and closing candidates — becoming even more challenging.

Hear the story of Allen Kramer, a hiring manager at a healthcare software company. They were in dire need to hire someone for their development team. Besides posting the position on multiple platforms, Allen reached out via phone to try to attract a young developer. But he already accepted a position with a competitor. Realizing how competitive the market is, Allen knew he needed a different approach.  Does this sound familiar? If yes, I urge you to read on.

Adapt and Adjust to the Candidate-Driven Market

According to CBRE’s “Scoring Tech Talent” report, nearly 115,000 Denverites were employees in a tech role last year. That’s a 31 percent improvement over five years ago. There’s no doubt the region’s momentum is not slowing any time soon. Colorado as a whole came in No. 2 in tech job growth in a recent CompTIA report. Plus, Denver’s vibrant tech startup community is pushing the city to become a leader in the new digital economy.

In short, the tech market here is booming with companies seeking out talent for technology and IT positions. Unlike in years past when you could rope in great candidates more easily, now you have to vie for and woo candidates to get them to choose your door and not your competitor’s.

Tell Your Brand’s Unique Story

When it comes to enticing the right candidates, it’s mostly the brand’s image that does the trick. Think of Google. The company attracts top talents like a magnet. Every year, it gets around three million applications. Of course, Google’s talent attraction process works because it involves a lot of innovation. Let’s face it, they have people pounding down the door to work for them. But you can’t ignore the awesome image they’ve created of their brand.

I once overheard a conversation at a networking event I attended. As far as I can remember, a software professional was telling the guy next to him that he was getting 10-15 calls from recruiters each week. But he kept ignoring most of them because none of the companies that approached had impressive profiles online. What I remember most is what he uttered next: “A company needs to have a really compelling story for me to make the switch.”

Leverage the power of storytelling to attract top talent. Start by looking internally within your organization. Ask yourself these questions; your answers will be the starting points.

  • How do you stack up against the competition?
  • What unique selling points are you offering the candidates?
  • Is your story appealing and “sexy?”
  • Does it align with what the candidate actually values/cares about?
  • Is your overall company culture aimed at providing growth opportunities?
  • Does your company’s vision, mission, and cultural values permeate throughout the organization?
  • What emotions can you associate with your company’s story, its background, and/or employees?
  • Does the team work independently or collaboratively?

Attract and Retain Top Talent: Understand Why People Look for Other Opportunities

There are a few universal things all employees want from their jobs: To get appreciated for their work, to have the opportunity to grow, and to feel generally supported by their organization. In other words, the employer who creates a work atmosphere that takes care of these “few universal things” will be successful at attracting and retaining employees. Is it that easy? Well, not quite.

In today’s labor market, there’s more to keeping your staff loyal than simply providing a positive work experience. For example, a survey by recruiting software provider, Jobvite, revealed that 42 percent of employees would reject a job offer if the company lacked diversity or clear goals for improving diversity in hiring. This gets back to brand image. Employees will look for new opportunities if they feel their values don’t align with their employers.

The 2021 Job Seeker Nation survey revealed these other stats about why employees may be looking for other opportunities.

  • 81% of workers think company culture is important in their decision to apply for a job.
  • 38% of respondents said they would preemptively reject potential employers due to publicly available reviews.
  • 64% of workers also believe the job seeking process is more stressful currently, especially for working parents.
  • One-quarter have changed industries since this time last year.

Before posting a new job or making that next call, do your research. Find out the job criteria that is most important to candidates. What would make them choose your offer over a competitor’s? When you’re aware of what factors make people change their current jobs, you’re better positioned to craft a compelling pitch to candidates.

Recruiting and retaining top talent is difficult, and its difficulty is likely to increase. Hopefully, these tips will help you stay ahead in the current and upcoming talent wars. Reach out to our experienced team for help with your recruitment strategy.