Creative ways to land top talent in a tight market

by Greg Harper and Heather Kivett with Cameron Warren
Charles Aris Inc.

Talent acquisition in today’s career marketplace begins with creativity. To land A-level leaders, hiring authorities must find ways to differentiate themselves and their organizations from competitors. Many employers think this process starts with the offer, but top talent acquisition actually begins with the first interaction with candidates.

As we all know from the old adage, you only have one chance to make a first impression – and that works in both directions for hiring authorities. Candidates are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. From the candidate’s perspective right now, it’s a true buyer’s market. Don’t think that a candidate’s phone is only ringing with your calls.

The little things must add up

If you have someone fly in for an interview, provide them with the resources and support needed for travel coordination. If it’s a cross-country trip, don’t have them fly in coach. Upgrade them to business class or comfort class. It may be a small thing to your organization but it means a lot to the candidate.

If you’re taking candidates out for lunch or having lunch catered in, ask if they have any dietary restrictions. This ensures you’re effectively servicing an array of dietary trends and being cognizant of potential food allergies. Those little acts of courtesy go a long way.

After an interview with a candidate, strive to offer feedback within 48 to 72 hours. Passive candidates start to lose interest if they don’t feel wanted. At the very least, provide a timely update. Keep interaction going if there are gaps in time between steps.

From strong candidate to new hire

Be creative with offers. You can creatively assemble strong compensation packages even if budgets are constrained. Think about adding a sign-on bonus, a guaranteed first-year bonus, tuition reimbursement, student loan payback assistance, a retention bonus, a sign-on stock grant and / or a longevity bonus. Get creative with the structure to get your offer over the hump.

If you’re relocating a new team member, prepare to participate in all activities leading up to the purchase of a home. Provide a house-hunting trip; invite the spouse; set them up for a long weekend; help them coordinate a meeting with a realtor; and provide information on communities, neighborhoods and school systems. You don’t have to be a Chamber of Commerce expert to provide insights on an area; a comprehensive list of neighborhoods where team members in the office live is a great start!

As organizations use relocation efforts to distinguish themselves from others, they’re often willing to do more than they did in the past. This may include covering closing costs on both sides (purchase and sale); covering the costs of packing and moving household items; and / or providing temporary housing once on the job. The overall goal should be to help the new team member feel like her family is being picked up from one place and dropped into another with as little inconvenience as possible.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Stay in touch with candidates. Assign one or two dedicated people in the organization check in with candidates on a weekly basis to provide updates and keep them engaged. And assign a buddy – someone outside of HR to act as a potential peer, mentor or supervisor. Genuine, helpful check-ins throughout the process can be the difference between landing high-impact performers and losing them.

To learn more, contact Charles Aris SVP Greg Harper at 336-378-1818 x9123 or email greg.harper@charlesaris.com.