Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

8 Reasons You're Losing the Best Talent to Your Competition

Are you making some of these mistakes during your hiring process?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hiring is more competitive than ever as top companies battle startups and small businesses for the best workers. Everyone wants to attract millennials with the newest and best skills, but not every business has the budget to beat out the competition.

vgajic | Getty Images

You may be surprised to learn that pay isn’t the top determining factor for many job seekers. Despite your best efforts, you may be scaring job candidates away during the interview process, if not before. Even after you’ve hired someone, your workers can still flee to one of the many other businesses looking for talent like theirs. Here are some reasons your competitors may be stealing potential employees right out from under you.

1. Your pay

Although job seekers take other things into consideration when choosing a job, your posted salary will immediately narrow your pool of candidates. Make sure your range is in line with averages for your area of the country before you post your job ad. If you regularly hire for a position, check to make sure you’re still paying within the right range for that occupation and location, since wages can change from one year, or even quarter, to the next.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

2. Your stupid questions

Many businesses have started throwing outlandish interview questions at candidates to see how they respond. Unfortunately, this tactic can backfire, especially now that candidates can share this information on sites like Glassdoor. Avoid questions that waste time during the interview and instead focus on behavioral-type questions that help determine whether the fit is right on both sides.

3. Your outdated culture

A fresh group of millennial graduates enters the workforce every year, each new class bringing new expectations of what work culture should be. That doesn’t necessarily mean outfitting your office with ping pong tables and arcade games. Instead, focus on ensuring each employee has an emotional investment in the work he or she is doing by making your purpose clear to everyone you interview and hire. Make sure your employees have a sense of contentedness and well-being as well as a common vision that you helped them understand.

4. Your inflexibility.

If you’re still a strict nine-to-fiver, you may not need to look any further to discover why you can’t win top talent. This is especially true of millennials, who have expressed a preference for flexibility in a job. This includes choosing jobs with flexible work hours, as well as being able to work from home. Try to find a compromise between the structured schedule you might prefer and the freedom your employees want.

Related: Inspiring Quotes to Help You Get Through Your Work Day

5. Your lousy benefits

If your benefits package doesn’t compete with other employers in your area, you may be losing candidates on that alone. According to a survey, medical insurance is the most popular benefit, followed by vacation time and regular pay raises. If you do offer these perks, make sure you mention them in the job ad and interview, as well as any retirement savings you offer.

6. Your negative online reviews

Employers may be googling candidates online, but that works both ways. Simply entering “working for” and the name of a business will often take someone to online reviews of that business as an employer. Some companies even have reviews for their interview process. Pay close attention to what people are saying about working for your company and try to keep those reviews as positive as possible.

7. Your (lack of) employee investment

In addition to being unable to hire new employees, many businesses find they have trouble keeping the workers they already have. People leave due to pay issues, but they also may flee to a competitor because they see no future in your company. If you hire from outside rather than promoting from within or fail to invest in training for your employees, you may have an employee retention issue.

Related: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People

8. Your bad management style

Bad management will lead to high turnover, as well as bad word of mouth that keeps candidates from applying when you advertise an opening. Consider whether you may be engaging in toxic behavior that is damaging your work environment and keeping morale low.

If you have difficulty winning and keeping employees, your hiring and management practices may need a revamp. Consider changing your interview questions, the verbiage in your job ads, and the work style you expect from your employees to attract the top-skilled professionals in your industry.

John Boitnott

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.