Recruiting

5 Ways CEOs and Other Entrepreneurs Can Attract the Top Talent They Need

Job posts with salaries and other specifications about benefits receive a 75 percent boost in applications vs. those that lack them. Are you paying attention?
5 Ways CEOs and Other Entrepreneurs Can Attract the Top Talent They Need
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Guest Writer
Founder and CEO, Untapt
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

No matter what industry you’re in or how large your team is, talent will play a crucial role in your company’s success or failure. This year, according to Worldcomm Group, there was a 43 percent jump in the number of CEOs and business leaders who prioritize talent in their organizations, and for good reason.

Related: How This Recruiting Company Is Putting the 'Human' Back Into Human Resources

With open jobs outnumbering the total of unemployed Americans for three straight months, competition for top industry talent has gotten tougher than ever.

So, as a leader, how can you ensure that you’re doing all you can to attract and hire the very best candidates? Follow these four step-by-step hiring tips to build out a more effective recruitment pipeline for your company today:

Be up-front with salaries and other offerings.

Job posts with salaries and other specifications about benefits receive a 75 percent boost in applications vs. those that lack them, according to Stack Overflow’s job board statistics. Some companies believe that withholding this information will give them greater negotiating power at the offer stage, but I prefer to think about it this way: If you were a busy job seeker, would you waste your time on applications (let alone screenings and interviews) where you weren’t sure if the pay was in your acceptable range?

“The best thing for [both seekers and hiring managers] is for companies to include salary range data in every job description,” Liz Ryan wrote in Forbes. “That way, people who won’t work for that salary level will avoid wasting their time and yours applying for the position.”

Transparency will save you time, net you more high-quality applications and set a healthy tone for your future relationship with your employee. It’s a win-win across the board.

Be authentic: Avoid lazy, biased language in job posts.

Job descriptions are your first, and perhaps only, chance to make a good impression on a candidate. They should be detailed, straightforward and concise. Nothing dampens a candidate’s xcitement about a company or role quite like a poorly written job post full of overused buzzwords, misleading language and typos.

Related: 7 Tips to Improve Recruitment

Lazy job descriptions can also be a major source of hiring bias, according to The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Various studies have shown that anything from forceful or braggadocious language to quirky job titles like “ninja” or “guru” can set off red flags and discourage applications from women and minorities.

Luckily, there are plenty of handy tools at your disposal to help get you started. Apps like Textio and Gender Decoder can help scan your writing for biased language, while Hemingway App can evaluate your writing style and provide useful insights. As a comprehensive introduction to your company and its roles, your job descriptions are well worth your putting in this time and effort.

Prioritize employee work flexibility and health.

Work life-balance and health have become hot topics for employers and job-seekers alike, with employee expectations shifting dramatically. According to a recent study by Mercer, 51 percent of employees surveyed said they wished their company offered a more flexible work schedule, and about the same number wanted a greater focus on physical and psychological wellness at work.

LinkedIn has reported that nearly half of all US workers it's surveyed would give up a higher salary for a more flexible schedule.

“Wanting flexibility or work-life balance is the number one thing we hear all the time from candidates. It’s the number one reason why people are looking for a new job, by far,” TorchLight CEO and Founder Heidi Parsont wrote in the Washington Post. “We’re definitely seeing more candidates asking for it. But companies still see it as making an exception. It’s still not the norm.”

“Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace,” wellness journalist Alan Kohll wrote in Forbes.It can lead to physical consequences such as hypertension, digestive troubles, chronic aches and pains and heart problems ... Too much stress over a long period of time leads to workplace burnout.”

Your company’s approach to these topics can be just as influential as salary and the other numbers discussed in the negotation. The more flexible you can be with daily schedules, paid time off, sick policy, working from home, etc., the better.

Invest in HR and talent acquisition.

Finally, if talent is important to you (which it should be), treat it like any other branch of your company, and invest. Despite many leaders’ verbal commitments to talent, many fail to “put their money where their mouth is” and pay for the changes they want to see to their hiring and recruitment.

"Regardless of the industry, investing in your employees should always be a priority” executive recruiter Brian Binke wrote in a self-published post. “A common mistake made by some construction companies is that they view their employees as just another business expense. Retaining qualified employees is the best investment a company can make … It shows that you care about them as individuals and are willing to help them create a work/life balance that everyone seeks.”

Whether acquiring the best talent possible -- for you -- involves hiring more HR personnel, purchasing the software and tools HR those people need to perform at their best, or raising salaries and offering more benefits, you know that your mission is important, if tough.

Attracting top talent isn’t a quick-switch you can flip on, on a whim. It requires months or even years of hard work to make your company attractive to truly outstanding candidates. But, if you’re seeing low engagement with your open roles, it might be time to take a top-to-bottom sweep of your organization and see where employees are dropping off.

What's more, you can get creative! Be an ambassador for your brand on social media, like LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner or T-Mobile CEO John Legere. Hold a local job fair or community event like TD Garden with the help of online guides like this one from Workable. Do whatever you can to make sure your company’s best qualities are on display for active job-seekers as well as passive people who might be interested down the line.

Related: The Use of Digital Recruitment Tools Is on the Rise. Here's What You Need to Know.

No matter what stage you’re at, hopefully these tips will serve as good guidelines for your talent acquisition journey.

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