How to Design a Recruiting Strategy that Organically Attracts Top Talent

Manish Dudharejia

Manish DudharejiaPresident and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc

Monday, July 8, 2019

Recruiting the right talent is the aim of the game for every business out there. But doing so organically is a whole other challenge.

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Recruiting talent to a business has never been easy (and never will be).

Everyone wants to bring in top tier talent at an affordable price. Unfortunately, this task often plays out similarly to mixing water and oil. On the one hand, high level talent generally knows their worth and won’t settle for a low price tag. On the other, low-ball compensation can often lead to subpar hires and poor motivation down the road.

The good news is that money isn’t always the biggest motivator for talented job seekers. According to a study by Qualtrics, company culture plays a huge role in how younger professionals choose their job. Many have even opted to work for smaller companies for thinner paychecks in exchange for a collaborative culture that values personal growth.

Now, the term “company culture” is extremely ambiguous. Every company wants to promote how awesome their culture is and why anyone would be lucky to work within it. However, a good company culture can’t be defined with fancy words on a job listing or during an interview. A company culture is felt through the day-to-day operations, the people involved, and the processes in action. 

So how can you accurately reflect this in your recruiting strategy to bring in high-performance employees?

Let’s talk about the overarching tactics to keep in mind.

Create a great website UX

First and foremost, recruiting is an online game; no one in their right mind will deny this. In most recruiting scenarios, sooner or later, the prospective hire is going to see your business website.

In this day and age, your company website is often the first impression people have of your business. Think about it; if you were being recruited by a company and their website looked and functioned like it hadn’t been updated since the 90s, would you pursue that job? Probably not.

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Plain and simple, if you want to attract high level talent, you need a high level website. Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes.

  • Is the website easy to navigate?
  • Is the easy to read?
  • Is the site responsive?
  • How well does it work on mobile?

These are just a handful of questions you need to ask yourself - and answer with the upmost honesty. Try to get multiple (objective) opinions on the platform. When you recruit high level prospects, the overall feel of your website is going to play a significant role in their decision.

Make sure there are plenty of reviews available

At this point in time, everyone knows how important online reviews are in the decision making process. This goes for both customers and prospective employees.

Studies have found that most people read at least six reviews before forming an opinion of a company. That being said, it’s very, very important that you make an effort to gather employee reviews.

Now, when you ask current employees to leave reviews, you need to make it clear that honesty reigns supreme. When onlookers only see glowing, 5-star reviews with no cons or any areas for improvement, it’s going to come off as phony. If you choose to have employees leave reviews on Glassdoor, give them the option to do so anonymously. Honesty in these reviews is going to help you grow as a company, in addition to attracting prospects.

Getting negative feedback here and there is not always a terrible thing. Additionally, the act of responding to reviews as a company goes a long way; sometimes more than the reviews themselves.

Take one of these Trustpilot reviews for example.

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The calculated answer shows that the company cares how employees feel about the work environment. Generally speaking, most people tend to leave reviews when they are upset. If you take the time to craft eloquent responses on a public review site, this can say a lot about your company values.

Reviews are the lifeblood of the business world nowadays - both internally and externally. If you don’t have a good strategy for review management, you are falling behind.

Focus on employee advocacy

Your current employees can be your most precious resource when it comes to recruiting top tier talent. A strong employee advocacy program can do wonders to make your company more appealing from the outside. According to the recent Edelman’s Trust Barometer study, outsiders trust employees over CEOs.

Often times, employee advocacy is much easier said than done. The end goal is to spread awareness and showcase the company in an honest, positive light.

Depending on the nature of your company, instituting a plan for employees to build personal brands can be extremely powerful in promoting your core values. Dell does a fantastic job of this in their employee advocacy program.

The company refers to participants (employees) in the program as Dell Champions. These “Champions” work to drive the social culture of Dell and give people an insider view of what the brand is all about.

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Currently, Dell has more than 10,000 employees sharing brand content regularly through this program.

The overarching goal of employee advocacy is to create a community of success that prospective talent wants to be a part of. This can take many different forms so it’s time to get creative.

Talk about the bigger picture 

It’s a safe assumption that not many talented professionals get jazzed up to work for a stagnant company with little-to-no clear direction. If you want to make your company appealing, it needs to be apparent that joining the culture is about more than just a job; it’s about being a part of something special.

There are countless ways to address the big picture. For starters, make it clear to prospective talent (and customers) how your product/service solves problems and improves the status quo. Here is an awesome example from Salesforce:

In addition to the product/service itself, promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives is a great way to showcase your company values and genuine devotion to making the world a better place.

In a 2019 survey by Clutch, more than 75% of people believe that businesses should be supporting social causes. With this in mind, finding a relevant cause to support as a business can do a lot to attract prospective talent in the recruiting process.

The key here is congruency. There needs to be clear parallels between your company and the cause. When it comes to CSR, there is perhaps no better example than Patagonia and their commitment to environmentalism. In cases like this, the cause defines the brand itself.

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Illustrating the big picture is a monumental aspect of recruiting. The goal is to clearly show prospects how they are becoming a part of something bigger than both themselves AND the company.

Wrapping up

Recruiting the best talent available is a desire that every company shares.

As a result, the competition for high-caliber employees is incredibly fierce. In order to stand above the crowd, you need to showcase that you are more than just a business that makes money. The key is to find exciting ways to exhibit that your company (and the culture within it) is something truly special that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the universe.

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