The Top 9 Tips for Attracting Top Talent

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Along with hiring, onboarding, training, benefits administration, promotion, and termination, attracting top talent has always been one of the core responsibilities of the human resources leader. While the global pandemic and intensifying demands for job flexibility and diversity, inclusion and equity changed HR forever in 2020, talent recruitment and acquisition remained a top priority. In fact, with an increasingly global, remote talent network, the opportunity has never been greater. Nor has the competition, nor the demands on short-staffed talent recruitment teams. So what is the recruitment process followed by HR recruiters who’ve mastered how to attract the best employees? And what can you do to ensure you’re attracting top talent for your organization?

How to Attract Top Talent that Meets Your Needs and Fits Your Culture

It goes without saying that the best workers do the best work, but organizations of all sizes have a hard time finding and keeping them. Nearly one out of three senior leaders cites finding talent as their most significant managerial challenge, and more than 80% of Fortune 500 executives believe their companies don’t recruit highly talented people.

This means that, despite all the job postings, and all the ad dollars spent on employer branding, there is a great opportunity to separate yourself from your competitors, produce positive ROI, and recruit the future leaders of your organization. Here are nine ways to take your talent recruitment to the next level.

1. Develop a recruiting strategy

A recruiting strategy is your formal plan of action for successfully identifying, attracting, recruiting and hiring high-quality candidates for your open positions. When creating your recruiting strategy, be sure to create a checklist using our eight other tips for attracting top talent, as they should help you stay on task in your efforts no matter which position you’re aiming to fill or what type of talent you seek. Then, create similar checklists for the remaining stages of the recruitment process, including how to source and qualify potential candidates, what tactics to use to secure applications and interviews, and what steps will be required of hiring managers and potential hires before an offer is made. 

2. Set goals and KPIs

As with any other initiative in business, your talent recruitment efforts must be measurable, and measured. Not only will your company executives expect quantifiable results, setting goals and key performance indicators will allow you to track progress and optimize your process. 

In creating your talent acquisition goals, Indeed recommends following the SMART goal setting framework, ensuring each goal is:

  • Specific, like filling a particular role or creating a new team
  • Measurable, with specific target KPIs such as the number of qualified candidates per job post
  • Achievable, given your available resources 
  • Realistic, or aligned with your department’s and organization’s larger business objectives
  • Time-based, with a target timeframe for when the goal will be achieved

Indeed has also identified the following KPIs as effective for measuring success against recruitment strategies:

  • Number of qualified candidates per job post
  • Time to hire
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • Source of hire
  • Cost per hire

3. Showcase your employee value proposition

While most company websites have an “about us” page, many don’t successfully demonstrate the value of working for that company. Likewise, though most companies post on social media, and some also have Glassdoor, LinkedIn or Indeed profiles, they often don’t follow clearly defined strategies for attracting top talent. So, before you even consider posting an open position online, coordinate with your marketing team to create a strategy and supporting content that will effectively showcase to potential employees what it’s like to work for your company. Expand the “about us” and “careers” sections of your website to include engaging, rich content that inspires and intrigues — and link to your profile on third-party sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Then, enhance your profile on these sites using iterations of the same branded content to support your messaging and stand out from your competitors. 

Not sure what qualifies as engaging, rich content? Here are three tips: 

  1. Use your employees. Ask executives and managers at your organization for employees who could serve as compelling brand evangelists, and offer these employees the opportunity — with incentives, if necessary — to tell their stories of career transformation. As Gallop writes in its Guide to Great Managers, “Happy, healthy employees mean a better culture and a more productive, profitable company. They love their jobs and spread the word — setting you up to hire and keep more top talent.”
  2. Use your competitors. Research what your top competitors are doing on their websites and social media accounts for inspiration; there’s no law against doing what they do, but better
  3. Use video. Nothing expresses a feeling or emotion better than sight and sound together, so create videos to tell your story; this could include employee testimonials, interviews with senior leaders, behind-the-scenes office snapshots, animated company overviews, or whatever else you can think of that is fun, unique and true to your brand and company culture.

4. Make your job posts, ads and applications stand out

There are 1.3-million employers on Glassdoor and 10 jobs added per second on Indeed, so separating yourself and your job listings is critically important to attracting top talent and meeting your target KPIs. Here are four tips for standing out: 

  1. Shed the corporate veneer and get personal. Speak to potential hires, and whenever possible let your employees do the talking. 
  2. Get creative in telling your company story, detailing an open position, defining an ideal candidate, or soliciting applications. Use videos and graphics, share anecdotes and testimonials, ask unique questions, and encourage atypical responses.
  3. Highlight your company culture. Detail for potential hires not only what would be expected of them in a particular role, but what they could expect from the company and their fellow employees. This will demonstrate your organization’s commitment to its employees, as well as help you filter out potential candidates who would not excel in your work environment.
  4. Promote the perks. No matter what they are, display them prominently and provide as much detail as possible.

5. Offer perks

Take your cues from companies Facebook and Google — if you don’t offer perks, you should. Survey your associates to ascertain what they’d most appreciate. Then coordinate with your financial department, C-suite and team leaders to determine what creative incentives you can reasonably offer beyond the traditional benefits. This could include work-from-home days, matching 401(k), stock options, mental health days, free food, gym memberships, childcare, company retreats, and more. What’s most important is not what you offer, but that you offer your employees rewards for their hard work. 

6. Be flexible

While most perks could fall under the nice to have category, work flexibility — like health insurance and vacation time — is becoming a non-negotiable for more and more workers. As we explain in our top tips for being a better manager, 97% of employees are looking to be a “flexible worker” in the long term, and more than three quarters of workers say they’d be “more loyal” to their employers if they offered flexible work options. In fact, more than a third of remote employees say they’d be willing to take a pay cut of up to 10% to continue working from home, and companies that allow employees to work from home experience 25% less turnover. So, create a companywide work-from-home policy, and offer it to all of your employees. Then, train your managers to be flexible in extenuating circumstances and accommodate their employees in need. If the nature of the work performed by your organization does not allow for full-time remote work, create an employee incentive program with additional remote work days as a reward.

Are your employees asking to work from home more? Find out how remote work benefits staff and your business's bottom line (eBook download)

7. Demonstrate your commitment to learning, development and advancement

As LinkedIn explains in its guide, How Learning Programs Attract and Retain Top Talent, “to attract top talent, your organization needs to be a place where people advance their career. It needs to be a place where people are given opportunities to learn new skills and take on new challenges. And job candidates need to know about it.”

LinkedIn surveyed more than 10,500 recent job changers globally and found that lack of advancement opportunity was the number-one driver of job change. This was particularly true of millennials, the fastest growing segment of the workforce; 66% expected to leave their current job by the end of the year, and 63% believed their leadership skills were not being fully developed.

Likewise, 83% of respondents to a survey by SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, said career advancement was “important” or “very important,” and 78% said a clear career path would compel them to stay longer at their current organization. Meanwhile, only 20% reported being “very satisfied” with how their employers were managing their professional growth.

To ensure job candidates know about the opportunities within your organization: 

  1. Include stipends or paid time off for learning and development in your benefits package
  2. Explain how a new hire can learn, grow and advance in your job descriptions
  3. Clearly define your commitment to learning and development in the careers section of your website, stating the mission and goals of your learning program and highlighting specific programs and technologies your employees have leveraged to enhance their skills and advance their careers
  4. Add employee testimonials to your website and social profiles, featuring employees describing how they’ve developed new skills, used learning to transform their careers or advanced into leadership roles at your organization

8. Network, network, network

One of the most effective recruitment strategies has always been to leverage the networks of your existing employees — and there’s no reason to believe your top talent can’t attract top talent today. Employee referral programs have been known to improve the quality of new hires, increase employee retention, and save time and money on the hiring process. So, incorporate a referral program into your recruiting strategy, and follow these the helpful tips in developing your program:

  1. Coordinate with management to help set hiring goals, allocate the necessary resources, and promote the program within the organization
  2. Set clear, measurable KPIs and goals for the program, including number of referrals, number of referrals hired, placements through referrals versus other recruiting methods, length of time referred candidates have stayed with the company, and how managers and employees rate the program
  3. Create a simplified referral process, using an online referral tool, Google form, or email template
  4. Announce the program and provide clear instructions via email, intranet, Google doc or another method, and consider adding program information to your new hire onboarding documentation
  5. Offer a variety of incentives, including bonuses, paid time off and gifts
  6. Empower and inspire your employees by polling them on preferred incentives, hosting contests among teams, and publicly recognizing top referrers
  7. Integrate referrals into your company culture by hosting a launch event and periodic recognition parties, as well as promoting the program through your internal communications department
  8. Track your progress against your goals and KPIs, and iterate and optimize based on your findings
Three women of color meeting in an office, symbolizing the importance of diversity, inclusion and equity in attracting top talent

Expanding Your Network

Of course, like hiring from within, recruiting from the same talent pools can be limiting for organizations looking to invest in diversity, inclusion and equity — and reap the benefits.

When you recruit talent from outside your geographical area or immediate networks, you can attract workers who are typically: 

  • More diverse in their backgrounds, perspectives and skill sets
  • More inspired and energized
  • More adept at newer, increasingly advanced technologies 
  • Earlier in their careers
  • At lower pay grades

In fact, according to Forbes Insights, “a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial for companies that want to attract and retain top talent,” and studies show that a commitment to diversity and inclusion improves decision making, creativity and innovation, productivity, reputation, and employee wellness, morale, engagement and retention. 

But that’s not all. Highly inclusive organizations are 120% more capable of meeting financial targets and generate 1.4 times more revenue and 2.3 times more cash flow per employee.

To learn how to attract top talent by facilitating radical inclusion in your workplace, download our free guide.

Lacking diversity? You're not alone. Many companies are not only reimagining their recruitment process but reconnecting with their employees to ensure everyone feels respected, valued, and included. Download your guide to achieving diversity.

9. Don’t rush, and don’t delay

“Never ever compromise a hire,” warns Liane Hornsey, the former chief people officer at Google and Uber and now EVP & Chief People Officer at Palo Alto Networks. She once left a position open for a year and a half because, while candidates with the applicable technical skills had applied, she couldn’t find someone who shared the company’s core values. For Hornsey, filling a role quickly is never more important than finding the right fit. So, if you’re having difficulty attracting top talent that meets all of your needs, consider not only looking outward by expanding your network but looking inward to better understand and articulate your employer value proposition and fine tune your job posting. 

On the other hand, don’t prolong your recruitment and hiring process when you do feel positively about a candidate, particularly for less complex roles. Oftentimes, when a hiring manager or human resources department deliberates and delays the process, the candidate loses interest, finds another opportunity or is actively recruited by a competitor. 

In addition to attracting top talent, it may be your responsibility to toe the fine line between jumping the gun and dragging your feet. 

Of course, when you’re not sure, you can always count on MBL.

The MBL Difference 

If you’re looking for guidance on attracting and retaining top talent, there’s no better solution than MBL. At MBL, we are a true partner. We think of our work as building relationships, not as a business transaction. It’s our mission to learn as much about your company and its needs as possible, so we can act as your guiding force. We will share our vast network of carriers, technology and wellness providers, and more, so you can keep your employees happy, attract new talent, and boost your bottom line.

If you’re looking for guidance on attracting and retaining top talent, consult with our advisors

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