Recruiting is kind of like online dating. To decide who you are going to hire, you look through resumes (profiles), then you call to schedule an interview (plan a first date), and the convince your candidate to accept the job you are offering (woo your date). And, like dating, a lot of factors play into whether or not you get the candidate you want to get.
What persuades a candidate to take a position?
Many people would say the number one pull for candidates is money. However, according to a recent Forbes article by Wade Burgess, this a myth that is overwhelming proved false by the fact that what people really want is to be excited about their work and the culture at their workplace. According to Burgess, “Candidates’ decisions are ultimately influenced by non-financial factors including the work they’ll get to do each day, company culture, their team, schedule flexibility, professional development opportunities and much more.”
While the Forbes article was written for recruiting in the Tech world, the facts hold true for pretty much every profession. Daniel Pink and others have proven that the factors that truly motivate people are intrinsic, rather than external.
Many business owners who believe that money is a primary factor, and if they don’t think they are offering a high enough salary, they compensate with perks and incentives that highlight work-life balance and stress reduction. Some incentives that companies offer include a workplace spa, a gym membership, or other crazy initiatives, á la Google, a company known for having a super fun workplace environment. These incentives are sometimes even more effective than a high salary because candidates want meaningful work and meaningful ways to create a better work-life balance reduce stress, and often care more about these things than the size of their paycheck.
Another salient point in the Burgess article is that “Excellence Has No Headquarters!“ What does this mean? It means that while many people believe that you can only find the best of the best employees for certain industries in their headquarter cities (Silicon Valley for the tech industry, New York or DC for attorneys). While it seems like it would be a truth, this is actually also a myth. There are a lot of diamonds in the rough, and they’re often found in remote locations far from the traditional industry headquarters, and employers would be wise to keep an open mind in that regard.
The final myth is that the top companies attract the best talent, and it’s impossible to complete. How many times have you heard that the best tech talent works for Facebook and Google? While those companies do attract high quality talent, there is an entrepreneurial spirit running through today’s workforce, and many candidates long for the opportunity to stretch their legs and grow, something that isn’t always possible at larger companies. If you are a smaller company trying to attract good talent, highlight the opportunities for growth and the chance for new employees to contribute to the company’s long-term growth strategy. That may make you stand out from your large corporate competitors for talented employees who long to truly make a difference.
So what’s the message?
The message is that, just as in any relationship, there is not one right way to attract a good employee, and what works for one may not work for the other. Burgess concludes, “Many factors influence career decisions, and like any relationship, every recruiting experience is unique. To stay competitive, companies need to find the right chemistry with candidates by offering unique opportunities to address inspiring challenges in the world.”
Companies need to build their own culture. They need to be committed and true to it and ensure that the incentives they offer fit that culture. It is most important to be true to yourself and to build the best organization you can from the inside so that you will naturally attract the people that are a perfect fit for your organization.