3 February 2015

What Top Talent Says You Should Do To Attract Them


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Recruitment and retention Talent management


How do potential applicants find work? What are they looking for? This is what top talent says you should do to attract them.

recruitment-optionsMany businesses are struggling to attract applicants. With so many channels available to prospective talent, it’s difficult to know which one to concentrate on or what recruitment strategy to use.

Social networks, job boards, recruitment portals and offline advertising all play a role in how, when and why people apply for positions.

Below are the responses to a set of questions which sheds light on where people go to find a new job, what tools they use and what they’re looking for in a prospective employer. Reading and utilising this information may very well get you ahead of the competition in the struggle for top talent.

What resources do people use to find a job?

Despite the rise of social recruiting and sites such as LinkedIn becoming increasingly popular, job boards are still by far the most widely used source of job search by applicants. Whether generic or specialised, job boards still account for 25% of the hires on the survey.

According to the results, it’s important to advertise on not only the more generic boards to attract talent (75%), but also industry, niche or even company-specific sites which account for a considerable percentage of job searches too.

How did you secure your most recent job 230,000+ workers from respondents across 31 countries, three generations and a multitude of industries and occupations – as of September 2014

Word of mouth

Word of mouth, employee referrals and social media account for 26% of the responses, indicating that your employer brand is more important than ever. If employer branding isn’t part of your marketing and internal engagement strategies, then you’re missing out on over a quarter of the talent actively seeking employment.

When you offer a great environment and company culture, then your employees will talk about you to their friends and on social media. Word of mouth and personal recommendations are often the overriding factor on an individual’s decision making. If an employee recommends that a friend apply for a role, as long as they are suitable then they’ll be highly likely to do so.

News on social sites spreads quickly – positive updates, including your brand, are free and valuable advertising that shouldn’t be ignored or taken for granted.

Social recruiting

Social recruiting efforts are now a standard part of many brand’s strategies. LinkedIn Talent Solutions revenue increased by 238% between Q3 2012 and the same time in 2014. This illustrates the rise in the number of businesses investing in the platform as part of their talent attraction efforts.

When asked how they like to be engaged by a prospective employer, 12% responded “through the company’s social media network”. This significant percentage of the potential talent should not be dismissed by choosing not to participate on social networks.

applicant contact methods 230,000+ workers from respondents across 31 countries, three generations and a multitude of industries and occupations – as of September 2014

Your brand website

Company websites are playing a large role in attracting talent to to a brand. Ensuring that your site is optimised for talent attraction (as well as attracting custom) is key.

Are you showcasing what a great company you are to work for?
Do you make it easy for talent to find current vacancies and apply for these through your site?
Are you communicating with site visitors in real time?
Is your brand an approachable one or is it ‘faceless’?

social supportPeople’s expectations of brand websites set the bar very high and businesses are creating ever more comprehensive portals for their customers and potential applicants.
Immediate response via social media and contact forms is no longer a novelty, it’s expected. Displaying that you’re a responsive and forward-thinking business is an effective talent attraction strategy.

Your application portal

With the overwhelming majority of workers preferring to apply for a role by submitting an electronic CV or job application, it’s also essential to have an effective and optimised online application process.

Remember the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) when designing and developing a portal. A streamlined and easy to use application portal is key to attracting top talent. If the process is tedious or cumbersome, then you’re in danger of losing a potentially great hire due to frustration or lack of interest.

positive influences on application process 230,000+ workers from respondents across 31 countries, three generations and a multitude of industries and occupations – as of September 2014

As you can see from the above responses, there’s nothing exceptional about what talent wants from a job application process.

Having clear, timely communication and transparency, where the position is concerned, should be obvious. Sometimes it’s the obvious things that are forgotten in favour of the latest trends or what an ‘industry expert’ says worked for them.
Get back to basics and provide the information pertaining to the job role itself, i.e. the expectations and salary.
Forget the bells and whistles until you have these in place.

applicant-communication Communication shouldn’t default to email either, a telephone call adds a human element to communication and shows that you’re not automating the process.
It’s the little touches like this that stand you apart from the competition. As top talent becomes more of a challenge to recruit, it’s differences like this that will differentiate your brand from everyone else.

Purpose built recruitment solutions, such as Ciphr iRecruit, allow businesses to automate certain tasks and free their recruitment and HR teams to concentrate on more proactive and strategic campaigns.
By implementing such a system, the whole process is optimised for the business through automation, notifications and clarity, and also improves the experience applicants have during the application process.

Implementing a system that has a direct impact on the top two reasons given for a positive experience and also reduces the cost to hire should be a priority for any recruitment department.

What do you offer talent?

It’s not just about the recruitment process and getting the job spec right, it’s also what you can offer top talent that will make them choose you over the competition. The ability to illustrate the advantages of working for your brand over a similar company is key to winning the war for great employees. Below is what they’re looking for in an employer.

whats attracts talent to your brand 230,000+ workers from respondents across 31 countries, three generations and a multitude of industries and occupations – as of September 2014

A good work/life ‘balance’ is the second most important element that an applicant will look for from a prospective employer.

People are no longer willing to devote their entire lives to a company, they have a personal life too, and that they’re entitled to live it.

Showing that, as a brand, you care about your employees wellbeing and respect their time away from work is more important to talent than opportunity for advancement, which says a lot.
A company’s human side should form part of its standard employer brand and not be forced simply as part of a recruitment drive.
If your employees are happy and feel that they are well treated and cared for by their employer, then they’ll stay longer and be more productive. This in turn reduces turnover costs and increases profitability.

It’s also worth noting that the trendy ‘startup-esque’ perks and benefits are almost the least cared about elements of a business that talent is looking for. Make sure you’re offering real, tried and tested benefits before experimenting with what the internet says is ‘the thing to try this month’.

What about after the recruitment efforts?

It doesn’t all end the day the new employee walks through the door. Getting your onboarding right is just as important (if not more important) as your recruitment campaign strategy.
If you fail at integrating talent into your company, then you’ll have wasted time and money on getting them to that stage.

As the following graphic illustrates, on average just over half of employers have a plan for how they’ll complete the onboarding of a new employer – that leaves a high percentage that DON’T have a plan.

how many employers have an onboarding plan 230,000+ workers from respondents across 31 countries, three generations and a multitude of industries and occupations – as of September 2014

The perfect working environment?

Is there such a thing as a ‘perfect working environment’? Probably not, but that shouldn’t stop you striving to offer as close to it as possible. When asked what an ideal working environment would include, the results are unsurprising but the order of priority may be.

what makes an ideal work environment 230,000+ workers from respondents across 31 countries, three generations and a multitude of industries and occupations – as of September 2014

Respondents overwhelmingly gave emphasis to the elements of an environment that helped them do a better job, rather than personal gains of benefits.
Employees want to do a good job for you and just want the tools to enable them to do just that. All you have to do as an employer is enable them be the best employees they can.

Collaboration is key to your workforce working as a unit and being able to pool ideas, utilise experience and take advantage of particular skillsets. There’s an abundance of online and offline tools and solutions that enable your staff to work together including:

With BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and mobile technology now part of every day life, we are all connected and can communicate and collaborate from anywhere.

From the tools used to search for vacancies, to what a new employee expects from their first day in the office, the above should give you a good indication of any improvements or tweaks needed to your recruitment efforts.

Source – statista.com/Kelly Services
Results as at September 2014