Hiring: How to attract top players
Ann is a frustrated business owner who has been trying to hire a marketing manager for the last eight months. Her last attempt was disastrous with more than $6,200 spent on recruitment ad placements and 63 resumes screened. After 27 interviews is one week, four selected applicants were met for a second meeting. Not one of these finalists was offered the job.
What went wrong and why was Ann so upset? Simply stated, the company had been attracting the WRONG people! An analysis of the job placement ad revealed too much emphasis on job-related hard skills and experience, as well as a strong promise of an attractive salary. But it was lacking a clear description of vital job-related soft skills needed to excel on the job and in Ann’s company environment. Most importantly, the ad was “selling” the wrong benefits to the wrong people—no clear mention of the most important selection criteria top players are looking for!
If you want to attract top players, you need to understand that your challenge is not to find them, but to attract them! Hiring is like marketing—if you do not know what top players are looking for, they will never show up. You have thousands of competitors when it comes to attracting the best, knowing that the war for talent is raging and that every business like yours is willing to over-pay, compromise and sacrifice in order to attract top players.
The 4 selection criteria for top players
You can always evaluate an applicant against four general levels of motivation in finding a job. The first two criteria are quite logical and your margin of negotiation is rather limited. The last two criteria are much more irrational, more emotional and have proven to be so much more important to top players. The good side of it is: you have ample room to compete on these last two. As a matter of fact, the four criteria below are presented in increasing sequence of importance:
Nature of the job. Top players look at doing what they like to do. No matter how tough the job market conditions might be, you want to detect and attract those who would not compromise too much on their life-long aspirations. Communicate clearly in your job ad that you are looking only for those who are passionate about what they do. Always give priority to those applicants who demonstrate a good persistence in their professional orientation.
With young applicants, it is important to detect why they decided to take a specific academic orientation. Were they purpose-driven or merely going through school without any specific future intention? Watch out for the purposeless applicants who mostly look for a job “to make a living.”