The Art of Attracting Top Talent: A Comprehensive Guide

An organization’s ability to achieve business goals is directly tied to its talent: productivity, personnel recruitment efforts, and market competitiveness connect to a company’s overall talent strategy, tactics, and candidate process.


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Attract Top Talent: A Guide for Your Talent Processes

Salary and benefits factor into how to attract top talent, but employers who maintain a great culture know that turning talent candidates into long-term employees goes beyond compensation. Think of attracting top talent as both “art and science,” as you need the “art” of engaging with people from diverse backgrounds and the “science” of a sustainable and effective talent process.

How to Attract Top Talent

Our “Attracting Top Talent Guide” provides key actions and considerations for a comprehensive Talent process that contributes to the organization’s success.

  • Build Talent Process Aligned to Culture
    • Define Your Employer Brand
    • Develop Your Talent Recruitment Strategy
  • Attract Top Talent Tactics
    • Cultivate a Strong Online Employer Brand
    • Build Talent Pipeline via Strategic Partnerships
    • Showcase Employee Development and Growth
  • Provide a Positive Candidate Experience
    • Provide an Inclusive, Personalized, and Engaging Candidate Experience
  • Talent Recruitment and Candidate Experience Process
    • Assess Progress to Goals
    • Refine Processes to Maintain Alignment with Talent Needs of Business and Market Shifts
    • Establish Standard Reporting to Executive Leadership

There is not a single answer to how to attract top talent. An organization needs a thorough talent strategy incorporating culture, marketing to reach candidates, job opportunities with growth potential, an inclusive workplace environment, easy to find job posts, effective and non-biased applications, and a positive candidate experience to attract top talent and retain them.

Attract Top Talent: Build Talent Process Aligned to Culture

High-performing talent seeks jobs at companies with tight alignment between organizational culture, mission, and values. To build or refresh talent processes, use these core tenants that provide a foundation for sustainable success.

Define Your Employer Brand

Brand applies to organizations, products, professionals, and employers. There should be a connection between a company’s brand (what it stands for with its customers) and its employer brand (what the experience of working at the company is). A company brand is targeted at potential and existing customers. The employer brand, which should be a derivative of the company brand, is targeted to potential and existing employees.

Why Your Employer Brand Matters

Employer brands matter because it impacts people’s behaviors and decisions as relates to current or potential employees. If an organization has a poor employer reputation, top talent will avoid the organization and tell their peers to do so as well. ~75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before submitting their applications. Having a strong, positive employer brand can help an organization in several ways, including:

  • Reducing recruiting costs as top talent seeks companies with strong brands to find their next opportunity.
  • Enhancing workplace diversity by demonstrating your company’s commitment to building an inclusive workforce. Top talent actively seeks to work with organizations whose values align with their own.

Ways to Build Employer Brand

Organizations seeking to build and maintain a positive employer brand may have a dedicated, internal team in place. If not, there are some companies that provide consultation and provide best practices tailored to specific industries. There are many ways in which internal teams or outside consultants can help build and maintain an employer brand, including:

  • Crafting a brand statement that is the foundation of all employer brand efforts to convey the organization’s personality via imagery, language, and content.
  • Showcasing how employees treat each other and are treated by the employer in social media posts, videos, and stories, both internally and externally.
  • Incorporating employee images and testimonies for authenticity.
  • Reflecting on the organization’s values around diversity, equity, and inclusion via job descriptions, what external career sites are used (or not), social media posts, and candidate experience.
  • Incorporating the organization’s mission, vision, and values into recruiting at each step (for example, internal job posts, interview questions, external career site, and LinkedIn recruitment posts) to convey how employees are connected to what the organization seeks to achieve.
  • Monitoring, assessing, and refining the brand to ensure relevance to market shifts, talent trends, and company culture.

Develop a Talent Recruitment Strategy

An organization’s talent recruitment strategy is dependent on a strong employer brand. The development of an employer brand includes: The employer brand is needed to develop your talent recruitment strategy. The steps involved in developing a talent recruitment strategy include:

  • Crafting a compelling employee brand and incorporating it across efforts to attract top talent.
  • Conducting a thorough analysis of current recruitment practices to identify gaps and inefficiencies and regularly revisit those practices to continuously improve them.
  • Establishing talent reporting to identify connections from recruitment to employee retention. For example, tracking new hires to see how many of them remain with the organization and for how long. This tracking can help organizations define aspects of recruitment and hiring that work and don’t work, allowing for continued improvement.

How to Incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) to Attract Top Talent

A great place to work has a respectful, diverse, and productive workplace that celebrates what each employee brings to the company. Candidates should feel from the moment they find your job post that this is a company that wants to find the best Talent to be part of their remarkable culture.

A great place to work has a respectful, diverse, and productive environment that celebrates what each employee brings to the company. Top candidates should feel that an organization embraces and encourages a diverse workplace culture from the moment they read a job posting. Important steps an organization can take to ensure this includes the following:

  • Incorporating DEI values within an employer brand using imagery and copy that reflects an organization’s culture of diverse thought, skill, experience, and background among its employees.
  • Continuously auditing job postings to ensure they are targeted to specific skills and demographics and provide the reasons why they are being targeted for recruitment. Additionally, ensure that job postings include overall organizational DEI values.
  • Audit recruitment channels, online groups, and organizations to ensure they represent and/or include specific communities/demographics. Additionally, encourage current employees to share job opportunities with their own professional networks.
  • Establish and maintain review cycles for organizational DEI policies, values, and resources, as well as talent recruitment, candidate experience, and employment DEI policies as a part of policy reviews.
  • Ensure that the candidate experience is designed to enable equity at each step of the process by reviewing application screening and skill testing for potential bias, providing accessibility considerations for how candidate interviews are conducted, and use blind resumes to ensure a focus on skills and experience, not personal data.
  • Assess diversity within recruiting teams, marketing channels, and candidates to ensure they reflect diverse thought, education, and experience.

Attract Top Talent Tactics

Showcasing an organization’s culture is the best way to attract top talent. There are several tactics organizations can use to attract top talent:

Tactic: Cultivate a Strong Online Employer Brand

Organizations need to build a strong virtual brand that is accessible to the widest number of talented candidates, allowing an organization to cast a wide net that isn’t limited by geography. There are several tactics that organizations can use to cultivate their employer brand including:

Tactic: Build Talent Pipeline via Strategic Partnerships

Having a talent pipeline helps with the timeliness of response to shifting opportunities, including obtaining talent before competitors. Consider employing some of these tactics:

Tactic: Showcase Employee Development and Growth

To attract top talent, a company must demonstrate the professional benefits of working for the organization. Some benefits to highlight include:

Provide a Positive Candidate Experience

The candidate experience is more than the interview. It begins with the employer brand and encompasses the job posting, the comments and feedback regarding organizational culture in social media by former and current employees, the way a candidate is contacted for interviewing, the interview itself, the interactions post interview, and the offer letter process.

Provide an Inclusive, Personalized, and Engaging Candidate Experience

The candidate experience should reflect the employer brand at all points of the process. Candidates that have a good experience are more likely to become a future, lasting employee who will further promote the organization. Aspects to include in the candidate experience include:

  • Ensure that your career website includes culture and employment benefit information.
  • Review job posting templates to ensure that applications do not have a preventable bias.
  • Identify improvement opportunities through candidate surveys.
  • Incorporate personalization throughout the process.
  • Use different channels and tools to highlight the employee experience, such as virtual tours, testimonial videos, employee quotes, and company achievements as an employer (awards, certifications, etc.)

Talent Recruitment and Candidate Experience Process Improvement

Part of the answer to attracting top talent is how the overall talent process is managed. Like all processes, the talent process should be monitored and adjusted as needed. Steps to ensuring your talent process is managed well include:

  • Assess Progress to Goals: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts including applications, marketing, recruitment communication, interview questions and style, and job offer acceptance rates.
  • Refinement of Processes: To maintain alignment with the talent needs of the organization and market shifts, it is important to optimize talent attraction strategies using data-driven insights to ensure finding the most qualified candidates. Collecting feedback from those undergoing the process to find areas of potential weakness that should be refined for a better experience.
  • Establish Standard Reporting to Executive Leadership: Use standard reporting backed with validated data to show trends, results, and issues so that executive leaders are well-informed and that attracting top talent becomes a part of leadership priorities, making them an active part of attracting the talent the organization needs.

Conclusion

Organizations need comprehensive and consistent efforts throughout each stage of the talent process–recruiting, onboarding, retention, growth, offboarding – to help maintain the competitive edge gained through a culture powered by high-performing talent in every role. The expense and time to recruit high-performing talent will be in a continuously repeating cycle if the organizational culture does not match the values espoused by the employer brand. Eventually, organizations run the risk of not being able to retain and attract talent based on the perceptions of employees and candidates, giving the organization a bad reputation.

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