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3 Secrets of Competing for Talent

85% of employers say that competing for talent is their single greatest challenge.

Gone are the days when savvy employers have difficulty finding people, or determining who they really want to hire. Technology has changed the game.

Internet databases, job boards, and social media have all but eliminated the problem of literally finding people. Applicant tracking and assessment technologies, along with data science and predictive analytics, have made the selection process faster and more accurate than ever before.

Convincing the best people that they want to work for you? That’s a different story…

1. Show your real selling points

Do you offer a competitive salary or benefits package? Great! That’s certainly worth advertising when you’re competing for talent.

But unless your compensation package is significantly better than other employers, it’s not going to be much of a differentiator.

Prospective employees are often more concerned about the less-tangible benefits. They are what make your job offer truly unique, and very important to advertise.

Some examples include:

  • Reasons to be proud of the job and company (e.g., status, prestige, community involvement)
  • Positive workplace culture or environment
  • Responsive and open management
  • Flexible work schedules or responsibilities
  • Opportunities for learning or professional development
  • Opportunities for promotion or advancement

2. Offer a test drive

Would you buy a car without being able to take a test drive first? Not likely, and you probably wouldn’t have the same level of confidence in such a decision.

The same basic principle applies when you’re competing for talent with other employers. Simple things like a tour of the workspace or a chance to meet potential managers and coworkers can be used to increase a candidate’s confidence.

Realistic job previews are even closer to an actual test drive. The idea is to show the candidate what the work is actually like. For example, you might task a prospective marketing candidate with writing some copy about your product, a prospective salesperson with delivering a pitch, or a prospective computer developer with writing some code.

The most widely documented benefit is that candidates perceive employers who offer job previews as more open and honest—this change in perception results in greater loyalty and reduced turnover rates over time.

But let’s not forget the real reason car dealerships are so enthusiastic about having customers take a test drive: to put you in the driver’s seat.

This is based on a very simple psychological principle. Once you do something, it becomes very easy to think that it’s exactly what you wanted to do, it’s something that you like to do, and even that you are the kind of person that does that thing.

3. Timing can make a big difference

What is the difference between a job offer that is accepted, and a job offer that is rejected?

About 1 week.

Job offers that are accepted are made an average of 7 days earlier.

(Note that this pattern doesn’t seem to vary by the skill level or experience of the job; it doesn’t seem to matter how long the candidate takes to accept or reject the offer; and offer timing is not related to the performance or turnover rates of the employees who accept the offer.)

To put it simply, decide whether or not to make a job offer ASAP. Waiting will only cost you.