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Ten ways to get the best talent

Ten ways to get the best talent

When supply is low and demand is high – without increasing your costs

With vacancies reaching a record high and employers continuing to struggle to recruit and retain staff, the importance of having a clear talent strategy is more crucial than ever.

The simple fact of the matter is the war for talent is over and talent won.

Unless your recruitment process and entire talent strategy is reflecting that reality, then you’re going to feel the pinch.

However, just because the ball is in the candidates’ court doesn’t mean it’s going to cost you a lot more money or even any extra money at all.

It just means you have to be open to new ways of looking at your talent strategy. It’s about looking at your organisation through your candidates’ eyes and not the other way round.

The pandemic

The pandemic shifted what candidates and employees wanted from their lives virtually overnight, leading to a sudden increase in people quitting their jobs, referred to as the Great Resignation, and re-evaluating their priorities.

It was no longer just about the income, although that too has also shifted in the candidates’ favour thanks to intense competition for talent, but more about wanting greater wellbeing, more flexibility, more benefits, and more remote working.

In short, the pandemic has disrupted the recruitment market more than anything else, calling for a reassessment of everything. From client partnerships, ways of working and modes of operation to the pace at which we work and the way in which we present ourselves to the market.

Moreover, what worked before, doesn’t work now.

The challenge is, talent strategies haven’t kept up with this shift, resulting in multitudes of organisations today playing catchup.



Getting strategic

After two years of pandemic-induced disruptions, unless talent has indeed always been at the top of your agenda and attracting and retaining the best talent has been your number one priority, you will undoubtedly be feeling the shift like the rest of us.

Today it’s all about selling your organisation to the candidate not the other way round. They want to be their authentic selves and to be impressed by a company, rather than to impress. The pandemic has shifted the mindset of candidates and they know they are in control.

That’s why companies need to get more strategic about talent.

The only time talent is discussed is when it’s a problem and there is too much work, and not enough people to do it.

Great companies that recognise the importance of talent are thinking about it continually and discussing how it links to their growth strategies and future ambitions at every single board meeting. Instead of running one-off campaigns, they know it’s imperative to continually attract the right talent into their organisations.

There is plenty you can do as part of your talent strategy that doesn’t cost any money – you just have to be open to changing how you’ve done things in the past.


Here are some simple and quick ideas to implement:

1. It’s all about the WHY

Why do people want to work for you?

It’s no longer about the technical spec. Desirables, key skills, accountabilities. That’s what organisations are still going to market with but it’s not what will attract the candidates you want.

It has to be about the “why come and work for you and not someone else”, whether that’s your employer brand, the benefits you offer, the experience you give or the projects you have on.

What are you offering that another organisation is not?

2. Give a second chance to second place

Do you track who comes through to interview? After you offer the job, do you remember who came in second or third place? A year on, when that job comes on again, do you revisit that talent pool?

This is something you could do that doesn’t cost anything.

3. Widen your search and scope

In today’s market, organisations need to widen the geographical scope of their talent pool. The candidates are out there, they just might not be local to you anymore which is why offering flexible work that involves working onsite three/four days a week and one or two days from home doesn’t give you access to the talent you need anymore.

4. Think about your work environment

Today’s candidate works differently. Are you able to assess those different skills when you’re going through your selection process? Are you able to help your candidates self-manage? What about self-learning and self-development?

Are you fit for remote management?

Can you performance manage through a camera or a screen?

Do your management team and leadership team, as well as all your employees, have the toolkit to get that whole experience of working for you but from afar?

If you aren’t thinking about these things and doing something about it, the chances are you’ll lose your talent to someone else who is.

5. Give junior workers extra TLC

More junior workers, who are an active part of the talent pool, no longer have access to “at desk coaching”. In other words, they aren’t picking up skills they would have ordinarily learned on the job. So how do you plan to pivot to give them the best chance to get up to speed in their role? How do you plan on keeping them engaged and wanting to stay and grow with your company?

6. Change the way you think about talent

Hiring a contractor or shifting towards outcome-based projects could in today’s market work out more cost effective than a permanent hire.

It’s about learning to be open to different ways of getting the work done. Which is why organisations need to change the way they think about talent.

Most organisations still think a permanent hire is the cheapest recruitment option, but you’ve got to factor in the cost of hiring and then potentially losing a permanent employee perhaps as soon as 12 months down the line in today’s market.

7. Rev up your speed of hire

Organisations need to start looking at every step of their recruitment process and to think about what each step is adding to that process. Do you have a four-stage interview process? If yes, why? Streamlining your recruitment process could mean reducing the risk of losing candidates to someone else in the time it is taking you to complete your recruitment process. By simplifying things, you could be getting the talent you want quicker or beating your competition to getting that talent, without it costing you any more money.

8. Become candidate centric

What companies really need to get right when they are presenting themselves to the candidate market is to understand what the talent they want loves about the job they do. You’ve got to really start thinking like a candidate and asking yourself what does that candidate want? Not many companies are doing this. Then you’ve got to think about how to differentiate your company, and what you’re offering, from your competitors.

This is also why you must have a strong focus on your onboarding, including the culture aspects of your organisation and the flexibility that people now demand.

9. Get creative with your talent retention

During the offboarding process for retirement you could give workers the option to go into a talent database for short-term roles. People who retire might not want to work fulltime anymore, but that doesn’t mean they never want to work again. It costs nothing to put a really simple process in place as part of your offboarding process for retirement and gives you the opportunity to retain some of that talent, even if just part-time or on an ad hoc basis.

10. Keep a close eye on your hiring managers

Are you assessing the performance of the people involved in your recruitment process? For example, are hiring managers really clear on what they what they need right from the beginning? Does every person involved in the recruitment process know what is needed? Are hiring managers actively listening to ensure they are screening correctly?

Are hiring managers giving candidates an opportunity to actively listen and to really learn about the opportunity? Because in today’s market, selling your company to candidates is more important than ever. That’s why it’s important to be laser focused on what you are looking for in your candidates and then look at how you are selecting and attracting them.

The devil’s in the detail

In the end it all comes down to commitment and information.

Think about what the problem is, and what challenges you face, before you start the process.

By doing a proper campaign map you will be able to understand the challenges that you’re going to come up against so that you can try and mitigate for them in some way. Get very detailed when you are doing this because if you’re not thinking about the detail, you’re not playing the game well enough in the current market.

It’s not easy to get it right, but the companies that do, will get the talent.