Winning the War for Talent – Recruiting and Empowering Top Performer

Winning the War for Talent – Recruiting and Empowering Top Performer

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Why do myths persist and what are the existing freelancing myths.

Last Wednesday we had the pleasure to co-organise a roundtable breakfast discussion with Learnitect. The topic for the day – “Winning the War for Talent – Recruiting and Empowering Top Performers” – was addressed from the L&D point of view by Learnitect and from the recruiting point of view by our co-founder Nick Patterson.

How can you attract top talent into your organisation, these are broken down into three. 

Understanding needs: Get as much data as you can (e.g., exit polls on why people are leaving a profession; what makes people want to move to a new job). Also, use the resources in front of you: what does the hiring manager think. The “needs” are often not “more money”, but instead more soft factors like “room for personal impact” etc.

Articulate the selling story: Job descriptions are typically describing a role in a company, not selling it. Remove unnecessary detail; ensure the company, team and role are being sold; draw out some clear selling points based on the needs of the talent

Reach the right audience: It’s critical your channel is reaching the right people. Trial different channels and test the effectiveness of each: record hiring metrics like role description views, number of screening calls. This also to give hiring managers the confidence that they are seeing the best people

Focus on the profile, not the experience 

Effective assessment requires a clear understanding the intrinsics you want to attract, and a way to assess these. The first step is understanding the intrinsic skills you’re looking for: this is very different to experience (i.e., someone who’ll become a great engineer doesn’t necessarily need to be able to code – they can learn that) Take a long-term view: assess for what you want this person to become, not what they need to be at the start. Interviews are notoriously bad at selection (some studies site below 50% effectiveness). It’s critical the right people are interviewing (i.e., founders might not be the best) and people are trained in interviewing: it’s a distinct skill set

Interesting insight in this regard that came from one of the participants mentioned dropping the degree requirement, as this often doesn’t serve as a guarantee of the candidate’s ability to perform the tasks linked to the role. It also allows for more variability on board; next step in this direction will apparently be considering even people from apprenticeships.

Enabling the candidate to meet a lot of people across the company seems to be working for another startup that was present on the day – while this might be challenging for the candidates, it is a process that is beneficial both ways as it bests verifies culture fit and reduces arbitrariness of the final decision. Sometimes, assigning tasks like a presentation or can even help engage the candidate early on.

Note from participants to founders: just because you are leading the company doesn’t mean you are necessarily good at interviewing. Don’t micro-manage and leave it to people who know the job best!

Candidate experience – How to get them effectively onboard

Get people “bought-in” during the interview process: case studies allow people to understand the potential impact and excitement of the role. Coaching people during the interview process can make it clear that you value professional development. Have a buddy system – assign each offeree, someone, the moment they receive the offer, who will partner them and welcome them to the company

Learnitect added on this occasion that research has shown how focusing on candidate experience during the recruitment process can pay off. This has several possible aspects: demonstrating a good feedback culture, assigning a post-hire buddy who looks after the new hire from day 1, simply making the new person feel like the company cares about them. Not only is then your new employee more likely to be fully engaged with the work, you also reduce the risk of him dropping the offer before actually starting to work! The buddy system has turned out to be particularly efficient (and also low cost) to several participants.



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