Talent Attraction in an Employee Driven Market

Sandra Quinn is a Partner with Barden. She has worked in recruitment for over a number of years and has experienced all of the highs and lows that come with that. From global recessions to bull markets, Celtic Tiger and Celtic Phoenix, Covid and everything in between. However, throughout it all the one thing that remains true is that exceptional talent is always in demand.

Recent research by Enterprise Ireland shows that over 80% of client companies rate talent attraction as one of their greatest challenges. Talent attraction and retention can be a major challenge for all organisations, regardless of size, so it’s vital to create the right mix of strategy, process and reach to ensure your organisation is visible and can address this challenge.

Here Sandra shares some top tips with you when it comes to talent attraction.

Attracting Talent

The first and most important thing to remember when it comes to attracting talent is that one size does not fit all. There is no one way to do it, but here are a few things that you definitely can do that cumulatively can create a tipping point in your favour:

Control your first impressions: You will be judged by your website, both its content and user experience.  You will be judged by your hiring managers LinkedIn profile and how it represents both their and your employer brand.  You will be judged by your Glassdoor reviews.  You will be judged by your companies profile on LinkedIn and other social media.  It does not take a lot of money and it does not take a lot of time to get these things right, but it does take effort.  Making sure that you cover these basics is your first step.

Showcase your people: People join people and people leave people – FACT.  Use the more human friendly social media platforms to showcase your people inside and outside of work.  Sharing the odd photo of a company event or activity can do wonders for your employer brand.  As long as you do it consistently, over time, you will build up a simple online history of how it feels to work in your business.  Never underestimate the importance of simple consistent effort in this area.

Write job specs for external, not internal use: Too many companies create job descriptions that list duties, contain internal acronyms, talk to tasks and demand experience.  People do not apply for jobs because the tasks involved were so well detailed. They apply for jobs because there is something about the company and the role that appeals to them.  They apply to jobs because of how they feel.  Write the job descriptions to appeal to your audience.  Invite them in.  Include quotes from the hiring manager or an existing member of the team.  Talk to general task but speak to the activity and the opportunity.  Speak to how it feels to work in your business.  Simple tweaks like this can make a big difference, in fact, it can make all the difference.

The personal touch from day 1: These days if you think it’s OK to email applicants to set up interviews you’re wrong.  If someone looks good then the hiring manager, or someone capable of engaging with the person in a meaningful way, should take the time to pick up the phone.  This personal touch can really go a long way.  Accommodate their diary, invite them in to “meet the team” rather than interview, make them feel wanted and feel important. Most importantly keep control of the process – they can choose not to email you back but if you get them on the phone they are much more likely to engage and participate.

Develop your unique value propositionContrary to popular belief, the interview process should not be a candidate interrogation. Yes, of course, it is your opportunity to evaluate an individual’s skills, competencies and achievements, but just remember, they are also evaluating you and your business, to decide whether this proposition is going to give them the opportunity they are looking for. When you’re dealing with top talent, it’s absolutely vital to remember that they won’t just be interviewing with you and your firm, they are likely interviewing for 4/5/6 other opportunities, and could achieve up a 100% conversion to job offer. If this is the case, you have a fight on your hands, and this should be fought from the first time you virtually shake hands, not at the end of the process.

WIIFM (what’s in it for me): We’ve all heard of this acronym. Understanding your audience’s priorities is key to negotiating, and closing, a mutually beneficial deal. If your strategy is to attract and secure top talent, you must take time to consider the drivers of aspirational and talented finance professionals. It’s absolutely critical to develop a real and engaging value proposition for why your leadership, this role and the wider company is right for them. Providing a full briefing on company vision, a clear role direction and a demonstrable career path for future development is pivotal. Consider bringing in peers, previous holders of this position and company success stories to talk through their experience and support your case.

You are your company brand: What you, and your interviewing partners, say and do throughout the interview process will create an impression of what it is like to work in your team. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were in an interview process, what would you be looking for in a new boss? Vision, integrity, the feeling that you would be valued? Most likely all of the above. Beyond interacting meaningfully in an interview to bring them into your world, it is absolutely essential to manage expectations fully. Demonstrating indecisiveness, not giving feedback on time, or worse, not giving feedback at all is a sure-fire way to cause irrevocable damage to not only a potential offer acceptance, but also your reputation as a hiring employer in the market.

It’s not all about the base but salary is important: Today base salary is very much a hygiene factor – paying the right salary or above is not a motivating factor but paying slightly less than expected is highly demotivating.  Don’t play games with salary.  Be clear as to your range at the very beginning, clarify expectations as you go through a process and when you do make an offer make it in person, explain your reasoning and at the same time paint a future vision for how you will help the person increase their learning and earning into the future.

Building Your Team?

Sandra Quinn is a Partner with Barden. Reach out to Sandra to see how she, and her team, can help you build and retain truly world class teams.


At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to hello@barden.ie and we will take it from there. Easy.