There comes a point in most startup growth cycles where it becomes obvious that a good product will only get you so far. You realize that, in order to scale up and enjoy sustainable success, you need the right talent. It’s at this moment that you start to think strategically about hiring.
3 Tips for Impressing Top Talent
There are lots of ways to hire people and fill openings in your company. You can post these openings on job boards, ask around your personal and professional networks, target recent graduates, or even set up an internship program. But what happens when you already know who you want, but the person happens to be employed by one of your competitors? Knowing how to lure these individuals in takes a lot more grit and strategy.
While challenging, to say the least, hiring away top talent from the competition isn’t an impossible task. Here are a few suggestions for making a positive impression:
1. Know Your Story
How can you expect someone to believe in your company if you can’t clearly articulate why you believe in it? Knowing your company story from the inside-out is critically important.
“I've spent a lot of time refining our pitch as a company. This includes my vision for where we are headed, as well as the steps we are taking to get there,” entrepreneur Mike Farley says. “New recruits want to know they are joining a company that excites them, with a leadership team they can believe in. Make your recruiter give you their version of your pitch, as well, and help them shape it until it sings.”
2. Move Past Dollars and Cents
It’s not all about salary and financial compensation. In fact, research continues to prove that money is far from the best motivator. If you want to get people on board, you have to hit them deeper. People want to:
- Feel like their work matters.
- Feel that their work is appreciated.
- Experience the positive effects of the fruits of their labor.
- Enjoy good work-life balance/flexibility.
- Experience autonomy.
- Be challenged on a regular basis.
Chances are the talent you’re going after is already being paid well. While you’ll need to come close to matching or exceeding that amount, you can gain an advantage by focusing on the benefits they’re really seeking.
3. Deliver the Wow Factor
A positive first impression goes a long way. While it’s ultimately the substance of your pitch that will determine whether or not a candidate gives you serious consideration, you can set yourself up for success by delivering the wow factor.
For example, instead of asking a candidate to fly in on a commercial airline, reserve a charter jet for them and their family. This is a grand gesture that will show them just how serious you are about bringing them on board.
Focus on the Human Connection
Over the years, college football has become big business. And when you study this “industry,” one of the most interesting aspects is the recruitment of high school players. Highly talented players have their choice of which program they attend. Naturally, you would assume that all of these players would want to go to the programs that have experienced the most success in their history – like Alabama, Southern Cal, Texas, and Ohio State. But this isn’t always the case.
Programs like N.C. State, Washington, Virginia Tech, and TCU often recruit very well, even though they lack some of the trophies that other schools have. When asked why they would choose a smaller school over a top-ranked institution, recruits typically say something along the lines of, “It just feels like home” or “I’ve developed a really close relationship with the coaching staff.”
See, people connect with people. Whether it’s college football or business, the human connection is what matters most. Money, reputation, and trendy office perks only go so far. If you want to lure away top talent, focus on building relationships and making your business feel like home. That’s the secret sauce to building a talented team.