happens to all recruiters at some point: You get all of the way through your
recruitment process – approval to hire, sourcing, interviews, assessments and
offer – only to lose a hard-to-find candidate at the last hurdle. The
last-minute loss could be due to one of a number of factors, including a better
offer, a counter-offer, career path (or lack thereof). Regardless of the
reason, it’s frustrating and disheartening, and can have a very real effect on
So how can you make the right candidate an offer they can’t refuse? As employers, we sometimes forget that recruitment is an audition – both for the prospective employee, and for ourselves. And, we don’t always hold all of the cards. However, we can improve our chances of securing top talent – while minimising the dreaded last-minute offer decline – by focusing on the following areas:
1. Salary and benefits
Even in tight economic conditions, competition for star talent drives up price. An attractive cost-to-company (CTC) package remains key to securing top skills. And, while it’s not always possible for smaller players to offer the kind of benefits that larger, international corporates can, it’s still possible to compete. It just requires careful thought and a bit of ingenuity.
As a start, look at how your CTC package is structured. Could you offer a higher cash portion? Sometimes, corporate rules force employees to put a large percentage of their annual package into a pension or provident fund, resulting in lower take-home pay. Smaller employers don’t have the same restrictions.
How you structure contributions to retirement funding and group life/ risk benefits can also help, as can allowances for travel (refunds or reimbursements), car insurance, cell phone use, and even canteen/ lunch.
Leave is another good option. Are you in a position to offer more generous annual leave, paid maternity leave, or study leave? Could you offer flexible working hours? That flexibility is a big draw card, particularly for parents. Offering to pay for studies has the added benefit (if you have a payback clause) of aiding retention of key skills. And, share options or bonus payments (based on performance) are always attractive.
2. Technology trends
Outdated technology can have a negative effect on hiring. Employers who evolve how they do business and strive to remain up to date with the latest supply chain tech trends are more likely to attract star talent.
Also important is how your technology facilitates (rather than hinders) work. How much access do staff have to their laptops? Can they upload work apps easily? Does your technology support staff who need to work remotely?
3. Company culture
As David Cummings, co-founder of Pardot, says “corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur”. How does that play out in recruitment? By example, millennials don’t want to be told ‘we’ve always done it this way’. Instead, they want a stake in how things are done. So millennial candidates seek out forward-thinking, innovative and collaborative corporate cultures, with strong, ethical values and a professional and inclusive management style. They want to understand strategy and vision, have the freedom to challenge your thinking and play a real part in your success. If your culture doesn’t allow this, you may lose them.
4. Training and development
Clearly mapped out development goals and growth opportunities are key. As a minimum, paying professional membership fees, subscribing to industry publications, attendance at key industry conferences/ events, and access to professional or knowledge development short courses and workshops is essential.
However, to stand out, try to offer access to high-level, coveted study programmes, sought-after international conferences, or provide study assistance (with work-back periods or pro-rata payback). The best talent want to grow themselves as much as your business, so show them that you’re serious about enabling that.
5. Recruitment process
you’ve got the above elements covered, but you’re still losing or battling to
attract talent, you could have an issue with your recruitment process. Our
research indicates that streamlined recruitment processes that are based on
specific, detailed job requirements and focus on quick turnaround of CVs,
upfront checking, panel interviews and speedy feedback make a significant
Regardless of whether the vacancy is senior or entry-level, if your recruitment process cannot be completed (first presentation of CV to acceptance of offer) within two to four weeks, you’re likely to lose the candidate you’re chasing.
Securing top talent isn’t always easy. But, if you’re creative and are willing to think outside the box, you’ll stand a better chance.
Written by: Caitlyn Smith (IsPr), Branch Manager at Tech-Pro.
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