Eight reasons the best talent won’t want to work for you

Attracting the best talent is an indispensable part of growing your business. Here we outline eight mistakes to watch out that will mean they will absolutely, definitely do not want to work for you.

You write job ads that put them to…zzzz…

The job description you copied and pasted into a Seek template? Delete it. Now. This is an advertisement, not a laundry list of responsibilities. You want your high-calibre candidates to be compelled to respond, to be excited by the potential challenges and opportunities.

You don’t respond to applications

Ah yes, the black hole of job applications that receive no response. At all. There is no better way to generate ill-feeling and consequently damage the brand you have worked so hard to build.

You make them wait to be interviewed

Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen doesn’t cut it. Strong performers will always have other options and, frankly, you’re likely to need them more than they need you. I’m talking about people who will make a tangible, positive impact on your business. Yes, I know you’re super-busy. Maybe because you don’t have the right staff around you.

You let the junior HR person do the interviews

Really? You’re going to let the fresh-faced HR graduate do first-round interviews? Good luck with them engaging effectively with serious professionals.

You don’t prep for interviews

Read their CV five minutes before you walk into an interview, don’t have structured, thought-through questions prepared in advance, and be totally unprepared for their questions, such as:

  • Why would I work here?
  • What future career progression exists here?
  • What defines success in this position?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

You conduct lots of interviews – more is better, right?

Um, no. By all means, involve other people in the business in the interview process – lots of good reasons for that. But that shouldn’t mean five meetings. Be involved in first interviews yourself, have key people involved in second interviews, and maybe do a meet and greet/cook’s tour as a third meeting. If Pete the Production Manager is on holidays, then Pete’s on holidays. Get him to Skype in if you must, but keep the process moving – no long gaps between interviews!

You’re inflexible about working conditions

Yes, people expect flexibility around working hours, working from home. Yes, that’s challenging for those of us who grew up when traditional, long, hours in the office were expected. But times have changed, and you can change with them or be left behind. What’s really important is that the person is delivering outcomes and is behaviourally a good fit, not whether they work from home on Mondays and leave early on Wednesdays to coach their son’s soccer team.

You’re inflexible about remuneration

OK, so you provide company cars. But the new sales rep is 12 months into a three-year lease on her car. If she sells it, she loses a stack of money. Keep it and she’s paying dead money on a lease for a car she doesn’t use. Be smart – pay her a car allowance and put her in a company car when her lease expires. Sound trivial? You’d be surprised how often this stuff becomes a stumbling block at the death. I’m not suggesting you throw the kitchen sink at someone, but you have to be market-competitive, including flexibility about how a salary package is made up, to attract great people.

Recruiting isn’t rocket science, but smart people often do dumb things that negatively impact their ability to get the talent they need to grow their businesses – don’t be one of them.

Michael Simonyi, Senior Consultant, Davidson Corporate

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