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The Art of Attracting Outstanding Employees

We’ve all had those absolutely outstanding employees:  well-qualified, quick to learn company operations and culture, exhibit great attitudes. They do what they say they will do, on time and with high quality.

Sometimes it can feel like we just fall into this type of employee. But there are ways to make the “fall” more likely. And since a company is only as good as its employees, attracting outstanding prospective employees is worth the effort.

There are many ways to attract and find great employees. The following are some I have found effective.  Try them out to create an ideal applicant pool.

  1. Go where the best go. Use events – even online – to observe and identify qualified people. Join relevant associations, talk with your customers, look on LinkedIn or other social media sites. Approach potential candidates with appreciation and ideas.
  2. Align your hiring process with your company’s culture and vision. This may seem obvious, however, the saying goes “hire for attitude, train for skills” is important. If the person does not have the traits that align with your culture and the norms you expect of all employees, then no amount of skill can make up the difference.
  3. Hire a good recruiter or staffing agency. Recruiters often follow people through their careers and will know when people are thinking about changing companies – giving you early access to the best candidates.
  4. Participate in the community. Sponsor a nonprofit or charity event. Offer scholarships or internships to local students.
  5. Write a realistic and detailed job description. Include job title, salary range based on seniority, and responsibilities. Try to tell a story about the company so people will get an idea of the work environment and company goals.
  6. Establish relationships with trade schools, colleges, and universities. It’s a win/win for companies who want access to the best candidates entering the workforce and schools who want outstanding career services programs.
  7. Foster a positive, modern, environmentally-responsible, and attractive workspace – wherever it might be. During these days when many desk employees are working from home, that might mean investing in fresh collaboration software, encouraging a daily stretch break, or offering perks like a small home office stipend or shipping an oxygen-releasing houseplant to each employee. For employees going into the office, give some thought to amenities like access to healthy, free snacks and coffee, relaxation areas, and ergonomically correct furniture.
  8. Offer the best benefits you can afford. Many companies use their benefit offering to attract and retain their employees. This could include paid vacation and sick time, mental health days, flexible work times, job-sharing, work-from-home, 401k, profit sharing, casual days, health, life, disability, dental and vision insurance, and tax-free health spending accounts to name a few. Paid gym memberships, parental leave, and student loan and tuition assistance are also gaining popularity.
  9. Ask your highest-performing employees for referrals – because like attracts like. They have first-hand knowledge of your business, plus networks of similarly-talented friends and business contacts. Hiring employee referrals can help build morale and be an opportunity to offer a referral bonus.

This list may seem overwhelming, but there’s no need to tackle them all at once. Test one or two at a time to see which resonate with your business, industry, and the roles you hire. I expect you’ll discover happier, more effective employees – and outstanding candidates.