The Talent War is Over… Talent Won

By Don Harkey


Let’s cut straight to the chase, it is getting hard to find employees. With 10,000 Boomers retiring every day from now until 2030, it is only going to get harder. It’s a little like you are camping and a bear comes out of the woods and starts chasing you. You won’t outrun the bear, but maybe you can outrun the other campers. Here are some tips.


Tip #1: Put a page on your website about what it’s like to work at your company

A recent study found that 77% of applicants today will do some quick and easy research about your company by going to your website. What are they looking for? Many applicants are looking for clues to help them understand what type of employer you are. If they don’t find anything, many of them never apply. Add a page on your website talking about your mission, vision, and values. Try including some pictures of engaged team members socializing with each other. A little information goes a long way. No information eliminates a lot of potential candidates.


Tip #2: Be a great place to work

The same recent study found that 72% of applicants today will reach out to someone who already works at your company to find out what it’s like to work for you. On average in the US, only 1 out of 3 employees are engaged. The rest are disengaged or toxic. Put these stats together and you can see what happens. A potential candidate finds one of your employees and asks them what’s like to work for you and you have a 2 out of 3 chance that you will not get a good recommendation. If you want to outrun the other campers, you need to start by being a better place to work than the other places.


Tip #3: Hire people who are traditionally ‘hard to hire’

Employment applications are screening devices used to eliminate unsuitable candidates. Unfortunately, they may be eliminating some great candidates who have a history. Would you consider hiring a felon or a recovering drug addict? Many employers are skittish, but there are programs for felons and addicts to help them re-enter the job market successfully. Some of these programs have incredibly high success rates that are significantly better than your odds on a “regular” candidate. With a little research, your company can partner with these programs and open a pipeline of great employees, many of whom will be more loyal and grateful for the chance.


Tip #4: Ask your team for referrals

Too many employers don’t use their greatest potential referral source; their own employees. Let your employees know what you are looking for and encourage them to bring you candidates. Cast the vision for them that you are looking for people they will want to work with. If you have great employees, they will refer other great employees. If you don’t, go back to Tip #2 and give us a call.


Tip #5: Do exit interviews (and stay interviews)

When your employees leave, an exit interview is a great way for you to get some frank and honest information to help you become a better employer. However, we recommend that you don’t stop there. Stay interviews, interviews with current employees who are not planning to leave, are an even better way to get information because it shows your employees you care about what type of employer you are. Becoming a better employer will attract more employees.


The good news in all of this is that if you apply these tips, you will not only attract better employees, you will become a better company.