Talent Wars and How to Win Them

21 February, 2022

By Stanislav Kirillov, Managing Partner, HPI Management Search (Russia)

For some time now, the competitive war for talent wasn’t a perceived threat, as many companies were busy fighting their own internal employee battles. Employers were either scrambling to cope with mass resignations or handling employee productivity issues with remote working. Simply put, employers had no time to deal with talent wars, but things are beginning to look different.

The battle for talent is back in full swing, making it difficult for employers to attract the best people among competitors in the market. While companies continue to put their best foot forward to make themselves attractive, the candidate market is playing out differently.

Candidates are offered several job opportunities a day, and they have become much more selective and impatient than in the past. It’s only with the best job offers that they are willing to wait and refuse other opportunities

What characterizes the offers that attract candidates to your company, and make them say no to your competitors?

The best candidates look for job offers that closely match their professional and personal expectations. They are not willing to accept anything that’s handed to them on the go.

Some job seekers prefer to work in big companies, some like small fast-growing businesses, and there are those who like to work in cozy startups.

Specific corporate culture, nuances of attitude towards employees, traditions, features of bureaucracy, style of communication, personalities of individuals in the team – all of these are important. These and other factors either attract or repel candidates.

How can employers improve their chance of attracting the best talents in the market?

Setting the Right First Impressions:

The hiring manager who interviews the candidates is the “face” of a potential employer for a new candidate. A lot of care should be placed in the role of the hiring manager and they should be trained to understand and meet candidate expectations.

Understanding Candidate Needs:

Mutual understanding creates attraction. If the company and the final candidate share the same vision of the future, affinity arises. If the candidate would like development and the company can provide it, or the candidate wants stability and the company offers future stability, then this attracts the candidate and the company to each other.

Offering a Competitive Salary Package:

As in the past, the proposed package on the position is important. Nobody likes to pay above the market, but the companies that offer generous salaries improve their chances of attracting the best candidates. Companies that tend to offer salaries at the lower end of the market may not even have a chance to interview the best candidates. Thus, those who budget lower than average salaries may lock themselves out of selecting the most competent professionals.

Targeting the Right Speed for a Selection Process:

Another factor in the competition for the best candidates is the speed of decision making and the simplicity of the hiring decision process. Lack of delay in scheduling interviews is a huge plus. There are companies that very quickly, in one or two interviews —almost immediately —select a finalist and make a job offer. In this case, a candidate who is already looking for a job and is open to offers simply does not have time to receive other offers. On the contrary, candidates who expect shorter processes may be frustrated by the long waiting period for the next interviews.

Positioning of the Employer in the Future Job Market:

The position of a potential employer in their industry also greatly affects the attraction of the best candidates. The quality of the company’s products, services and overall business reputation, USP and the feedback of ex-employees shared on the internet all matter a lot. It is important to be aware of how candidates evaluate the future of the employer’s business in the market. That’s essential – the best professionals strive to get a job and stay long-term with the best companies.

The war for talent is back again in the market, and it’s not to be ignored. People are losing interest in companies that are unprepared and blind to candidate expectations. Taking the right steps today will have exponential benefits in the future.

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