1. Put yourself in their shoes
There’s more to finding perfect talent than pulling together a job description and checking off a candidate’s abilities. Before kicking off the process, take time to think about what a prospective candidate is looking for from a career move – and from you. Top performers are busy people but when they consider their options, they will inevitably weigh up the pros and cons of making a switch. Of course they want to be fairly compensated, but they are also looking to be excited, inspired and fulfilled. “[It’s about] getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment, and helping to find a way to innovate,” says Marissa Mayer, former Yahoo! CEO and founder of Lumi Labs.
2. Look inwards
It may sound obvious, but the first step is to identify high-performing talent within your own organisation, and not just from the same department or division. Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report highlighted a greater need to foster a culture of internal mobility due to a worldwide shift towards flatter organisation models. According to the Robert Walters Salary Survey 2019 Middle East & Africa, 39 per cent of professionals would be motivated by career progression to take on a new role, however Deloitte data revealed that just 38 per cent of companies are looking at internal mobility to build better leaders.
3. Reach out
On the flip side, the onus is also on companies to identify external top performers, and that includes reaching out to passive talent. Robert Walters’ survey found that 59 per cent of professionals are open to a job offer when not actively looking, while PwC’s 22nd annual Global CEO Survey reported that more than 25 per cent of Middle East chief executives view hiring from outside their industry as key to closing the current skills gap. In this instance, remuneration is often the main incentive to even consider a move, tied into longer-term career opportunities. This doesn’t discount the proactive job seeker, with a 2019 Harvard Business Review article pinpointing their highly ambitious nature, passion for work and interest in growing their skill set as fundamental reasons to look beyond their own companies. It has also been suggested that matching the right outreach resource to a prospective candidate is key. Top performers reportedly respond better to people they personally trust, C-suite or similar level contacts and their peers.
4. Dump the sales pitch
According to Howard Schultz, Chairman Emeritus, Starbucks: “Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumés can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture.” Forgo the elevator pitch, which can be a major turn-off for top performers, and turn the conversation on its head by asking what the candidate loves about his or her current role and what excites them about their career pathway. A less formal approach to opening up the dialogue, it’s a great way to get insight into their motivations and establish a positive rapport – or identify a potential mismatch. Then, when it comes to the company ‘sell’, you can tailor your message to their personal career goals. This sets the scene for the actual interview by which point there should be a mutual comfort factor and you can dig deep into their experience, successes and failures and pose scenarios to gauge their problem-solving ability. Best of all, a top performer will thrive in this scenario.
5. Learning experience
Once you’ve identified the perfect candidate fit it doesn’t end there. Companies need to look beyond making an offer and be prepared for some self-analysis. Be aware of what matters to this candidate specifically versus other prospective or rejected candidates, and ask yourselves if they decline the offer, what would be the most likely reason and what can we do that could swing the decision? This is an invaluable tool in better managing and refining the recruitment process. This should be engrained in the human resources operating procedure and used as the basis for tracking and measuring recruitment outcomes. A great example referenced by a 2019 Harvard Business Review article is India’s Tata Group, which tracks every aspect of the process and results from logging which schools supply its best-performing employees to analysing retention figures.