The recruitment landscape in the executive, managerial and professional sector remains a candidate-driven market in 2016, and moving forward, companies need to ask not what candidates can do for them, but what they can do for potential hires. To attract the best candidates, companies should broaden their perspectives beyond salaries and benefits and think about what makes their organizations not only great places to work, but enviable ones.
As trends change, highly qualified candidates have the resources necessary to be more discerning about the companies to which they apply, and the offers they ultimately accept. Now more than ever, these candidates are thinking about a company's culture and values. They're weighing whether the company fosters a positive environment and whether its values align with their own.
"Highly qualified candidates are prioritizing a positive and inspiring company culture over pay or benefits," says Suzanne Rice, director, global franchise development for MRINetwork. "They want to work somewhere that helps them grow not only professionally but personally."
Rice recommends the following tips for revealing the company traits that job seekers value most:
Define your values. Think about your company's mission and values, and how you can effectively convey these attributes during your next candidate interview. Go beyond financial or strategic goals and reflect on community impacts such as ways your company benefits society, makes people's lives easier or demonstrates goodwill in the world.
The modern, highly qualified job seeker is more altruistic-minded than his predecessors, and wants to work somewhere where he or she can contribute to a larger effort that transcends simply making money. An interviewer who can confidently share with a candidate the company's higher purpose and the concrete ways it's contributing to the common good will make a job offer that is much more attractive.
Put employees first. Top candidates are prioritizing company culture, and how it's created by the employees to get an idea of the people with whom they will be working. To effectively discuss your company's culture with applicants, analyze the positive qualities that are shared by employees across your organization and spend extra time looking at the specific traits of your top-performing employees. Spend time talking with workers to gain a better understanding of the personal qualities and attitudes that they bring to their work.
Also observe the overall atmosphere of your office. Are socialization and bonding activities in and outside of work encouraged? Or is the atmosphere stressed, negative or draining? If that's the case, improving your company's culture should be a priority.
Size up the organizational structure. Examine how work is being accomplished across the company. Today's job seekers are looking for alternatives to the top-down organizational structures of the past. Instead, they want to work at a company with a more collaborative organizational structure that not only welcomes and encourages opinions and suggestions from all employee levels, but also responds and takes action on these ideas.
Ethics in the workplace and sound business practices are also very important to candidates today. They want to work at a company where leadership is held responsible for their actions. Consider whether your company has an open organizational structure, accountability measures in place and ways you can improve them.
"Spending time reflecting on these important traits of your company, and prioritizing them in your discussions with candidates, helps ensure that your hiring practices respond to the unique needs and attitudes of today's job seekers," adds Rice. "A modern, self-aware company is one in which most qualified top performers will want to work."