As the warming job market works itself into a boil, candidates will be more likely to shop around for both roles and organizations. Knowing that they will have a choice among companies, potential employees will want to know how you are "better." Compensation can be a go/no go for a potential new employee, but recent 2017 research tells us job seekers have much broader expectations of you and your company.
Here is a summary of what 2017 job candidates' priorities are. Recognize that while certain reward opportunities count for a lot, YOU actually have a more powerful influence on the decision. Candidates want to feel a strong emotional pull to you and your company.
You may want to consider sharing a version of this "how to" list with your managers. I've added suggestions for how to talk with candidates to build a relationship and close the deal.
Top priority: The ability to do what they do best. The best recruiters will have figured this out before the candidate gets to you. If you work with a recruiter, ask him/her to brief you in detail on the candidate's preferences. Then recognize that encouraging potential employees to talk with you about these beliefs will be the most fruitful way to build the foundation of a strong relationship. It will also help you decide whether the candidate will be a good fit. If she/he is very clear about personal strengths, you better be sure that you can offer both current and developmental opportunities where those strengths can be applied.
The opportunity for work/life balance and sense of personal well being that is an improvement over what she/he has now. Take this seriously. The data shows that this comes in right up there at #2. As Gallup points out, "Female employees are more likely than male employees to assign high importance to this job attribute, while Millennials and Gen Xers are each more likely than Baby Boomers to do the same." Ask the candidate for examples of the improvements they're looking for, so you can talk about specific opportunities that your company offers.
In addition to providing facts about your company's programs, use the interview as an opportunity to talk about its culture. If it is hard-driving, be sure the candidate can align with that. The best way you can engage a candidate (and/or determine if she/he can succeed in your company) is to pay close attention to the level of excitement felt about your company's culture.
Greater stability and job security. We've been hearing this priority over the years since the Recession hit us so hard. Candidates want to know about your company's present strengths including stock performance, CEO style, new products, customer successes and so on. They also want to know your company's plans for the future, which they will use as a road map for their own career potential in your company. If you have had layoffs in the past three years, don't try to hide them. It will look like you intentionally skipped important information if your new employees hear about recent layoffs after they join you. If you have strong savings and retirement plans, don't skip that topic either. Financial security is everyone's priority and it has many facets.
A significant increase in income. Yep, compensation is this far down the priority list. Also note the actual finding. The question was about a "significant" increase, and just over four in ten indicated this would have to be delivered if they were to make a move. As you know, most people fixate on a salary number, but you can use the discussion to educate. Many candidates come from employers who use incentives very differently than your company does. Incentives give you an opportunity to personalize rewards -- which is a current employee preference -- so if that's the way your total compensation works, promote it.
An opportunity to work for a company with a great brand and reputation. You may not be Google, but you have a story to tell. Candidates want to belong to a company that they can be proud of claiming in any setting. This is not just about product successes, but also CEO reputation, customer service principles, community service commitments, donations and endowments, just to name a few.
Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP brings deep expertise to discussions on employee pay, performance management, career development and communications at the Café. Her firm, re:Think Consulting, provides market pay information and designs base salary structures, incentive plans, career paths and their implementation plans. Earlier, she was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson. Margaret is a Board member of the Bay Area Compensation Association (BACA). She coauthored the popular eBook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communications, a toolkit that all practitioners can find at https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunication.