Attract Top Talent

Attracting the Top 10%
There is a finite working population available reduced by how specific a job requirement is.  Then it is reduced further to those that are actively or passively interested in a new position.  You now have the total population from which you and all of your competitors are seeking candidates.  The success of your business is directly proportional to your ability to get the cream of this group. Clearly only 10% of companies will get the top 10%.  Ambitious companies that understand how to attract the best secure the top 10%.

Now, you need to define what is the top 10% for your company. It will be quite different for your competitors.  We have already covered culture fit and positive attitude.  You also need to focus on profitable sales people , which with lowering fixed costs with a low cost overseas office or remote workers can be quite lower.  So the most profitable could well be below average performers who stayed for the long term.  If you design a good business model with efficient sales processes then the skills set of those operating those processes is reduced taking pressure off sales recruitment finding top billers.

When you have made all of these moves for your organisation you then have to have a plan to attract the best and appropriate beating competitors.  Most business peoples answer to that is to compete on basic salary.  As everyone has that as their first thought an auction is created.  It is not the answer although might be part of it.  Firstly if someone joins you because of your premium salary offer, then they will leave just as quickly when someone beats it.  We have also found that very few people have money as their number one motivation, apart from those that want no pressure and are not ambitious.

Assuming you have profiled to ascertain the exact person that is right for you, you need to look deeper to figure out how to attract them.

In sales some products are one off sales and some are ongoing relationships for years.  The former is suitable to someone whose timeline and thinking is very short.  The latter very long.  Clearly that test might apply to lots of different positions.

Profiling the top 10% out of the group is only part of the battle.
You also have to sell to that 10% that you are the right choice.  You need their values to match yours and you also need your structure to be an environment they feel at home with and in. And that their goals will be met.

I like to test that I have done this well by saying. If another company offered you the same basic salary as us, how would you decide which offer to take?  Then I would take it a step further with another question. If they offered more than us would you still take our offer?  I can tell you in my recruitment career achieving three offers for a candidate, the highest basic salary paid is often not the one taken by the best candidates.

So what are the decision making criterion of the top 10%?

Before we answer this, most, including senior executives, do not have a good strategy for this mainly because interviews is something they rarely do for themselves.  They are not prepared.

The top 10% want:

  1. A job that best helps them achieve their goals.
  2. A culture that they fit into and identify with other team members.
  3. A boss that they have respect for.
  4. A company that is going places.
  5. Good products with a clear market.
  6. Good margins and commissions.

Any questions contact the author Alex McMillan (+44) 07525-916574