How Common Mistakes Block Your Way to Skilled Talent

So, here’s THE challenge – Many companies are in need of good talent. It’s the old news but still very accurate. Especially if talent in question is very scarce, even more so if they need a niche expert. A study from 2014 indicates that for every open position left unfilled for 3+ months, company is losing on average 14.000$. This amount is increasing with the importance of the role, thus, senior positions remaining vacant are even more costly.
This is reflected through overworked and unhappy employees who don’t deliver, lower quality of service, unfinished tasks, delays and low retention rate.

One might think that after a competitive war on talent, market will learn from its own mistakes and losses. Good companies are the ones that grabbed all top-notch talent and everybody wants to work for them, and what’s left is average talent and average companies? Not so fast.

Companies rush to recruit people so quickly they end up with either someone unsuitable or they spend a lot of resources in the process, only to get a meagre result and someone who drops out after a couple of months.

The fact is- there are candidates, good candidates.

They just don’t want to work for you

Why? Let’s see.
Would you:

  • apply to your own job ad?
  • fill the long form about your skills and experience, when you’ve just provided the exact same data in your CV?
  • apply for a job in a seemingly “meh” place, when there are companies with amazing backstory, clearly excited about their purpose?
  • even read a job ad that lists an incredible amount of work responsibilities and requirements, when there isn’t a single point mentioning what’s in it for you, how your day-to-day work will look like, and why your job function matters to the company?
  • go through a humiliating experience of waiting for a response that never comes?

Yes, to all, if you really need the job asap. Not, if you’re a perfectly suitable candidate. Why bother? Perfectly suitable candidates get snatched by good companies that know how to tell a story, making it clear this will be a win-win situation. They appreciate the user-friendly experience, forms that don’t require ancestors’ blood sample to be filled, lean interview process and being treated like a  human being. People want to see the purpose. If it looks like you’re desperate to get employees and you have no idea what you’re doing, you’ll attract those that are in despair too.

You have a story, tell it loud and clear

In such a small market as Finland is, news and messages travel really fast. You always know someone who knows someone, and one LinkedIn and Hesari scroll on the morning commute got you covered on the daily updates. Usually everyone is talking about the same topics, no matter how insignificant, if they appeared in the news that day.

Leveraging this to your own company’s advantage has been surprisingly difficult for many. Imagine everyone talking about this great, innovative, talent campaign. Nice, right? In a society where people appreciate honesty and straightforwardness, you sometimes need just a shockingly simple message. You begin to ask yourself “Is this it, is there some hidden message?”. Well, there isn’t.

Deliver purpose, table tennis can wait

Telling your company’s story should be no more and no less than that. But please, tell that story. Share what’s the problem you’re solving and why you exist. Explain how people will contribute to solving it, and how you treat your employees: team, vacation, working tools, compensation, other benefits. You need to be honest and tell people what’s waiting for them and what their role will look like. You have only one shot at this.

There’s been a trend that followed the rise of startups, I call it “table tennis craze”, that’s now thankfully over. Everyone was suddenly pointing out that office boasts table tennis, unlimited snacks, massage chair, rock-climbing and afternoon beer. That’s really sweet but to be attracted to a company, and to stay with the company, it takes a bit more than that. After all, we can go to table tennis and drink craft beer after work, but if the purpose that was promised wasn’t delivered, if the work isn’t fulfilling, neither those unlimited snacks will be.

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