Talent Wars: Attracting Top Talent • MJVacanti - Inspire
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Talent Wars: Attracting Top Talent

Talent Wars: Attracting Top Talent


Two Italian restaurants in a major metro area are wooing customers through their doors. One has incredible food, a top chef creating foodie-envy dishes that will delight the most discerning palate. It’s visually appealing, comfortable and occasionally crowded. From a gastronomical point of view, it’s excellent. Often though, you see advertisements, posts and promotional gimmicks to pull people in and amaze them with the extraordinary culinary creations. Restaurant #2 is constantly busy, every night of the week and during most lunch hours it’s at capacity. The food is very good, always consistent with a limited menu, yet doesn’t match the enviable genius of its nearby competitor. You never see a post, promo, ad or other method to bring people in – they just continue to show up. Why does one need to constantly promote and the other not?

The Experience is the Key

Amazing-food spot #1 never disappoints with the meal, yet something is just not right. The staff is attendant enough, pleasant and professional, but it just doesn’t feel right – like you’re a patron rather than a guest and there is pressure to finish up and get that table turned. They work hard to get you in the door but there is not genuine warmth. A lack of connectedness.

The ever-packed counterpart is unique in several ways. Most importantly, from the moment you walk in the door, you get the feeling that you’re a special guest and they are truly pleased that you came. How they do this with a packed house is mysterious, yet they never miss – you always get that feeling. When you have out of town guests, an event, business meeting or simply need to escape to a soothing setting, you pick #2 every time. How do they do that?

Classic Example of Attraction vs. Promotion

The “experience” of #2 beats the superior food and promotion of #1.

This restaurant example has incredible power relative to recruiting strategies and your company’s ability to attract and hire the best talent. Old recruiting principles are losing the game through a rigid grasp on stale thinking that posting and fishing and promoting the greatness of your offering is wooing the top talent through your doors. It has to be true, right? Look at the way you communicate, overtly or inadvertently through your ATS automated responses or lack of any response and the far too literal adherence to the template-driven job description and no guidance on interaction. The candidate experience is poor and you’re mysteriously struggling to complete. If the JD says 5 years of experience, 10 is too much and 4 falls short. Industry experience comes first despite functional expertise being the most important to succeed. The college degree is weighted on the school rather than the program itself. You see this – admit it – a political science degree from Harvard catches your attention even though it has absolutely zero differential value for the business development job. Your smart competitor on the other hand has mastered candidate engagement, just like restaurant #2 and they look at the aptitude of the candidate, not a “foodie-envy” CV.

Why The Attraction Company Wins

From the moment you “walk-through-the door” (first engagement) they make it feel right. You’re an individual, a valued guest rather than a pesky applicant that needs to be scrubbed down because you’re responding to their promotion. The attraction company knows they can hire the best and will elevate the candidate’s game through the process with behavioral interview structures, collaboration with the interview team and timely, instructional feedback. It does exist – companies do this. Are you one of them?

Recruiting is tough work. There really is no training. It’s a critical area of operation, yet it still runs on the equivalent of grandma’s home remedies – chicken soup to cure all. The only professional development available to these often brilliant and hard working people is the advice and experience of the person managing or mentoring them. Alternative thinking is not encouraged because the numbers don’t lie and the mindset is fixed. There is not another area of business that has operated on “this is how we have done it forever” more that talent acquisition. However, your competitors that realize we are operating in a new paradigm have adjusted, created the “Attraction” environment and are selecting their talent from the passive pool and the top of the talent scale. They focus on the right people – not the rigid requirement. They engage the candidate as if they are attracting a client rather than screening a servant. They show value to everyone through the experience, and they always make it an experience to be desired.

Promoting an incredible foodie experience will fail against the magic of attraction. Can you make a shift in your organization? Will you win?

Break through the status quo and disrupt old thinking. Be an attractor rather than a promoter.

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