If you could see me now, you’d crack up. I’m writing this post with my head nodding to the tune of Nelly blasting “Must Be The Money” in the background (and I must confess it’s semi-righteous). But Nelly had it wrong when it comes to attracting talent to your organization: it isn’t always the money.
If you’re looking to attract the right kind of talent I’d argue the talent you attract that is only focused on the money is the worst kind of talent you can get (can I get a shout out for Mr. Vick?). Talent that focuses solely on money will be the first talent to depart when a better offer arrives. When that happens, you’ll incur another round of recruiting costs, training costs, and hiring costs.
The good news in this economy for businesses large and small is it isn’t always the money. You can attract fantastic talent without having to drop bling (I’m saying that right, aren’t I?) on their resume when they walk in for their interview.
Organizations of all sizes from Fortune 500’s to small entrepreneurial ventures can benefit both their hiring and their bottom line by nailing two aspects of attracting talent.
First, be interesting
Who wants to work somewhere boring? Duh.
Now take a step back and look at how you present your organization to candidates. Look at the materials you put in front of them during interviews. Look at your website. Listen to your associates talk to candidates on the phone.
Does the job sound interesting? Will a candidate find meaning in the work or is it simply a job at Widget Hut that pays enough to cover rent and beer money? Does your website look like it was built in FrontPage and specifically built for an optimal IE6 experience? (my techie friends will be chuckling at this last one).
If you’re not interesting, they’re not coming (and they’re especially not coming if the comp isn’t at the top end of the scale). The only shot you have at that point is to tell (and provide) a more compelling story than the guy throwing wads of cash at that same candidate.
Second, be challenging
Remember when you totally mastered the Playskool round peg square hole plastic toy? Bo-ring from that point forward, right?
Your candidates want to be stretched and challenged. They want to build new skills. Give them that opportunity. Throw them a Rubik’s Cube. If they have to choose between a $100k Playskool job and a $90k Rubik’s Cube job, believe it or not the latter often has an edge.
To successfully tempt them with challenging work, show them how their work fits in. Tell them why it’s meaningful and rewarding. Let them meet fun and interesting coworkers who will challenge them and help them grow (and if their prospective coworkers aren’t fun and interesting, why are YOU still working there for goodness’ sake?).
We conducted a poll a while back and it was clear folks placed meaningful and challenging work near the top of the list of wants in a job (well ahead of compensation). Look at the job descriptions you’re putting in front of those critical candidates. Will those jobs stretch them and teach them? If not, I’m betting they’re not banging down the doors.
Look – plenty of top tier organizations only pay in the 60th-80th percentile of comparable compensation but they’re capturing the best talent. How? They’re interesting and challenging. People learn there. They have an impact. They grow. And they do all of that in an enjoyable environment.
Sorry Nelly, it’s not always the money.
What are you doing in your organization to attract talent besides throwing Benjamins at them? Please share your ideas!