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Best Strategies to Attract and Retain Top-Notch Candidates

In recent years, the job market has swung heavily in favor of candidates. Today‘s top talent has their choice of great positions, and employers are willing to woo them with above-average compensation, benefits and company culture to get the best of the best on their teams.

This so-called “war on talent” has led many organizations to make their recruiting and onboarding processes a high priority. We asked Forbes Coaches Council members for their best strategies to attract and retain top-notch candidates. Here’s what they had to say.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share their insight.


1. Build The Right Organizational Culture

To win the war on talent, cultivate a sense of appreciation for your staff. Studies continue to show that if a person feels appreciated, respected and connected, they are more likely to stay. Winning the war on talent includes recognizing that you and hiring managers hired a competent and experienced employee. Give them the autonomy and authority to do the work their way while feeling valued. – Arlene DonovanTurning Point Coaching LLC

2. Hire Based On Behaviors

Too many times, we let other people define what talent means to us. Perceived talent is frequently based on skills, achievements or pedigree. We often hire on those issues but fire on behaviors. Reverse the process and hire on behaviors and potential. Candidates appreciate when you teach them skills and resent when you try to change behaviors. Define winning talent on your terms. – Jim VaselopulosRafti Advisors, Inc.

3. Move Quickly Through The Hiring Process

Companies wanting to stand a chance in the “war on talent” need to focus on a speedy and timely hiring process. I have witnessed hiring managers losing out in hiring their desired candidate time and again because of slow internal hiring processes. A slow hiring process in this market is comparable to taking 30 days to place an offer on a house in the San Francisco real estate market. – Tim WindhofWindhof Career Services

4. Focus On Onboarding And Listening

Spend time, money and energy to get people in the right places in your organization. A great talent acquisition program includes selection tools such as Hogan Suite of Assessments and Big Five. Onboard well so that new hires know exactly what they are doing and why. The “why” will engage them. People want to get behind a mission and purpose. Great companies listen and leverage employee insights. – Terry HoffmannHoffmann Coaching

5. Shift Your Organization From A Business To A Brand

Get clear about your organization’s brand identity. What is your true essence and what do you stand for? Live the brand story and core values to magnetize top candidates. The principles we use in marketing to attract raving fans can be used in organizations to attract talent. Take a page out of the brand-building book when it comes to winning the war on talent. It’s about the emotional connection. – Michela QuiliciMQ Consulting and Business Training, Inc.

6. Create A Strong Referral Program

Although people tend to want to work with their friends, not many will go out of their way and recruit their friends without some kind of incentive. Send out a monthly email to all employees with current openings and the bonus they will get for a successful hire. – Helen ChaoInterview Right Consulting, LLC

7. Get Your Top Employees Involved

Candidates should hear the benefits directly from your happiest and most engaged employees to effectively attract highly sought-after talent. Ask your high performers to share their most compelling features of the organization and the impact on their career success. Feature it on social media, your website, have them be ambassadors during on-campus recruiting events, and in interviews. – Loren MargolisTraining & Leadership Success LLC

8. Develop Your Talent With A Strong Education Program

The war on talent is an excuse for what is not happening in the workplace. They are not “talent” until they are developed. We need to embrace them and create plans to cultivate them in the workplace instead of tossing them a laptop and paycheck. Talent development is the key to unlocking talent and potential. Forget the war in hiring and begin developing your talent. Education is key to all success. – Kristy McCannGoCoach

9. Create Irresistible Benefits Packages

Think way beyond the typical benefits package. Instead of simply offering vacation days, offer destination vacation packages and pay for airfare and accommodations. In addition to basic medical benefits, include a membership to a local gym, weight loss plan or wellness spa. Give quarterly performance bonuses in the form of the employee’s choice of cash, electronics or extra paid time off. – Stephanie NivinskusSizzleForce Marketing

10. Look For Candidates Who Share Your Values

First, stop framing your search for talent as war. It’s not. Wars have winners and losers. Instead of war, why not go on a quest to find people who share your values? People with a passion for making a difference? Those looking for a career, not just a paycheck? Give people a reason to run towards your organization, not away from others. Positivity attracts. – Gary BradtBradt Leadership, Inc.

11. Invest In Great Employee Programs

One critical shift an organization can make to win the “war on talent” is to consider talent development as an investment instead of an expense. This shift in mindset allows for a full commitment to a company’s greatest asset: their employees. When companies spend money on holistic programming, the results are lower turnover, greater engagement, and an attractive place for top talent to work. – Deborah GoldsteinDRIVEN Professionals

About Michela Quilici

International Business Growth Coach, Award-winning Marketing Strategist, Best-Selling Author, Speaker and Forbes Coaches Council. Known as a Business Navigator, Michela works with growth-minded business owners, service professionals and CEOs who want to ignite their businesses and accelerate growth, while building a business aligned to who they are.

She is passionate about creating roadmaps that ignite leaders to take inspired action to navigate their growth on purpose using strategy, systems and self-leadership, so they can get noticed, get clients and get profitable.