You probably don't need me to tell you that finding those candidates with the X factor is becoming increasingly more challenging.  

When working with recruiters on need-to-fill positions I'm guessing you've heard the phrase, "You're simply not paying enough."  This pains me and, unless absolutely necessary, I try to avoid leading with it when performing a headhunt.  After all, I'm not the one crippling my budget when being forced to pay 10-20% to secure someone.  I feel it's a term that recruiters fall back on too easily and can be used as a get out of jail free card.

Attracting an individual with a given skillset within a given market is only made harder when you're trying to attract individuals for a sideways move.  I appreciate that plumping for the candidate who isn't quite ready for the move adds risk; especially if you're forced to pay higher rates of pay.

And so, having worked with a number of clients within the industries I serve, Building Products & Construction - two industries that are suffering from a bun fight on talent - below are some initiatives they've developed to ensure they stay ahead.  Importantly, rather than rinsing candidates at interviewing stages, the better ones are taking time to explain these areas with the preferred candidate towards the end of the process rather than dumping it on them, almost as an afterthought, when offering the role:

  • Fringe benefits:  Most companies give little explanation as to how bonus structures work.  If you're offering a percentage of X, how is this broken down and, sensibly, what has this paid out at of recent years?  Are there shares available?  Again, substantiate these.  Is your pension scheme above market rate?  Shout about it!
  • Flexible working:  This doesn't mean four days working from home and, often in senior roles, this is unattainable. But, have you in the past offered flexibility for personal development; managing children's holidays etc..  
  • Culture:  What makes you standout as an organisation?  I'm not talking about a pool table and free coffee, more so, why do people stay; what do your employees say about working for you?  Is your retention rate strong?  Shout about it!  How do you live up to your values that, inevitably, you've created over the past five years?
  • Potential progression:  Are there a handful of employees internally that can shout about their own experiences of growing with the organisation?  What traction for growth is there within the role - this doesn't have to mean promotional prospects; what are your plans for growth and how does this position fit into that?  

One client of Collingwood's (a global tech manufacturer) has worked with us to distil elements of these into a video for us to introduce to candidates when headhunting.  Capturing their intrigue early is paramount.  People do sniff out desperation and discussing the above at offer stage can be perceived as exactly that.

Oh, and an obvious tactic is to nurture the real "A stars" you already have internally to ensure you don't have to backfill their roles.