Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers!
Today’s Question: In your experience, what incentives are top candidates most looking for today?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.
1. The Chance to Make a Difference
One incentive that top candidates look for in particular is the opportunity to make a difference. If you present a top candidate with the opportunity to matter, to change something and reach a goal, they will feel compelled to seize the opportunity.
— Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
2. Long-Term Career Growth
When people come to a new company, they ideally want to learn new skills and grow into the role. They want to believe the hiring manager, department head, and supervisor are interested in their intellectual development. Establish that you want employees who create value and that you will create incentives for them to learn. While they are with you, they will make your business thrive.
— Duran Inci, Optimum7
3. A Sense of Community
Most top-level candidates are not looking for a job where they are simply another gear in the system. They rightfully want a sense of family and community.
— John Turner, SeedProd, LLC
4. Financial Rewards for Great Work
Candidates love that we pay our team a percentage of their work effort. For us, this means billable revenue. Get targets for people. Don’t just give them a salary month after month and not hold them accountable for something bigger and better. People appreciate knowing that if they work hard, they will be rewarded immediately.
— Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc.
5. Health Insurance
People rely on health insurance to take care of themselves and support their families, especially in dire situations. Companies that can’t or don’t provide these benefits drive solid candidates away. If your company is able, it should provide benefits to take care of its employees.
— Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. The Ability to Grow
If you want to bring on a top candidate, you better have some upward mobility available to them. Otherwise, they won’t be around for long. You don’t necessarily need to promote them within the first few months, but they need to see that they can move up the ladder with your organization.
— Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
7. Leadership Roles
A competent candidate who also has courage and integrity will be willing to lead. They will ask about their potential to grow in your company and the opportunity to help your business develop in new directions. These candidates want to fulfill their potential and make a positive mark on the world by leading.
— Blair Williams, MemberPress
8. Learning Opportunities
Career-oriented people want to grow. Giving employees opportunities and channels to learn and grow will set your company apart from others.
— Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, PA
Whether they want to travel the world or care for their children, every candidate wants flexibility. Granting that flexibility gives employees the room they need to take care of the things and people they love most, which in turn allows them to put their best feet forward.
— Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
Top producers want to be recognized for their contributions. You have to reassess how you compensate people — even for traditional roles that pay set salaries. Find a creative way to motivate your top performers.
— Brad Burns, Wayne Contracting
11. Retirement Savings Options
People who are aiming to join a company for the long term are going to be interested in long-term savings strategies. If you are able to offer a great pension as an option, you’ll be able to attract more employees who are in it for the long term.
— Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.
12. Encouragement to Use Their PTO
Most workplaces offer some sort of paid time off for their employees, but it’s not uncommon for companies to discourage them from using it. Having a generous PTO schedule is a great incentive for top candidates, especially when you give them the freedom to actually use it as they please.
— Jordan Conrad, Writing Explained
13. Parental Leave
I find that most of our top candidates are interested in generous parental leave policies. Most companies only offer the state mandate, but we offer an extended period to show that we’re flexible and accommodating to working parents.
— Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
The intangibles are paramount to the best and brightest. Freedom is one intangible that is valued by all high-performing team members. If you show signs of micromanaging, have strict policies, or are inflexible in your methodology, you will not land top candidates. A top candidate cannot be caged. You are hiring them for their performance, so be sure not to limit it!
— Matthew Capala, Alphametic
15. A Great Boss
People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. A top candidate is going to want to work with someone they respect and see as a person who can help them in their career. A players are looking for bosses who encourage their growth and support them.
— Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.