13 Tips for Attracting Top Candidates When They’re Already Employed

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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers!

Today’s Question: We’ve all been there: You find the perfect candidate, but they’re already employed at a bigger company paying a higher salary. How do you convince candidates to leave their existing roles and take a chance with you?

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. Begin Before the Position Even Opens

When you meet a professional who would be a great asset, begin to build a strong rapport and a professional relationship right away — just in case a role does open up later on. At that point, they will already have a level of understanding about your business and team, which may entice them to consider a transition. — Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A. 

2. Have a Strong Company Mission

Make sure you have a strong company mission that resonates with people. Often, people are more interested in working for a company with purpose than simply earning a paycheck. — Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc. 


3. Post Your Positions on Paid Job Boards

I recommend posting your open positions on paid job boards. We’ve managed to hire quite a few people who had existing jobs when they found our listings. Many people check premium boards to see if any new job offers are available that they might like. The key is to explain what makes your business different from other companies and use that uniqueness to attract new hires. — John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC 


4. Define Your Why

More and more folks these days are looking for more than just a big paycheck. They want to know that they’re doing real good in their communities. When you can show top talent employed elsewhere why working for you will make their careers more meaningful, you have a legitimate shot at landing them. — Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance 


5. Help Them Learn While Working

Give candidates the opportunity to learn while working. Huge companies can offer big pay, nice offices, and awesome benefits, but your edge could be your company culture, additional learning opportunities, and the ability to work directly with the CEO. We all know that working with the CEO doesn’t happen most of the time, so it may be the perfect opportunity for those who want to learn from the best. — Daisy Jing, Banish 

6. Offer Benefits That Matter

As a 100 percent remote company, we are often able to hire talent from other big companies that normally offer way more benefits than we do, and it’s all because of one thing: the ability to work remotely. Understand that some employees don’t care about ping-pong tables or a trendy office. Some care about spending more time with their families and not having to commute to work. — Jared Brown, Hubstaff Tasks 


7. Lean on the Perks of Small-Business Culture

We lean on the benefits of our small-business culture. People can get burned out working in a massive corporate environment, so we highlight the fact that a smaller business such as ours can provide more opportunities for growth within a unique culture. Our close-knit culture and hands-on experience make our company more attractive to many people looking for an alternative structure. — Justin Lefkovitch, Mirrored Media 

8. Sell Them on the Intangibles

You can’t beat larger companies with deeper pockets financially. Instead, you’ll have to sell the prospect on the intangibles. Offer cultural perks that the larger company can’t. For instance, you can offer a work-from-home scheme, extended vacations, a more relaxed work/life balance, and the opportunity for faster upward mobility. — Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets 


9. Build an Employee-Focused Culture

Regardless of where the best talent is currently working, you can attract their attention by building an employee-focused culture at your company. Employees want to feel appreciated for what they do, and if your company stands out by acknowledging their hard work, they’ll want to work for you. — Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms 

10. Offer Good Growth Opportunities

Top talent often ends up at companies with deep pockets and strong brands. What many don’t know is that these companies don’t always offer enough growth opportunities to keep their top employees engaged and fulfilled. If you can offer an opportunity to learn and solve bigger, newer problems, you can get top talent. — Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS 

11. Communicate Your Purpose and Future Plans

One strategy for attracting talent from larger or more established companies is to communicate the future plans for your company and the purpose of your business in the world. If articulated correctly, this may light a fire in the person that you’re trying to recruit, as they will also want a new challenge and a more meaningful impact on the world. — Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME 

12. Push for Employee Referrals

If you want to attract more talent to your company, push for employee referrals. There’s a good chance people on your team know qualified candidates who don’t like their jobs right now. Ask your employees to have peers apply if they are interested in a job, and you’ll reach people who are employed and would otherwise never see your listing. — John Turner, SeedProd LLC 

13. Maintain a Good Reputation Online

To attract employees from a larger and more established company, you need to maintain your reputation on the internet. Before accepting an offer from you, people will look up your business. If you’re a growing company, they may not mind joining you if you can show them why your company is a better place for them to work. This is possible only if you have built a good image in the market. — Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite 

By Recruiter Q&A