How to Woo, Seduce and Capture High-Demand Talent

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firefliesWith Manpower’s recent global talent shortage survey showing that 35 percent of employers around the world are still experiencing talent shortages, talent attraction remains right at the top of the corporate agenda for many firms. Of course, most of us know that the talent shortage issue is complicated, with some industries and professions such as finance, STEM and skilled trades people facing some of the severest shortages, whereas in some sectors, there is a talent surplus. There can be regional hotspots and cold spots for talent along with seasonal variations in talent availability, which further complicate the picture.

So, irrespective of where you sit in the spectrum of talent shortages, you can be sure that at some point in the next year, you will find yourself hiring for a high-demand skill when talent is in low supply and when your employer is in dire need. It’s one of those recruitment scenarios where failure is not an option where you have the CEO and hiring manager breathing down your back for results. What do you do?

Well, when hiring for high-demand skills you need to adapt your hiring process from being a more acquisition based process to being sales orientated, that is, you are not buying a candidate you are selling your organization and asking the candidate to buy into you.

Of course, a sales orientated hiring process can be far more involved and resource intensive, but if you want to land talent in a high demand sector you need to turn on the afterburners and pay the price. Below you will find some guidance on how to move from an acquisition based to a sales based hiring process.

1. Shift your hiring teams’ mind set

Most candidates will be acutely aware of whether they are in high demand, which means that the typical high-demand candidate will have plenty of options other than you. This means that you have to shift your mindset from one of acquisition (e.g. point, click and buy your desired talent) to one of sales, that is you need to sell your organizational brand to your desired talent and convince them to make the purchase or make their next career step with you. You need to do the rallying speech (or email) at the start of the hiring process and coach and mentor your hiring team into a selling mindset.

2. Develop solutions based sales processes alongside your acquisition based hiring process

Of course, it’s crucial that you ultimately buy a great product, that is you are able to attract, identify and close on a highly qualified candidate. That is a given. But, you need to supplement your hiring process with an additional sales based element. This starts with benchmarking your internal brand offering against the competition and market expectations. Make sure you are presenting an offering that is in line with or even better than the norm in terms of benefits, values and culture.

However, all this does is get you in the game and show that you are a credible option alongside your peers. It gets you on the shelf, which means that talent will look, (maybe even interview), but there is no guarantee they’ll buy in face of stiff competition.

To maximize your sales potential you need to develop a more modern, solution-based sales process on top of your acquisition hiring model. You are not just selling a product you are selling a solution, in fact a career and lifestyle. But, before you can sell a solution you need to find out what the customer wants or in particular what the candidates wants out of work, career and life. In addition to the typical acquisition based hiring process competency questions you need to also use solution based selling questions which inquire about their needs, such as:

  1. What is important to you in a job, career and in life?
  2. What don’t you like about your current role?
  3. What level of freedom and empowerment do you have in your current role?
  4. You are currently assisting with management tasks? Did you want to progress to a team leader/manager?
  5. You have just just recently got your IT certification in skill ‘X’. Would you like to earn other certifications?

Throughout the interview process you should be continually asking solutions based sales questions such as these to find out exactly what it is that your candidate wants. This is the first stage of solutions based sales and it is not until you have discovered all the candidate’s requirements that you can begin to fashion a tailor made: job, career and employment package that is designed specifically to engage: woo, seduce and ultimately capture your high demand talent in a climate of extreme competition. We will expand more on this second stage of sales-based hiring, that is, creating a tailor made solution/offer for your candidate, in part two of this article to follow shortly.

By Kazim Ladimeji