By Jean Roque, President + Founder at Trüpp

A side-effect of the pandemic, the Great Resignation, has turned the tables on hiring talent. Employers are finding they no longer have the upper hand when it comes to recruiting new employees. While the initial reaction seems obvious—just pay more, it is important to remember that pay is just one of many levers and, in isolation, will rarely result in lasting benefits. Focusing your company’s resources on setting a strong foundation, establishing a clear job offer process, and becoming a place people want to work will create lasting benefits that contribute to attracting and retaining employees that are the right fit for your organization.

1. Set the foundation

Before uttering the first interview question, employers should be prepared to communicate their company’s employee value proposition. What makes employees want to work and stay at your organization? What sets your company apart from others? Candidates want to know what to expect if they work at your organization. How will they be managed? Interact with others? Collaborate? Grow? Advance? Setting clear and consistent expectations is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining employees.

The clearer the picture of the role, work environment, and culture, the better equipped the candidate is to determine if this is the place they want to work. Since many employers fail to clearly communicate this to candidates, providing that clarity gives you a significant advantage.

Today’s employees want to know more before the interview stage, so your job posting and initial communication to the candidate should share basic information including salary range (That may be scary for some employers but at this point, you should already know what you can pay for the role, and some states now legally require salary ranges to be disclosed), benefits offered, work schedule, and location (including remote/hybrid expectations now and how “permanent” those expectations are for the foreseeable future).

Increasing transparency during the hiring process may seem counterintuitive, but it is refreshing to candidates and when your job offer is accepted, you will be more likely to retain that employee.

2. Leverage the job offer process

Too often, employers fall short when it comes to presenting the job offer. Don’t miss out on this ideal opportunity to connect and entice the candidate to accept the offer. Elaborate on the aspects of the role, total rewards, or company culture that are likely to resonate with the candidate. Explain why they are the ideal person for the job and how the role and the organization align with what’s important to them.

When a job offer is presented, the salary should have already been communicated, so when declaring the pay, focus on what informed the pay rate (e.g., their qualifications, work location, internal pay equity).

The job offer is a perfect vehicle to sincerely describe why your organization is excited to have the candidate join the team. They want to know you have been thoughtful in this decision and that you understand how their qualifications and strengths will be valuable. Knowing the employer “gets them” places you at an advantage over employers who aren’t connecting the dots between what the candidate has to offer and how they align with the role, team, and company.

Lastly, be thoughtful about who makes the job offer. Did the candidate connect with someone specific on the team during the interview process? Maybe the hiring manager or recruiter isn’t the best person to present the offer. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and have the person you believe will be most effective make the job offer.

3. Be a place that people want to work

Although new employees are currently demanding higher pay, this isn’t lessening their expectations about who or where they choose to work. In fact, employee expectations have increased and shifted making it more challenging for employers to successfully pivot and align with the current applicant and employee mindset.

How your company defined, created, and nurtured its culture and work environment prior to the pandemic no longer works. That ship has sailed. It’s time to let it go, step back, take a deep breath, and redefine your culture and what your company wants to look like moving forward. Consider what your company needs to be to attract and retain employees in today’s labor market.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are more than a statement on your website or metrics to track. Employees want to feel like they belong, they are valued, and they are heard. Consider how your hiring practices, management, culture, values, and resources are walking that talk.

Employees want to be proud of where they work. They want to be part of delivering great services, making amazing products and championing worthy causes. Are your employees proud to work at your company? Are online reviews from customers, partners, and employees singing your praises? It’s not hard for candidates to dig around on the internet and uncover what people are sharing; consider what needs to be addressed and what needs to change so candidates want to work for your company.

It’s a tough job market for employers right now but relax, with a strong foundation and a culture people desire to participate in, you will be in a good position to attract quality candidates. Consider greater transparency and how you can make the various components of the hiring process work to your advantage. Competition may be fierce, but if you are thoughtful about the process and focus on the candidate’s perspective, you will have an advantage over your competitors that are sticking to a pre-pandemic mindset.

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