by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS
The VET Recruiter®
The best candidates in the marketplace do not care about money the most. Sure, money and compensation are important. However, for the majority of today’s candidates, that is not their top consideration when they’re evaluating their current (or a potential) employment situation.
First of all, if we’re talking about the best candidates, then these are people who are confident and fully capable of fetching the type of compensation they’re seeking. In some industries, like the Veterinary profession, there are typically multiple organizations willing to give these candidates the type of compensation they’re seeking in exchange for their services.
So what do these candidates want? What do professionals want from employers in this heavily candidate-driven market where job opportunities are plentiful and top talent is scarce? I have worked as an executive recruiter and search consultant for more than 20 years, and I believe that I have the answer—and it’s a multi-level, textured answer.
First, people wants to feel as though they belong to something, and not only that, they want to feel as though they belong to something special.
This is important to remember during the recruiting and hiring process. That’s because in order for candidates to feel as though they belong, they first have to feel as though they are wanted. As a result, an organization must make candidates feel as though they’re wanted. This is especially the case with top candidates and also with members of the younger generations.
So if you have a top candidate who is either a Millennial or a member of Generation Z, then you need to make sure the candidate feels as though they’re valued and wanted. If you don’t, then you increase the chances that the candidate will not want to work for your organization, even if you extend an offer of employment to them.
Second, people want to do good work and feel good about it. In other words, they want to be proud of their hard work and the accomplishments and achievements that result from it.
Just about all top candidates have a sense of pride when it comes to their work. Because they have this sense of pride, they often want to be recognized for that work. One of the simplest and best ways to retain employees is to recognize them for their accomplishments. It doesn’t have to be public recognition in front of their co-workers and peers. It can be a private conversation filled with positive words of affirmation. That is often enough to convince employees that their efforts are being recognized and are appreciated by management.
Third, people want to work for good organizations that they feel are making a difference in the world.
Not only do top candidates and employees want to feel good about themselves and the work that they’re doing, but they also want to feel good about their employer and the work that it’s doing. Once again, this is especially the case for members of the younger generations.
During the past few years, I’ve talked with more and more candidates who put a premium on working for an organization that is about more than just making a profit. Of course, making a profit is important. After all, you can’t stay in business without one. However, it’s equally important to stand out in the marketplace as an employer of choice. One of the ways that you become an employer of choice is through charitable and philanthropic endeavors.
As you can see, these three levels of reasoning explain why people want to do good work for good organizations that are making a difference. So what does this mean for organizations that are looking to hire top talent in the marketplace to meet their most critical personnel needs?
Simply put, organizations need to know their “Power of Why.” If you haven’t watched Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk about the “Power of Why,” then I highly recommend it. You can find it here: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
As you might have already guessed, the Power of Why involves asking the question “Why?” And the specific question is “Why do you do what you do?” Or to put it another way, “If you’re an employer, then why are you in business?” Right now, you might be answering this question with another question: “Why is the answer to this question so important?”
The answer is simple: if you don’t know why you do what you do as an organization or why your organization is in business, then you can’t expect top candidates in the marketplace to want to work for you.
There’s also a catch. It’s not enough to know what the answer to this question is. You must be able to articulate that answer to candidates during the hiring process. Not only that, but you must also be able to articulate it well, so that candidates are intrigued by what you’re saying and they want to hear more. Basically, you have to tell your organization’s story.
When you tell candidates your “Why,” you basically tell them three things:
- You tell them your “Why.”
- You tell what your organization does best. This is the “What” that backs up your “Why.” Think about what your organization does best.
- Third, you tell “How” your organization delivers on its “Why.” These are the specific things that your organization does and what your employees do.
To elaborate on this point, I have an example. This example applies to the Veterinary profession, which is one of the areas in which I work as a recruiter and search consultant. Here’s the example:
If your organization is a Veterinary practice, then your “Why” might be “We believe in the value of a life-long relationship between a pet owner and their furry family member.”
Your “What” would be “We treat your pets like family.” That backs up your “Why.”
Your “How” would be “We offer cutting-edge medicine.”
So if you put all of that together, you’d have something like this:
“We believe in the value of a life-long relationship between a pet owner and their furry family member. We promote this value by offering cutting-edge medicine and treating your pet like it was one of our own.”
Now, doesn’t that sound like it would attract candidates who want to do good work for good organizations that make a difference? It absolutely does, and that’s what makes this exercise so crucial for employers in this current market. Offering a competitive salary and employment package will only take you so far.
You need a compelling “Why” to effectively position your organization as an employer of choice and successfully hire and then retain the best candidates. The key to hiring the best people is as simple as knowing what they want . . . and then giving it to them.
We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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