Attractive?Odd that we tend to make ourselves as attractive as possible when we’re trying to attract a partner, we wear our best clothes, a touch or perfume or aftershave, check the mirror a dozen times and practice our opening lines and questions. We tend to do pretty much the same if we’re attending an interview, making sure we’re seen in the best possible light. Makes sense. Of course it does. So why when we’re ‘courting’ the best talent for our business don’t we do the same?

Clearly I’m not just talking about personal presentation, though that is important, I’m talking about the whole candidate experience. Candidates these days, in particular top candidates, have choices. If you are after someone of their experience, qualifications and calibre guess what, so are your competitors. So are other companies in your sector, especially in the renewable energy sector.

So why should they choose you?

You may be thinking, ‘they need a job, plenty of people looking for jobs, it’s them that needs to make the good impression’. Wrong. The best candidates don’t need a job, they have one. In all probability a decent one, it’s just their open to looking for a better one.

Or maybe you’re thinking ‘we’ll offer them a bit more money, they’ll come.’  Wrong again, the best candidates don’t move for money. Not money alone at any rate. Is money important, yes, do they expect to move for more, usually. Is it a big factor?  Usually. Is it the most important factor? Not for the best candidates.

If the best candidates are in demand, and they don’t just move for money, how do you attain them? What do they want?

Make your company and role attractive. Let’s be clear, I don’t mean pretend it is, or tell them it is, I mean make sure it is.  It doesn’t matter if the level is CEO or Janitor, if you want the best you have to provide more than a job, more than an extra few quid. The first thing to do is ask yourself, what makes this company attractive to work for? (if you can’t come up with any answers it’s you that needs a new job!).  Ask your employees and colleagues, what do they like about the company? Why do they come to work every day? What about the role, the vast majority of candidates, good ones, move for opportunity to grow, for challenge, for a company with a better product or service, a better reputation, a more progressive and positive culture, for training and development. And money. Does your company and role offer any of these? If yes, brilliant, move to the next paragraph. If not, don’t try to recruit top talent, just look for the out of work and easily available.

You have a good company, you have a challenging but rewarding role. Great. Now sell it. Interviews are two way things. Of course the candidate needs to sell themselves, do research, show interest, prove experience, provide examples of previous success. So do you. Tell them why you believe in your company its products and services, its values and culture. Tell them why you and your colleagues come to work every day. Tell them about the role, the boring and repetitive bits and the fun and exciting bits. The expectations and performance measures, and the rewards and opportunities. If you have a good company and opportunity you don’t need flannel, you need to be honest, warts and all, don’t hide the hard bits, but focus on the good bits. Good candidates don’t expect work to be easy, they just expect their hard work and efforts to have a reward, to take them somewhere.

You have to be competitive to get the best talent. You have to sell your opportunity. If you have a great opportunity and candidates can see (and hear about) why it’s so good, you can bet they’ll sell their socks off to you. This puts you in control, ultimately it’s your job to offer, and you only want to offer it to the best candidate. But to find that best candidate, you’ve got to be attractive. If you want the best and busiest bee, you need to be the prettiest flower!

After 17 years in search, and hundreds of top candidates placed I could write a book about this stuff. One day I might, in the meantime if you want to ask any questions, you can give me a call, or drop me a line, in confidence 0845 303 9688,