The law of (candidate) attraction

I get a lot of comments from hiring managers that they just can’t seem to attract the right people to their open positions.  The perception is that there isn’t good talent out there and that is one of the primary challenges affecting company growth.  While I agree that we need to continue to promote education in Colorado – and work on developing our workforce for the future – I can’t support the argument that there isn’t good talent out there.  Maybe, they just don’t want to work at your company………

The concept of employment reputation is relatively new although those companies with bad reputations would argue that it’s been around for a long time.  Your company has a reputation – maybe you have played a part in creating it, and maybe it’s been created for you.  Based on this reputation you attract a particular set of people who are eager to work at your company.  The good news is that you will likely attract folks who are much like the people you already have.  The bad news is that is you are trying to attract people who can be change agents or who fill gaps on your existing team it will be a difficult task.  Here are some examples:

  1. If you have skateboards and game tables in the office – you are easily able to find fun, young, hip professionals.  However, your company may will be a turn-off to those who are interested in serious career development, professional growth and thought leadership – as well as pretty much anyone with an Ivy League education.
  2. If your company is big, hierarchical and full of rules – you will absolutely attract people with a strong education who are interested in title, prestige and compensation as a key driver.  You may not be able to attract creative thinkers, entrepreneurial “get it done” types who are more interested in outcomes than taking credit for the work.
  3. If you are a scrappy startup – you will attract professionals who want to have an impact, are innovative and are more interested in the work than the money.  You may have a hard time attracting that sales and marketing professional who is able to break into the Fortune 500 accounts that your company is targeting.
  4. If you have a bunch of negative press, social media reviews or poor employee ratings –  You will attract those who don’t care, have poor personal reputations or are primarily driven by money (so you’ll have to pay over market to get them).  You may not be able to attract those individuals who will help you turn your reputation around because they don’t want to be aligned with a bad reputation.

I think you get the idea.  None of these reputations are necessarily bad, but they do impact your company’s ability to attract and hire “different” people.  The change agent, the innovator or the Fortune 500 Rainmaker will seek out companies who can offer them a career direction that is in alignment with their personal objectives.  Next month I’ll offer some ideas on how to attract “different.”  Until then, give your company reputation a look – do you like what you see?

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