5 Ways to Attract the Best New Employees and Win the Competition for Talent


Some recent Dilbert comic strips have had fun with the tight hiring market, showing the fictitious company so desperate for talent that they hire a hardened criminal who ends up stealing all the employee passwords as part of his ‘tech support’ role, among other gags.

Funny stuff, but it highlights a very real problem.

How do you find top talent to hire for your new and open positions when unemployment is so low and competition for talent so intense?

A recent Inc article revealed several great ways to attract the best employees. But they also missed a chance to highlight the one that stands far above all the others.

Here’s the top 5, with the most essential and also the most neglected one coming at the end.


5 Secrets for Hiring Top Talent in a Competitive Market

1. Stop Boring Them with Your Job Ad

When hardly anyone is looking for new jobs, or they’re only looking for better jobs than what they already have, you’re not going to make much of an impression with a job ad that reads like it was written by lawyers or bureaucrats. Or people who don’t understand the job. And that applies even if you’re hiring a lawyer or a bureaucrat.

Some ways to liven up a boring job ad:

  • Use action verbs
  • Talk up your company culture
  • Present your workplace as one that honors and rewards good performance
  • Be clear, not just concise – shorter is NOT always better, in fact rarely so

Go here for more job description and job ad-writing tips, and also see one of the worst job ads ever written but that is sadly like far too many we see.


2. Offer Flexible Employment Options

It’s not the 80’s anymore. Technology has made many jobs possible to be done remotely, at least in part if not in full.

Are you open to the great variety of ways people can work outside the office?

If you have top talent and they want some flexibility here, find a way to give it to them. Because if you don’t, in a market like this they can go find someone else who will. And this kind of benefit matters a lot more than money to many people.

But you can also inject flexibility into your compensation practices. Performance bonuses, public recognition and celebration of major achievements, unique vacation packages and medical benefits – use these to attract talent by mentioning them in your non-boring job ads.


3. Training and Development Is the New Onboarding

They might try to hide it, but younger workers know they don’t know it all yet. And they want your help in continuing to advance their learning. If you’ve given your employees the responsibility to oversee complex tasks and procedures, they’ll benefit from new training too.

Pay for them to get online training or to attend live events. This delivers even more value (for you and for them) if you do it in the first couple years, but after they’ve been there long enough for you to identify them as a top employee. It communicates how much you value them, and will keep them engaged and want to stick around.

And again – put this in your job ads.


4. Hire for Culture to Create the Culture

Workplace culture is one of the leading reasons employees stay at a company. This too matters more than money. People quit high paying jobs they hate. But they stay at slightly lower paying jobs they love.

This doesn’t mean you should pay less. But some companies, especially smaller ones, simply can’t compete with the big ones on salary. But they can create a culture that large companies will envy and yet be unable to duplicate.

Do you have a clearly articulated vision for the kind of workplace culture you want?

Then put that in your job ads, and you’ll attract people who share your vision.


5. Stop Limiting Yourself to What You Know & Assume

The first four secrets all touch on powerful attractive principles that will help you win the competition for talent.

But even if you do all four of those – if you fail to implement this final secret, you’ll still miss out on large swaths of top talent.


There are two ways companies limit themselves to the familiar and known:

Using the Same Job Sites and Recruiters

First, they keep using the same hiring methods and practices. They keep posting on the same few job sites. Using the same interview questions. The same recruiters. The same ‘keyword’-based approaches.

Did you know there are hundreds of specialty job posting sites in many industries? Some of them charge more to post jobs there, but those are the places top talent – especially currently employed top talent – go to look for new opportunities.

If you’re limiting yourself to Monster and Indeed, you are missing top talent.

Interesting note: Part of PainLess Hire’s hiring process is to post your non-boring job description on many of these lesser known but higher quality sites. Do you have time to scour the internet for all these sites? Maybe not, but we do.


Trusting in Degrees, Certifications, and Experience

Second, too many hiring managers (and most recruiters) still put too much emphasis on college degrees and the perfect resume that promises mastery of 99% of the skills you’ve painstakingly listed out in your (now boring) job description.

But do you really need someone who already has all this expertise and skill? What if that person doesn’t even exist? Isn’t it better to find someone who is an active learner? An active learner can master almost any new skill provided they have the basic qualifications and some golden soft skills.

Active learning is a soft skill. It’s an intangible character quality that matters far more than degrees and experience (which can also be faked).


Other critical soft skills to look for in your search for top talent include critical thinking, people management, cognitive flexibility, emotional intelligence, adaptability to change, and resilience.

Someone with even a handful of those qualities will in the long run prove infinitely more valuable to you than someone with the right degree but no soft skills.

Read soft skills hiring guide for more


But How Do You Find Top Talent with Soft Skills Mastery?

There’s only one proven way that works on a large scale:

Pre-employment testing and assessment.

Competitive-HiringWith effective pre-tests that tease out soft skills, that real top candidates for your open positions will rise to the surface, and you’ll see beyond the ones who seem like they have all the right boxes checked but are in fact morale-busting wolves in sheep’s clothing.

That’s why PainLess Hire has made pre-employment assessments the centerpiece of our innovative hiring process.

You win the competition for talent by identifying and hiring people with strong soft skills. That means, you win the competition with pre-testing. There is no other way to be sure.




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