My Entrepreneur Magazine Special Focus: Attracting Talent in 2016

Candidates are set to have all the power in 2016 and a reduction in the number of roles they are applying for means companies are going to have a lot less choice when recruiting for a new role. There’s a clear message to businesses for the year ahead: they need to fight harder than ever before if they’re going to attract and retain the best talent. Whilst corporate companies are in a position to do this due to having the resources available that will assist them with the recruitment process, many start-ups are going to find it difficult because they have no idea where to begin. So how do you pull out all the stops to ensure you win the talent war in 2016?

Many of you who are just starting out simply don’t have the funding that larger corporations do. Not only are they more likely to have the capital to invest in heavy branding, large advertising campaigns and training courses that can all appeal and build their reputation, they generally also have the resources to employ a team of recruiters who are specialised in this field and can get down to the crux of hiring the right staff. However, if you’re just starting out, there are likely only a couple of you running the business or you may even be a sole proprietor, and the chances are, you won’t be in a financial position to attract and recruit the best candidates.

So how do you ensure you’re in the running when it comes to finding the right people for your team? You need to identify your unique selling points and establish how these set you apart from the competition.


Career Prospects

As a small business, especially one that’s just starting out, you are likely to have room for your employees to develop into more senior roles, offering candidates the potential for promotion. This puts you at an advantage as many larger corporations will already have a structured hierarchy in place where those types of positions are already taken. Start-ups, especially early on, are in a position to attract candidates that are looking to improve their career prospects as they may have gaps in their workplace, providing employees the opportunity to work towards that role.



Larger companies tend to employ individuals in order to carry out particular responsibilities in a dedicated role. However, smaller companies and start-ups won’t necessarily have the resources to do this. You may find you need all your staff to come together to get a job done, especially at peak times, and this variety in a role has the potential to keep employees motivated and working together as part of a team. Ensure you specify this in the job description as a varied job role is very attractive to candidates.


Great Benefits

Offering the right benefits and workplace perks to candidates is crucial when you’re advertising a vacancy. Whilst you may not be in a position to offer large salaries in order to attract skilled talent, you can compensate for this by looking at other benefits you can offer the candidate. Let them know there is room for career development so they have a goal to work towards, or that you have personal development programmes in place that allow employees to learn and develop their skills, for example, hold breakfast meetings, allow them to listen to seminars, let them attend networking events. You can even entice candidates to come to you by offering extra little perks such as giving them a free day’s leave on their birthday or letting them go home an hour early on this day. Shout about your social committee and that employees have the chance to attend gatherings and events so they can get to know their team better, or offer childcare vouchers which will appeal to young mums who have the skills and are looking to get back on the career ladder. Another incentive may be free parking – no employee wants to pay extra costs for spending the day in the office.


Use a Job Site

Unlike larger companies that have their own recruitment team, entrepreneurs, start-ups and smaller companies won’t necessarily be in a financial position to hire a team of recruiters. An alternative and more affordable option would be to use a job site like CV-Library, which can help you to source the best talent and bring you candidates that match your criteria. As well as providing database access to candidate CVs, job sites also enable you to post your job adverts to a wide-ranging and targeted audience.


Write a Clear Job Description

In relation to job adverts, it’s important you establish exactly what you require in terms of what you expect from the position. List your expectations and use these to write a clear job description so candidates know exactly what’s expected of them in the role. You will attract a larger number of candidates if the job role you are recruiting for is clear on what it offers. Ensure you set out your expectations so, when you make that job offer, a candidate knows they can jump right in and work towards mutual goals.


Good Reputation

As a start-up, you need to ensure you establish the type of reputation that indicates your company is one everyone wants to work for. Although larger companies can take the lead by offering a multitude of benefits to attract the talent they want, employees can often feel like they’re treated as ‘just a number’. Smaller businesses, however, have the advantage where the type of environment they offer, such as that found in a family-run company, offers a warmer and friendlier setting. This helps staff to feel more included and part of a dedicated team. Feeling this valued will also contribute to an employee’s sense of self-worth as they know they’re critical to helping the business run smoothly. Those who do feel more valued at work are far more likely to feel motivated and will strive to do a good job, so ensure you reflect this in your company reputation.

One way of achieving this might be to invest in a really good website that provides you with the opportunity to let your brand shine. You can use this online tool to talk about what your business offers to someone who joins the company, how the business has developed, any exciting new projects coming up, the company’s future growth plans and how employees can be a part of it. Think of a compelling story as to why a candidate will benefit if they join your team. The first thing a candidate will probably do when they find one of your job adverts is look for the company website and do some research on what you have to offer them and how their skills can contribute to your business. It’s also a good idea to put some existing employee testimonials on the website, demonstrating what’s great about working for you.


Retain Your Staff

Once you have found the right candidate for the role and the applicant has accepted your job offer, you need to focus on retaining your newfound talent. After all that hard work you don’t want to find the best candidate, only to lose them a week into them starting out in their new role. To ensure you keep your new employee keen and motivated, try setting objectives so they can work towards mutual goals; this will ensure you’re both on the right page. You will also maintain staff retention by offering support to your new employee so they don’t feel like they’ve just been thrown in at the deep end. Encourage them to use their own initiative but offer advice where necessary.


A Final Word

In an economy that’s very much focused on candidates having the power to be more particular in the type of roles they go for, it’s true that larger corporations are at an advantage due to the resources and funding they have available. However, let it be said that small businesses and start-ups are still in the running as they are in a position to offer the types of perks that larger companies can’t. Therefore, you can compete for the best candidates and by thinking about the points set out here, you are in a great position to win the talent war.

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