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5 Powerful Ways to Recruit and Retain Top Talent

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war for talent

Graduation is right around the corner, and for recruiters, that means a flood of resumes in your inbox. Among the score of applications, you’ll always receive one or two from real superstars who have exactly the skills you’re looking for… right?

Maybe this happens at Google, but for most in-house recruiters, attracting the most talented workers is a whole new ball game these days. Relying on job boards, attending career fairs and having a standard “we’re hiring” message on your website just isn’t enough.

So here are five powerful tactics for finding all-star employees who want to stay the course and help the company grow:

1. Hit up relevant live events

Today’s digital world has created a recruiting environment centered around screens. Your organization will stand out if you get off your computer and attend live events to meet candidates. Having a face-to-face connection with a rising star will leave a lasting impression, while an email can easily be forgotten.

To determine what events to attend, think about who you are targeting, learn where they hang out and then go there. For instance, attend a local hackathon to find hard-to-reach tech geniuses. For harder-to-reach candidates like those in the emerging field of “big data,” you may need to think outside the box and host a special event that will draw in great candidates.

2. Find creative ways to get the word out

Collaborate with your marketing team to create innovative ways to announce job opportunities. For example, at Seamless, the online food ordering system where I serve as Vice President of the People Team, we include messages about joining our team when our customers interact with our service. They’re likely to see it even if they aren’t actively looking for a job.

By doing so, we’re putting a bug in the ears of people who are already familiar with us, but maybe never thought about our company as a great place to work. Infuse all of your outgoing communication with the message that you’re actively looking for candidates to extend your reach.

3. Create a fun and engaging office environment

You may have a top-notch recruiting process in place, but if a supportive and dynamic company culture isn’t there to back it up, your efforts may be all for naught. Today’s prospective employees are looking for a workplace that’s fun as well as purposeful and fosters appreciation. When your employees are excited to go to work every day and find meaning in the work they do, they’ll share that with their friends and, in turn, provide you with a continuous flow of candidates.

Creating the type of environment in which today’s top talent wants to work requires investing in building their leadership skills, recognizing their accomplishments and rewarding hard work. In other words, it means helping build great careers. This will not only improve your recruiting efforts; it will also help your company retain the best employees.

4. Involve the whole team

The entire organization should be involved in bringing in top talent; it should not solely fall on your shoulders. Managers should feel responsible for building out their teams—and then engaging team members so they can continue to build new relationships for the company, attend live events to advertise and help creatively announce openings.

This may include using a referral program as an incentive for employees to bring in their contacts as well as encouraging them to tap their networks for potential leads. In all likelihood, those referrals will make excellent workers who want to stay with the company long-term.

5. Never underestimate the power of perks

At Seamless, we recently conducted a nationwide survey of nearly 1,100 professionals across more than a dozen different industries and found that employees highly value the perks their company offers. We learned that the presence of food (surprise, surprise!) can play an important role in motivating employees to spend more time in the office, work more effectively and view their workplace more positively. In fact, 60 percent reported that having more food at the office would make them feel more valued and appreciated.

While offering free food all the time may not be feasible for your company, you can show you care about your employees by hosting special birthday get-togethers or celebratory lunches.

Offering competitive salaries is nice, but the ability to nurture a vibrant and engaging environment will separate you from the competition and help you retain the best workers. In our highly connected world, news about the ways in which companies treat their employees travels fast—hopefully to the ears of a rising star considering a position within your company.

Karen Miller is the Vice President of the People Team at Seamless, the leading online food ordering service that makes it easy to feed the office, where she is responsible for defining and executing Seamless’s people and HR strategies. Karen has more than 15 years’ experience in organization development, including talent management, employee engagement, performance improvement, communication, facilitation, coaching and cultural transformation.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.