You may think the way to attract the very best staff is simple – offer plenty of money. But that’s not how humans work.
Enticing people with money attracts people who can be enticed with money but that’s not how to attract the very best staff; It’s not the same thing as attracting the very best candidates. There are a lot of articles and studies in this area.
A few years ago I decided to take up fishing there is a fish pond near my house and a delightfully eccentric boy who runs it called Fraser.
I learned how to cast and I learned that different fish are attracted by different food. “but food is food” I would say. But Fraser would shake his head and explain just how discerning fish really are.
People are more discerning than fish. Yet somewhere down the line we have convinced ourselves that it’s all about cash. We find ourselves thinking “If I could offer a higher salary, I could attract better candidates” but it’s not true. There is no correlation.
I don’t know when we started to think this way. I don’t know when we started to believe that people could simply be bought if the price was right.
Sure our lives would be easier if it were the case but you know it’s not true. Can you be bought so easily? You know you can’t.
So what has perpetrated this myth?
Well mostly we, the line managers, have. Albeit inadvertently.
What do we tell ourselves when someone chooses to leave our employ?
Mostly we try to convince ourselves they got offered a better pay deal – an offer they couldn’t refuse. This is preferable to believing that somehow we failed as a line manager and that we could have done better.
We convince ourselves of this because that is the most acceptable reason and the one that leaves us blameless as managers.
Candidates are also responsible. When asked why they are leaving, most candidates will cite “more money“, as this is the least confrontational response.
Yet ask them a while later when it’s safe and they will give you list as long as your arm, of reasons they couldn’t wait to quit.
So what’s this got to do with attracting the very best staff?
Here are my 3 steps on how to attract the very best staff.
- For starters we can stop kidding ourselves. We can stop making excuses as line managers. Stop blaming it on the low salary. Great jobs attract great candidates even when the money is crap.
- Know exactly what you are looking for. Can you describe the psychological profile of your ideal candidate? I’ve never met an employer who could. A list of skills is not enough. Nowhere near it.
- Use the right bait. Only once you understand the personality you are after, can you possibly use the right bait. The chances are, the bait you are using is making them sick or turning their stomach.
Only once the groundwork is done can you write a job ad that attracts the very best candidates. The alternative is to fire off shots into the dark and throw sheckles at it.
A bigger budget is likely to just buy you more expensive mistakes.
However take the right action and you could land the very best candidates and save some money in the process.