Most businesses don’t have the luxury of offering free massages and beer in the break room to their employees. The perks offered at companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter are far out of reach for most merchants. Luckily, today’s employees see those perks for what they are: incentives that can’t replace career growth, meaningful work, or great company culture.

“Contrary to popular perception, Millennials place little importance on a company encouraging creativity or being a fun, informal place to work,” notes Harvard Business Review. To sell your company to the best candidates, shift your focus from perks to performance. Build your employer brand, highlight opportunities for development, and get your team involved in showing a candidate what it would be like to join. Here’s how to improve your recruitment process by selling your company to the best talent.

Build a strong employer brand

There are dozens of open jobs available: with unemployment at a 50-year record low 3.5%, candidates have plenty of opportunities to choose from. As a result, building a strong employer brand is critical to standing out from the crowd. Research shows that a strong employer brand can lower turnover rates by 28% and cut your cost-per-hire by half. “Candidates who apply for roles are 50% more qualified when the company has a good employer brand,” reports Hubspot.

Approach your HR and recruitment as if you would your marketing efforts. Learn about what makes your company a unique place to work by surveying your employees. Exit interviews can help pinpoint any weak areas in the company culture – what are the reasons why your team members to take new opportunities? Does it have to do with long hours, lack of professional development, poor management, or something unrelated to your company altogether? Learn what your company does well, as well as where you can improve.

Once you have a complete picture of the employee experience, start to tell your story in a compelling way. Use blog posts, videos, social media, and slideshows to communicate to potential new hires what life at your company is all about. Get your employees involved to share what they love. Most importantly: communicate your company mission, development opportunities, and culture.

Be clear about your company mission

“When your company has a clear, defined set of values and is open and honest about them at every stage of the interview process (and even before), both candidates and hiring managers will have a feel for whether or not they’ll be a match before actually working together,” writes The Muse.

Millennials want to work with a purpose: that mindset applies to both your company’s goals and the social values of your organization. Gallup research found that Millennials aren’t motivated by a paycheck alone. They want to be connected to a larger mission – where is the company growing in the next 10 years? How does a Millennial’s day-to-day work move the needle toward progress against those goals? How does an employee make contributions to the company? “Just a 10% improvement in employees’ connection with the mission or purpose of their organization would result in a 12.7% reduction in safety incidents, an 8.1% decrease in turnover, and a 4.4% increase in profitability,” reports Gallup.

And, the mission must be larger than an organization’s revenue or sales goal. One survey found that 94% of Millennials want to use their skills to benefit a social cause; 63% of Millennials believe a business should work toward “improving society.” Bottom line: communicate the connection between your open position and the overall company vision to attract the best talent.

Talk about room for growth

Harvard Business Review found that while salary and a great work culture are important, the number one thing Millennials want in a job is the opportunity to learn and grow. Millennial employees seek companies that will invest in them professionally with mentorship, career development, the opportunity for promotion, and more. Basically, “Millennials do need to be convinced why and how an organization will help them learn, grow, and develop, and further their careers.”

During the recruitment process, it’s critical to sell your company’s investment in employees. How do you make sure the best talent gets recognized and fostered? Start-ups and small businesses can talk about the opportunity to try many roles, have your voice heard in key decision meetings, and develop faster than in traditional settings. Big companies can highlight their rotational programs, mentorship opportunities, and other training. Show clear, achievable career paths with upward trajectory to sell your company to the most talented candidates.

Harness employee referrals

A recent study by PGI found that 71% of Millennials want their coworkers to be like a “second family.” You may not be able to pick your family – but you can pick your second family, and that’s how some candidates approach the hiring process.

Your employees are often your best brand ambassadors. Referral candidates have high applicant-to-hire conversion rates and tend to stay with a company for longer: 46% stay over one year, 45% over two years and 47% over three years. Incentivize referrals to expand your recruitment network and motivate your best workers to bring in like-minded individuals. Bring employees to networking events and career fairs. Empower your workforce to speak on your behalf and sell your company to the very best talent on the market.

Looking for help bringing in great candidates? Get in touch with Elevate Talent on LinkedIn.

Chanler Haden

Chanler is the Business Development Manager at Elevate Talent, a recruiting agency that helps companies build their Go-To-Market and People Operations teams.

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