How to make your business stand out from the crowd when hiring




The difference that great employees make to a business is huge. They’ll not only exceed expectations on work tasks, but contribute to a positive team culture. However, finding them isn’t easy, and persuading them to join your cause is a challenge all of its own.

Business has long passed the stage where dangling the salary carrot was the main attraction for potential employees. To lure the best talent available, you’ll need to make your business stand out from the crowd and have a solid hiring program in place. Here’s how to do it.

What makes a company stand out from the rest?

One of many great changes brought on by the digital age is the leap to global consumer markets. With businesses moving online, customers are no longer limited by the contents of their nearest high street. As a result, the balance of power has shifted from firms to consumers.

If people can get a better deal from a website based abroad compared with a shop on their doorstep, many will do so. And the rise of global giants such as Amazon means that businesses can no longer compete in terms of price point and product range.

Companies are surviving by looking into different ways of wowing potential customers. They may provide a great service experience, buyer-perks or fabulously-engaging email newsletters. It’s these points of difference that allow firms to stay relevant in competitive times. And it’s in finding points of difference that can make your business stand out from the crowd when it comes to hiring as well.

Research your competitors

How to make your business stand out from competitors? Look at the bigger picture and do some research. Just as you’re aware of your competitor’s price points and product range, study the experience they provide for both their employees and customers.

Flexible working, wellness packages and other office perks are one side of the coin. They may also be committed to charitable causes and community-based schemes. Do they offer a neurodiversity recruitment program like professional service experts Ernst & Young? All are potential points of difference that may attract top talent to join your cause.

Refine your brand’s reputation

The above research will help influence how you want your brand to be perceived – an important consideration when hiring. Content should be reviewed, from your ‘About Us’, and ‘Careers’ web pages to your brand book. Existing employees should be aware of your underlying philosophy, in order to carry it through, and all levels of a business should contribute to reviews wherever possible.

How to make your business stand out online

Alongside content, you should also look into the design-side. Poorly-designed visuals can scupper the message you’re trying to get across, so ensure design-features are accessible to all. Navigation should be clear, and images require Alt-Text in order to be read by the blind or partially-sighted. Limit flashes and pop-ups as some neurodiverse people may find them difficult to process.

Identify and target potential candidates

Firstly, have a picture of your ideal employee in mind. Secondly, work out where to find them. Huge sums of money are spent on job advertisements by firms who are looking in the wrong place. You may need to look beyond your local area to find the skill-sets you’re looking for.

Be creative…but keep it simple

An eye-catching ad will help make your business stand out from the crowd, but don’t overdo it. Focus on skill-sets over generic personality-requirements – these are best sussed out face-to-face. Offer a choice of ways in which potential candidates can apply – through email, directly through your website, or via social media. A failure to offer choice can see you miss out on top talent for trivial reasons.

Tailor the interview process

Applying should be easy and straightforward. Don’t make candidates provide information that can be found on LinkedIn. Application questions should be original and relevant to job specifications. If your hiring process is multi-layered, this should be explained from the start. It’s also helpful to include stated dates for your responses – no candidate should have to chase an application.

You should treat all potential candidates like potential customers – they may not join now, but there’s every chance they will in future. Ensure you contact every applicant and be clear with any feedback. Most of us accept that we can’t secure every job that we go for. But if we’re treated fairly, we’re likely to say good things about a company and so help boost its reputation.

Think of ways to attract diverse candidates

Employing a diverse workforce can be of great benefit to any business. Make it clear that diversity is welcome and that interviews can be gauged towards individual needs. This is something that should form part of your brand’s philosophy, and be clear across all digital and printed materials.

Your hiring program should naturally be adapted to enable neurodiversity recruitment. Your building should have access for disabled persons and be adaptable for the neurodiverse. The interview process should be devoid of trick questions and focus on skill-sets and talent.

Promote staff benefits

We looked at the importance of creating points of difference at the start of this article. What can your business offer to a candidate considering the exact same salary from one of your competitors? Maybe you can offer flexible working hours or work-from-home. Perhaps you provide restaurant discounts or reduced gym memberships. Be sure to choose benefits which both your existing and potential workforce will actually desire – not everyone wants free warm lager thrust on them every Friday afternoon.

Keep things informal

Some of your best candidates may simply be average interviewees, and an informal interview can be all they need to shine. Treat an interview like a two-sided conversation, and be original. Being asked a new but straightforward question will appeal to anyone who has suffered the same clichés on multiple occasions.

Consider removing any intervening tables, and don’t be too serious. A more laid-back approach will lead to a more open meeting, allowing both sides to see if they’re a good fit.

Does a candidate really need experience if they’re a self-taught expert in a particular field? Do they need qualifications if they’ve already proven their ability with five years’ work experience? Trying to find great employees should never turn into a box-ticking exercise.

In today’s market, hiring the best talent for your business has become a greater challenge than ever. Just as the balance has shifted from businesses to consumers during the internet age, the application process should be candidate-led if the best employees are to be found.

Creating an all-inclusive philosophy across all methods of communication, removing unnecessary red-type from your hiring program and constantly reviewing your processes are all points of difference between you and your competitors. It’s this attention to detail that can help make your business stand out from the crowd and attract the talent you’re looking for.

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Elements are the pioneers and leaders of Embedded Talent Consultancy. Our consultants are embedded within some of the world’s best-known organisations, solving their toughest and most complex hiring challenges.

In addition to our work with leading brands, including Spotify, IKEA and TikTok, we have helped scale SME's and Start-ups, including Zendesk and Stitch & Story.