Competitive Compensation in a Candidate-Driven Market

By | February 24, 2020

The industry is continuing to experience a candidate-driven market and attractive compensation packages are playing a crucial role. While it will always be significant, money is not the only factor driving candidates.

Non-monetary elements such as career development opportunities, relocation options, upward mobility, flexible hours and cultural fit also play an important role. Most open positions have capped salary ranges; yet being creative with the right non-traditional perks can heavily influence candidates’ decisions. As your organization strategizes compensation for open roles, keep the following in mind to ensure you appeal to top candidates.

Different individuals have different motivators. One of the first things to note when reviewing compensation packages is there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The perks and benefits that appeal to one candidate may not elicit the same response from another. For instance, offering a milestone bonus may be less appealing to a candidate than the option to work remotely twice a week.

For others, career development opportunities may be more important than summer hours, and vice versa. It’s important to use the interview process as a way to uncover an individual’s unique motivators.

Is their current commute infringing on their family time? Are they seeking more flexible hours? Do they feel stagnant in their current role? By better understanding their reasons for making a move, you’ll be able to craft an offer that resonates and best satisfies those needs.

Recognize there is more to a move than a job. A candidate’s decision to accept a new role is both emotional and logical.

In addition to professional impact, a new position could also affect their family or long-term personal goals. It could mean saying goodbye to trusted colleagues in order to tackle more challenging work. In some cases, a new role could move individuals away from aging parents or require them to uproot their children.

The recruiting process should not feel transactional. Be empathetic toward candidate concerns and aim to create a plan that lets both parties feel like their key needs have been met and concerns have been addressed.

Make a strong first offer. Top candidates are in high demand and likely interviewing with multiple companies. Be intentional with your first offer; make it strong and clearly connect how it meets a candidate’s needs. Too often, both candidates and employers focus only on base salary.

Make your offer robust and deliver it in a compelling way. If flexible hours are important to an individual, address how that need has been incorporated into the offer. A comprehensive package is more than base salary, and it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure candidates understand its full value.

Prepare for counter offers. Counter offers are common in today’s market. Don’t take them personally and resist the desire to respond emotionally. The cost of vacancy is high and keeping an existing employee is much less expensive than recruiting and training a new individual. However, by anticipating this outcome, employers can prepare for a counter offer throughout the entirety of an individual’s interview process.

Keeping current staff members engaged and retained should be just as high on your priority list.

Check in with current staff. While the interview process presents a logical opportunity to discuss motivators and compensation, don’t forget about your current employees. Keeping current staff members engaged and retained should be just as high on your priority list. Periodically check in with team members to better understand their professional goals and personal motivators. This can help you gauge employees’ satisfaction with their roles, identify flight risks and adjust non-monetary compensation to better fit their current needs and evolving circumstances, when possible.

A fresh perspective and the willingness to get creative can go a long way in today’s candidate-driven market. By taking an empathetic approach and stepping into your candidates’ shoes, recognizing their motivators and preparing for counteroffers, you’ll be best positioned to attract top employees. Additionally, uncovering and addressing underlying motivators will set your team up for long-term career satisfaction, engagement and ongoing success.

About David Coons

Coons is senior vice president of The Jacobson Group, a provider of talent to the insurance industry. Phone: 800-466-1578. Email: dcoons@jacobsononline.com. More from David Coons

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