If you're in hiring mode, competition for top talent is fierce. Luring the cream-of-the-crop may mean getting creative. Top talent are savvy -- they know they have more opportunities now, so never mind the free coffee and climbing walls.

Hiring top talent is going to take strategy that involves things like baking employer branding into your company culture, and offering a great candidate experience throughout the recruitment cycle, regardless of whether they sign the offer sheet.

Consider these three practices that could also drastically shift your culture, keeping the people you hire from wanting to update their resumes six months later.

1. Look for high potentials, not experience.

Organizations are moving away from basing their hiring criteria on job descriptions with fancy bullet points like "15 years of subject-matter expertise in XYZ technology in ABC vertical markets."

Desired hard skills and critical thinking are usually the ultimate judge in a traditional interview process, but in today's ever-shifting, complex business environment where culture, community, and people skills are so critical, it's just too risky.

Instead, find potential that you can develop and groom for succession. Identify talent with the capacity to adapt to new challenges and grow into new roles when the company takes unexpected turns.

Also, avoid hiring "rock stars" because they know their worth and may be looking for the next gig before your onboarding is finished!

Instead, farm you own talent. As you develop them, and they become internal rock stars, your challenge will now be to create the environment (see item #3) that pushes them forward and upward.

2. Look for diversity to drive your culture

Great leaders cannot succeed on their own. Even the most confident and charismatic leaders need to surround themselves with great support and advice.

Ensure that you're hiring diverse talent from different backgrounds and personality types, and with different strengths and gifts to  provide you with new perspective, counsel you when appropriate, and debate ideas that challenge your team to grow. 

If that sounds counter-intuitive because you're the boss, here's some truth: this mix creates more innovation and a more productive team. You should be breathing a sigh of relief. Such talent will take the burden off of you and make you better.

3. Create the environment for attracting top talent

Millennials are looking for purpose in their work and opportunities to make a real difference. They want to know that they will be more than a cog in a machine.

Think how you are going to address the things that Millennials value the most in a work environment:

  • They want to know that they will have career and learning opportunities to grow.
  • They want to know that they'll belong to a community with shared values. The question in the back of their minds is, "will my surroundings be supportive, flexible, fun, and engaging?
  • They want to know that their prospective employer is inclusive. This means it's safe to challenge the status quo, share ideas, and provide input because management doesn't lead by fear.
  • They want to know that their future bosses will praise, recognize and reward them for a job well done.

Bringing It Home

If things need tweaking, start by getting with your hiring team to assess the qualities, strengths, and behavioral traits you want to see in future employees. Do these traits fit with your cultural values that will push your mission forward?

Then, if applicable, consider re-doing your interview questions so they are behaviorally-based questions that will keep good actors with scripted answers from  sabotaging your hiring process.

As you review this short list, stretch yourself beyond the comfort zone of existing processes and behaviors that are not getting you the results you want. Let us know if we can help.