By Peter Bray
Knowing how to draw top talent to your company is a vital recruiting skill, but it becomes a sensitive issue when you start headhunting at your competition.
Aside from the actually enforceable non-compete agreements (very rare), headhunting at your competition is typically more of a moral problem than a legal one. However, when done right, there’s no reason for recruiters not to present a better offer to current or former competitor employees.
Of course, we don’t recommend poaching all of your competitor’s top employees. However, simply contacting someone and sending them an open job ad doesn’t harm anyone. If the employee is happy where they are at the moment, they will politely refuse the offer; if they’re ready for a change, they have the option to do so.
1. Analyze Your Competition
Compare your current market position as an employer to your competition, using competitive analysis. Check their website, social media accounts, see what type of content they’re sharing, what tone of voice they use, and more.
There are many tools nowadays that let you “spy” on your competitors. For instance, you could use such a tool to monitor website changes or track the customers’ journey on your competitors’ websites.
Tools like these can be beneficial when you’re headhunting at your competition. Aside from keeping an eye on your competitors, you can also use these tools on your website to track and promptly fix any issues that arise.
2. Work On Your Employer Brand
Building a great employer brand can do wonders for your recruitment and can help you draw talent to your company. Of course, having a logo and set of brand colors is vital, but employer branding is more than that:
Define your employee persona
Which generation does your ideal candidate belong to? What’s their preferred method of communication? How about their interests? Which social media channels do they use? Also, don’t be afraid to drill deep and specific into the persona traits: what’s their career goal? what motivates them? Create an actual profile.
A defined employee persona will help you learn the best ways to attract and recruit top talent from your competitors’ pools. It will help you understand their needs and wants, as well as how they and people similar to them behave online. This type of information will help, you learn the best way to reach them, and you can adjust your recruiting efforts accordingly.
Hone in on your company values
What does your company stand for? Integrity? Creativity? Individuality? What will make an employee proud they’re a part of your team?
Having a clearly defined set of company values serves multiple purposes – helps your marketing team create better campaigns, can act as a selling point, and of course, has an immense influence on company culture and staff retention.
Improve your candidate experience
Audit your recruiting process, starting from the job ad to the interview stages. Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes and see how it feels. Is the interview unnecessarily lengthy? Are the questions relevant for the type of profile you’re hiring?
Then, perfect your candidate journey – clearly explain the interview stages, the tools used for communication, and similar vital info that will help the applicant prepare accordingly.
3. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
To find talented employees and draw them to your company, you have to either match your competition’s offer or offer something even better.
Attracting top talent is not about who offers a better salary, but more about giving the employee a better work-life balance.
A better compensation package
Headhunting at your competition will only be successful if you offer better compensation or wages. Offer a higher basic salary, performance bonuses, or a superior benefits package.
On top of that, be creative: offer different perks like private insurance, gym memberships, paid childcare, and similar. Don’t just focus on monetary compensation, but try to include things like allowing mental health days off when needed. It seems like something small, but it means a lot to overworked employees.
Flexible work options
\With Covid-19 still going rampant worldwide, perhaps the best things you can offer to set you apart from your competition are hybrid work options and flexibility in terms of location or hours.
Location-wise, you could offer remote working. Start by providing your employees with the option to work remotely at least a couple of days per week.
Schedule-wise, if your staff doesn’t have to be online during specific hours and time zones, you could offer a flexible schedule – for the employee to work at any time, as long as they work the required eight hours per day.
Career and development opportunities
Self-improvement and professional development are at the core of employee satisfaction and retention rate.
Offer to pay for a course to upgrade a skill, or give your employees tickets to seminars or workshops. They will appreciate it immensely, plus – they’ll bring all that knowledge back to your company. It’s a win-win!
4. Establish Your Online Presence
Consider your website and your social media profiles as selling points. Give storytelling a try and showcase your company from the ground up. Remember that all the best brands sell a great story first and foremost.
Share employee testimonials
Your employees can become your best brand ambassadors, so consider introducing an employee referral system that awards current employees when they refer a potential candidate.
Ask your employees for direct quotes and publish this material on your website. Plus, you can use it as social media posts throughout different accounts. Remember that potential employees will trust current employees more than they trust a self-praising company.
Create engagement on social media
Being active on social media, discussing regularly and providing value within your expertise can set you apart from the competition. It will also help you establish yourself as an authority in your industry, contributing to a stronger employer brand.
Stay on-brand on all channels
From the website to your social media accounts – potential candidates should find you memorable and easily recognizable throughout all channels.
Staying on-brand doesn’t just mean using your logo everywhere. It’s more about using the same tone of voice and standing up for the same values.
5. Showcase Your Company Culture
A 2021 PWC study shows that 81% of respondents believe company culture gives a competitive advantage. So, why not use organizational culture as a recruitment selling point?
To showcase your organizational culture, you can host an ‘open doors’ day and send out invitations, post videos of company events, or even shoot a virtual tour of the offices. The sky is the limit – be creative in this regard.
Being employee-centric is crucial if you’re about to go headhunting at your competition. Nowadays, employees have more options to connect and find a suitable job than ever before. As a result, they’re no longer staying put at the same company for years, without the possibility for career advancement.
It’s not all about the salary anymore – and that’s a good thing. Try to use it to your advantage. Hopefully, these five ways to draw talent to your company will help you make smart moves when headhunting at your competition.
About the Author
Peter Bray is an AI practitioner with a keen interest in competitive intelligence and web change monitoring. He is the CEO of Fluxguard