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10 Things Your Candidates Are Seeking, Other Than Salary

In this healthy employment market, compelling candidates to cross the job offer finish line is becoming increasingly challenging. And, while money does matter, it’s the amenities beyond salary that often seal a candidate’s interest. 

All things being equal in the salary department, what other options can you offer to reel in candidates to your organization and away from other opportunities? The following are 10 ideas: 

1. Opportunity to Grow. Many candidates are gliding along, happily contented at their current jobs, receiving their weekly paychecks. However, in other cases, something is missing—the excitement that stems from climbing a learning curve with sights set on the mountaintop of career growth has waned.

To differentiate your opportunity and invigorate an otherwise disinterested candidate, articulate their opportunities for learning and advancement. You can do this early on, in the position description phase, enlivening the language with hit-the-ground-running opportunities for achieving. The potential adrenalin rush of hope will spur on their interest.

Pro Tip: Lever creates impact descriptions in place of job descriptions, which gives talent an idea of what they will achieve in one, three, six and 12 months at a company. Their recruitment platform also allows for internal mobility, a product feature enabling companies to post jobs to internal candidates before looking outward for the right fit.

2. Stock Options. For some companies, stock options offer the candidate buy-in to your organization’s financial future, as well as their own. Even if the employment marriage goes south one day, a candidate’s stock options may enrich them, even after the relationship has ended. By packaging stock options as part of the original sign-on, you may be able to build a winning edge against competing companies who didn’t have the same foresight.

3. Medical + Dental Insurance. According to The Benefits Guide, health insurance ranks No. 1 as a desired benefit across multiple generations in the workforce.

However, not all companies offer health insurance; this especially is common in some start-up, small or mid-sized organizations trying to contain costs. With evolvements in healthcare offerings as well as an increasingly competitive hiring market, it may be time to re-think your strategies. Researching and offering minimum medical insurance provisions for your employees and their families will take the edge off an employee’s reservations about accepting your otherwise valuable job offer appeal. 

Hand in hand with medical is dental care, which often is considered supplemental. If you do not already offer dental insurance, you may want to up the ante by looking into the possibility. By offering something that many companies do not, you can add value to your overall pitch.

4 & 5. Flexibility: Vacation + Work-From-Home Option. Despite the marketplace favoring candidates right now, the economy is still in a state of flux and exhibiting hypercompetitive behavior. This results in a 24/7 plugged-in society, with candidates feeling compelled to be perpetually on-call and responsive to their bosses, peers and clients.

With that in mind, the idea of jumping ship from one oppressive work schedule to another for a few more salary dollars often will not be worth a candidate’s effort. The feelings of stress bubble up at the thought of learning a new company culture and new job on top of an already burnt-out work lifestyle.

As such, emphasizing your company’s generosity in benefits as it relates to vacation time may increase your hiring value proposition. Articulating how you will provide employees specific and ample time off to meaningfully vacation, refresh and re-energize is a benefit you can leverage to set yourself apart from other hiring companies.

Moreover, according to a survey by Fractl, offering the flexibility to work from home ranked fourth among 17 optional benefits (other than salary) that would influence their interest. Enabling workers to meld their home-front tasks alongside their corporate deadlines eases the tension between the two most pressing fronts of one’s life.

6. Continuing Education. Offering candidates opportunities to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree or a specialty credential such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) can spur an undecided candidate to your hiring door.

And, while student loan and tuition assistance rank Nos. 6 and 7 on Fractl’s list, “Only 3 percent of companies currently offer student loan assistance.” Moreover, up to $5,250 in tax-free dollars per employee can be granted for such assistance, further augmenting the value.

For other candidates, the continuous opportunity to attend professional seminars or conferences will pique their interest and motivate them that there is more to your offer than the day-to-day grind. 

Moreover, by investing in professional trade show and/or conference attendance, you create a win-win that may include the vetting of new clients or strategic partnerships that add to your organization’s bottom line.

7. Association Membership. As a part of the ongoing employee coaching and training process, association membership can be a draw. This could include offering a candidate immediate entry into their local membership of a global industry association. 

“School and on-the-job training teach workers much of what they need to know to do their jobs well. But for many positions, there’s always more to learn,” writes Rebecca Koenig in the article, “The Perks of Professional Organizations.”

Associations, replete with research data, webinars and other learning opportunities that support workplace goals are “often treasure troves of information tailored to the needs of their members,” continues Koenig.

Example international professional associations include:

  • Association for Computing Machinery

  • Chartered Institute of Marketing

  • Project Management Institute

Moreover, the Directory of Associations offers access to more than 35,000+ local, regional, national and international associations.

By not only investing in employees’ professional growth, but also enabling them time away from the office to reinvigorate among their peers, you can nurture future staff.

8. Relocation + Remote Work. It may be that your next great candidate is relocating from another city or state, requiring upheaval of their home and/or family. The expense to do so, as well as the laborious steps toward executing on the move, creates another layer of burden on even the most agile of candidates.

By investing in a full or partial relocation package, you not only create immediate good will but you will also help ease the burden at an already stressful time. This need not be an all or nothing initiative; if your company cannot pick up the whole relocation check, then offering financial incentive, within your budget, will be better than a firm, ‘no relocation benefits’ assertion.

Moreover, considering methods that will enable candidates to perform their work remotely versus physically relocating may increase the attractiveness of the opportunity.

9. Interactive “Team” Interviews. By inviting the candidate into your organizational culture, you open the opportunity for them, and their future work family, to get to know one another before making the final offer.

“Team interviews can be a series of meetings with team members or informal group gatherings where both sides have a chance to talk about the role and gauge whether or not there is a fit,” according to Roy Maurer in “The Ins and Outs of Team Interviewing.”

Moreover, the team meeting strategy may create the final synergy that sways the candidate to accept the job offer and close deal.

10. Great Culture. If you are courting a candidate who is attached to their current company’s nurturing culture, they may be reluctant to consider a move. Unwilling to sacrifice the career peace and harmony integral to their day-to-day, they initially shun your pitch.

If you can prove, through verifiable employee feedback and other employer value proposition signals, that your company offers a similar—or even better—brand of culture, then you increase your chances of candidate attraction.

Glassdoor’s 2019 Best Places to Work list includes a plethora of companies known for their exceptional cultures, including those that exude their values, invigorate employee morale through individual impact, provide opportunities for advancement and overall, focus on their people.

Bain & Company, Zoom Video Communications and In-N-Out Burger, who exhibit these traits, take the top-three spots in this year’s list.

It may be daunting to consider how to effectively compete in the corporate culture race with larger-budget companies. However, it often boils down to how you treat your people. Taking specific, daily action to show you care about each individual employee as a valuable contributor will go far in creating a candidate-attracting culture.

It is your job to bridge the gap from lukewarm candidate to enthusiastic employee, eager to dive into your pool of opportunity. You can do this by fortifying your organization’s value proposition by resonating with candidates on many levels, beyond the salary pitch.

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