A record number of 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in November while employers continue to scramble to lure talent to join their organizations. To combat turnover and attract new talent, leaders are implementing a myriad of benefits, including flexible work options, offering employee referral bonuses, and introducing additional merit increases. But for many who have quit and are looking for the next opportunity, they are looking beyond the free lunches and fitness reimbursements. This is actually the number-one question on their minds: Why should I work here?
It’s a candidate’s market and the tables have turned. Just like employers do background checks and references checks, it’s now the candidates turn to do their due diligence. If leaders want to attract and keep talent, they need to think differently. This starts by putting themselves in their employees’ shoes.
Leaders must proactively answer the question, “why should I work here?” and not take for granted that candidates will accept the opportunity to join their team. Here are three gestures to extend to prospective employees, to help them assess if this is the next best step in their careers.
Invite candidates to interview the hiring manager
During the interview process, the candidate will meet with the hiring manager. They will be sharing their experiences, showcasing their expertise and putting their best foot forward. There will be limited time to ask all of the questions the candidate may have. Also, without an offer in hand, there are questions they will feel uncomfortable asking during the interview process, in case they jeopardize their chances of landing a position.
Once the offer is made, invite the prospective employee to a new interview with the hiring manager. This can be a 30-minute, one-on-one opportunity to ask all of their questions. This is the moment for them to ask their potential boss about their leadership style, picture of success for the role, and the future development and growth opportunities at the company. Moreover, it can be one last opportunity for the hiring manager to sell them on the position.
Open up access to current employees
After they interview the hiring manager, invite the prospective employee to meet with members of the team they will be joining. This is an important moment to ask about team dynamics, key team initiatives, and what it’s really like to work for the future boss. Aside from team members, offer to set up meetings with members of employee resource groups (ERGs), so prospective employees can really get a sense of what company culture is like. Don’t make assumptions about what ERGs they would be interested in; share with them what ERGs currently in place at your company and follow their lead.
Be specific and ask prospective employees how they hope the company will help support them. You might have prospective employees ask to meet with the chief diversity officer to understand the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. You might have someone who wants to meet with a fellow caregiver to understand how the company offers support and flexibility.
Finally, you might have a prospective employee who wants to meet the chief marketing officer to understand how they will grow as a marketer. Meeting with current employees is an important part of assessing if they should accept the offer or not.
Address online reviews of your workplace
Finally, openly and proactively address reviews on platforms like Glassdoor and Blind. Remember that the prospective employee has their own networks, and can easily reach out to former employees of your organization on LinkedIn. Don’t wait for the prospective employee to ask you. Be upfront, thereby taking control of the narrative of your company culture.
If there’s a glaringly negative review, bring up how the company has taken it into account and plans to address the feedback. Use it as an opportunity to show the progress your organization has made. If you are still working on addressing the feedback, be honest about the challenges and what potential next steps will be.
At the same time, emphasize the positive reviews as well that reflect why current employees continue to stay. Remind the prospective employee of all the reasons current employees love working there, including access to strong leadership, rotational opportunities to help grow their careers, and a work from anywhere mindset. Also share these positive reviews on your website and social media channels as you continue to build your employer brand.
Right now, many prospective employees are in the driver’s seat. A generous offer letter is no longer enough to get them to sign on the dotted line. If you want great talent, your job is to convince them that your organization is the right next stop in their career journey.
Mita Mallick is a diversity and inclusion leader. Currently, she is the head of inclusion, equity, and impact at Carta.