Securing and retaining the best talent

Attracting and retaining top talent is a key strategic focus for organisations of all sizes no matter what the economic backdrop.Research has demonstrated again and again that for most businesses the best way for them to maintain their competitive edge is to have the best talent working for them. Below are some practical tips to help your organization.


Start with the end in mind

Before you even embark on the recruitment process be clear in terms of the role you are recruiting for as well as the skills and competencies you require. Ensure that all stakeholders in the process also have an input. Obtaining clarity on these areas from the very outset of the process will ultimately pay dividends.

Ask yourself

Are you seeking to fill the role with the level of person that has just left the role or could the role be filled with the same level of person that came into the role initially? Are the skills and competencies required now the same as they were previously?

Before commencing the process

  • Prepare a detailed and comprehensive job specification – Don’t automatically use a previous one. Use the opportunity to review and update it. Think of what the likely future needs of the organization and role will be.
  • Consider succession planning issues. What are the likely talent requirements of the business into the future and where might the gaps arise?
  • Scope out where the role fits within the organization and how it might evolve over time
  • Conduct a 360 degree review and obtain the input of others who will have interactions with the person performing the role
  • Be clear on exactly the skills, knowledge and competencies that are required. Another key consideration should be the behaviours that are required to be successful in the role and what personality profile will best suit the culture of the organization. Psychometric testing can help here.

Interview process

  • Conduct a detailed and professional interview process which should include two interviews and maybe a third for a senior level role or where the contest is close between final candidates.
  • Involve all decisions makers in the process.
  • The interview style should be professional and formal yet relaxed enough for you to get to know the candidate and their personality profile.
  • Incorporate competency style questions into the process and seek detailed examples of how the candidates have actively demonstrated their skills.
  • For technical roles it can be useful to set candidates a task or present them with the case study that will test their abilities.
  • Maintain high levels of communication with the candidates and get back to them within the timeframes you outline. Always revert to candidates even the unsuccessful ones as this can impact on your professional brand.
  • Be prepared for the interview and have a set of questions to put to all candidates. This should be the same to allow comparison. The use of a scorecard system can also be useful too.
  • Ensure you understand fully what each candidate is seeking in their next career move and what interests them about the role you are recruiting for.
  • Gain the following information current salary and package details (every aspect of it), when did they last have a review, salary expectations and notice period.
  • Ask about what other roles they are interviewing for so that you know the competition.
  • Provide the candidate with plenty of time at the end of the interview to ask you questions. Make sure that they have all the information they require to make a decision if offered the role
  • Turn the interview process around as quickly as possible and avoid delays so as to minimize the chances of losing a good candidate to the competition.


Increasing awareness of your organisation will help you to attract and recruit staff. Investing in a quality website and online presence can help to project your organization in a more professional manner and therefore making it a more attractive option for candidates. A regular presence in a professional or business magazine will also increase brand awareness. First impressions are critical so it is imperative that you present the right image. Social media is also used to great effect in this area. Having a presence on and monitoring commentary about your organization on websites such as is also an important activity.


The power of word of mouth can not be under estimated during the recruitment process. Ensure that you are utilizing your network of contacts to promote your organisation as a workplace of choice. Again Facebook and LinkedIn can help to circulate information about your organization.

Referral schemes

Your current employees can also prove to be an excellent source of strong candidates. Incentives in the shape of a bonus or vouchers to recommend and refer candidates can help to attract potential employees to your practice. The more appealing the reward the more likely you are to receive referrals.

Staff retention

Look after your employees or your competitors will

  • Create a culture and environment that makes employees feel valued and enjoy working with your organization. Recognise their input and ask for their contributions. Listen to new ideas.
  • Set clear goals and be specific in terms of what is expected of employees. Provide regular and clear communication and feedback. Keep top talent informed of major developments and actively promote open communication.
  • Provide opportunities for career advancement and learning. Develop employees by supporting their training and further education. Let them know what plans you have for them and listen to what motivates them.
  • Allow employees to work on areas that they are passionate about and that enables them to utilise their core skills and strengths.
  • Recognise and reward their achievements. This can be in the form of monetary recognition but should also include face to face recognition such as asking to see the person to thank them and congratulate them on their achievements. An email note to advise their colleagues can also work well or other acknowledgements such as a team event. Any feedback however must be sincere as top talent will recognise if it is not.
  • Providing additional benefits such as a performance related bonus, health insurance or a pension scheme will also prove beneficial in terms of attracting and retaining quality candidates. It demonstrates your commitment to your employees.
  • Flexible working arrangement such as flexibility in relation to start times, part time work arrangements and working from home can open up a new source and flow of applications and can be a big incentive for employees to remain with the organization.

The suggestions above are not particularly radical or unique but in most cases they can be implemented in a short timeframe to have an immediate impact on the success rate of your recruitment and retention policies and procedures. Your people are ultimately the key to the success of your organization and therefore it is essential that you attract, recruit and retain top talent to secure the future of your organisation.

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