Attracting Talent Effectively

Dec 10, 2020 | Development

We have openings for Engineers that provide challenging career opportunities. We pay competitively and provide an attractive benefits package. Submit your resume today.”

That is about as unexciting an inducement to explore working for an organization as one can imagine. Yet many postings and help wanted ads are not much more likely to motivate a qualified person to apply. The shortage of people with STEM capabilities warrants a comprehensive recruitment effort and most of the attempts made on websites and employment portals fall far short of that.

If an organization wants to fill a job opening with someone who has the capabilities that fit that specific job it is narrowing the available talent pool by demanding a close fit to openings. If the need is for one or more Senior Engineers with a B.S. degree and 5-8 years of related experience that could be added to the requirements sought. But if the organization is trying to build a talent pool in Engineering it would be wise to do a wider search. Finding an attractive candidate that has more or less experience than required for the current job opening might result in hiring him or her and attempting to adjust the talent pool over time. This approach enables the employer to offer careers rather than jobs. Since the duration specified in a typical employment contract in the U.S. today is in reality “for as long as you decide to stay and for as long as we need you” organizations need to be more flexible in what they recruit for.

An alternative to the terse post mentioned earlier is something like the one below: 


We Have A Career For You

Our industry is experiencing dynamic infusion of new technology that is changing the way we engineer our systems. And we have long-service Engineers who will be retiring within a few years, offering career opportunities for qualified people.

Our mission is to ensure the water cycle is effectively managed in a way that reliably provides safe and affordable water, and that wastewater is recycled in a manner that respects the need to protect the environment. This requires short- and long-range planning, effective system design and constant vigilance aimed at sustaining the viability of those systems.

Engineers are at the core of our critical capabilities. We provide career management systems that encourage people to grow and to realize their aspirations. The career management structure is designed to enable people to progress as quickly as they are able and willing to grow. The structure ensures that Engineers are paid equitably and competitively, based on their level of competence and their contributions. We classify new employees at an appropriate level in the structure and progress them when they exhibit the capabilities to warrant promotion. Both managerial and individual contributor roles are available, enabling employees to decide what kind of contribution they feel they are best suited to make. Contact us today and tell us about your own qualifications and what you want to do.

What constitutes a “career” is often unclear to those seeking opportunities. Of particular interest to the recent cohorts entering the workforce is how an organization manages employee careers. How often an entrant can expect to be promoted and what (s)he must do to get that promotion is typically a mystery to candidates. Although a recruiter may provide information about how committed the organization is to developing employees and what it is willing to invest that is only one person’s word. Few candidates think the organization has thought that through and that it has a coherent career management system in place (and most do not).

One approach to clarifying the organization’s system for managing talent is to develop career structures for the occupations it employs. Once they are developed these structures can act as career roadmaps that enable incumbents to plan for their future. Knowing what is expected for progression into the higher levels in the ladder gives employees a sense that advancement is competence-driven, rather than time-based or tied to manager discretion. Although managers still have to exert discretion, they will all be guided by a common set of guidelines, which sends the “level playing field” message. 

Using career management structures enables the organization to assign base pay ranges to the levels, which further clarifies what financial inducements exist for developing one’s capabilities. Performance criteria can be added to the structure, which can clarify for incumbents the expectations at each level. For those organizations using pay for performance systems providing both performance criteria and standards can communicate management is open about how pay is managed. 


Effectively recruiting and selecting talent is a prerequisite for creating the right workforce and sustaining its viability into the future. Communicating the expectations of the employer clearly and completely removes some of the uncertainty candidates face when considering an employer. Although technology makes it easier to send customized appeals the message content must be adequate to enable someone to decide whether there will be a good fit to a specific organization. The more a potential candidate knows the more likely the person will make a good choice. 

Research has shown that the most effective tool for minimizing unwanted turnover in the first 1-2 years is a realistic preview of what it will be like to work for an organization. Emphasizing positive aspects alone fails to inoculate people against some of the less attractive things that are likely to be encountered. It also begins the relationship on an honest and open basis. That will serve an organization well, in the short term and in the future.

By Robert Greene, Ph.D.
Affiliate Partner of inclineHR LLC