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Attracting the Best Employees - 19 January 2010

I’ve just finished watching one of my favourite movies, Goodfellas, for about the hundredth time. The film opens up with teenager Henry Hill being in total admiration of the gangsters in his neighbourhood. The first twenty minutes is dedicated to his narration of the reasons why he feels compelled to join them for a life as a criminal and a thug.

These reasons, outlined below as quotes Henry delivers in his opening monologue, shed light on what drives most people to join a gang. But they also provide a clear insight into what makes potential employees join your gang – your team, department, or organisation. Listed in italics are Henry’s lines from the movie while the bold text shows how these translate into the workplace.

“It was there that I knew I belonged.” (The need for companionship and commitment) – Employee loyalty to companies is dying, but loyalty to peers is increasing. Candidates want to feel like they fit culturally within a team, so get them to meet their future team mates.

“People like my father could never understand.” (The need for acceptance and recognition) – Spend less time running interviews that seem like interrogations. Instead, dedicate time to understanding each candidate's expectations and desires - and vice versa.

“I was treated like a grown-up.” (The need for status and power) – Ambitious candidates crave control and influence at work. Without exaggerating, be open about the latitude they’ll have in their jobs and the degree to which their feedback will be sought and valued.

“Every day I was learning to score.” (The need for training and self-worth) – People view their employers not only as a place to work and earn money, but also as a place to learn. Articulate what they will become by working for you; not just what they’ll be doing.

"I was making a dollar here, a dollar there." (The need for reward and compensation) - To compete with other employers, provide candidates with 20 per cent more than they'd get elsewhere - and this can be a combined total of financial incentives and intangible factors.

“I was living in a fantasy.” (The need for excitement and identity) – Attention spans are shortening in a world where people get bored easily. Share stories of interesting projects or scenarios where existing employees have taken advantage of stimulating opportunities.

To attract the best candidates, the needs specified above should be addressed clearly in your advertising and during all job interviews. Some of these will be stronger for certain candidates than others. With the unemployment rate in Australia dropping again to a staggering 5.5 per cent, it’s the only way to nab the good fellas. And sheilas.

 

To download complimentary e-books on employee engagement, retention, and recruitment (valued at over $100), please click here.

 

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