Attracting Talent Using Career Development

November 15, 2017 in
By Ben Porr

This week, we are going to focus on ways that career development programs can improve recruitment and sourcing for your organization. Yes, the goal of career development is to support development of your current employees, but the information can also be used to attract the next generation of employees. The main reason is that career development information taps into an applicant’s intrinsic motivation (e.g., motivated because they can see their future if they put in the effort) rather than extrinsic motivation (e.g., motivated by external rewards such as money). Research has shown time and again that monetary benefits are only a small piece of attracting and retaining top level talent.

Below, I’ll cover three ways career development can help recruitment and sourcing.

First, use the career development information to inform your sourcing strategy.

Once you define the competencies needed within each career path, you can determine populations that tend to have developed those competencies and use that information to tailor your recruitment messaging to attract those individuals. Far too often, organizations simply backfill people that have the same background as the people in that role that left did. Instead, organizations should focus on the competencies that make people in that job successful and then broaden their souring strategy to bring in a more diverse applicant pool. Of course, this requires the organization to have a strong selection process to determine the best candidates, but that’s another conversation.

Second, develop realistic job previews for your core jobs.

A realistic job preview is a great way to highlight the key functions and competencies needed in a job. It is also an insightful way to give an overview of the organization’s culture and values. All these elements are used to provide an applicant with seemingly enough information for them to make a decision as to whether they would be a good fit for the job and the company. It is beneficial to provide an accurate job preview and have applicants self-select out at this stage in the process (should they choose to) because of the cost and time associated with hiring. Organizations can avoid spending their resources on candidates that are not a good fit and run the risk of leaving within the first year. While developing your career development program, identify the factors that are beneficial in attracting applicants and use that strategy to determine how to highlight those elements in your recruitment and sourcing materials. Applicants are more likely to consider a job that has a potential career track with a company that is transparent in regards to role responsibilities, compared to a position within a company that is not as open with that information.

Third, ensure the recruitment message matches the mindset of your managers.

Organizations that market their career development programs need to first gain buy-in from their managers. They need to ensure that their managers are informed and trained on the organization’s career development tools and resources in order for the program to be successful. Through this process, managers can learn how to effectively reinforce and use career development programs to benefit both their team and their entire organization. A major problem occurs when a person is recruited and selected for a position that they think has many career development opportunities, however, their manager limits their exposure to those opportunities. A manager may do this out of fear of losing the person. A manager may also be concerned that their employees may not meet “targets” if they take time away to participate in career development opportunities. For these reasons, organizations should always make sure managers are in alignment with career development goals, so that they can complement the process and not derail it.

To summarize, when organizations spend time on career development, they are inadvertently developing compelling recruitment information that will attract top talent. Organizations that only focus on salary to attract top talent will realize that a person will leave as soon as they can get a higher salary elsewhere. An individual is much more likely to stay with an organization if they are shown how they can grow, develop, and contribute to the long-term success of an organization.

To learn more about FMP’s career development capabilities, visit our website or email