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6 Ways to Attract a Rockstar Employee

6 Ways to Attract a Rockstar Employee

What’s the secret to hiring a rockstar employee? You know the one: a motivated, talented team member with the right culture fit who will come alongside your vision and work with you to make amazing things happen. Surely it can’t be that hard, right?

Attracting a new employee may sound like a simple task. Put up a job ad, filter through the resumes, conduct a few interviews and make an offer. And if you all you care about is ‘filling roles’, then that’s as complex as it will get.

When you want a rockstar though – a real superstar – you need to lift your game. Great employees already have a pretty good deal. They need the right kind of bait dangled in front of them to even consider applying for your job over all the others available (including the one they currently have!).

Determining the right kind of bait takes developing an understanding of your future rockstar employee. After all, how will your future team member know you are looking for them if you don’t even know what they look like well enough to attract them?

Your first step in hiring a rockstar is to determine exactly what that rockstar looks like – in more detail than you may think! You need to know so clearly what your rockstar employee looks like that when you advertise their job it will be impossible for them to resist applying. Your job advertisement needs to cause them to say, ‘That’s me! That’s exactly for me!’ and immediately apply.

The key is to understand exactly what you want your future employee to look like. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to work through the next time you need to hire somebody to ensure you can attract a potential rockstar employee.

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1. Job title

A person’s job title is more sensitive that you think and speaks volumes to a potential recruit as to the position, respect, and remuneration of a position. You might call it an ‘Administration Coordinator’. Your future Rockstar might see themselves more as an ‘Office Manager’. Ask around or look at the past job titles of current incumbents in the role. Aim to discover the impression of each particular job title within your industry and choose the job title that closely represents the personality and ambitions of your future rockstar. Want someone highly ambitious and ready to move up the organization? Go for a more lofty title. If you’re dead set on someone who will be reliable and stay in the role for as long as possible, choose a more demure title.

2. The structure of competing companies

The key to beating the competition is to understand them. Get a firm handle on what your competitors offer potential recruits; specifically, who do they report to? What training opportunities do they have? Which office do they sit in? What responsibility is given to them? A quick search of job advertisements from your competitors will give an idea of the features on offer.

3. Characteristics of rockstar people in similar roles

If you’ve never had a rockstar on staff you may not even know what you’re missing out on. Now is the time to put the feelers out into your networks. Ask if anyone knows a great [insert position here]. Be careful they don’t think you’re trying to poach them (unless of course you are)! Talk with someone who is considered by others to be a superstar in their industry and ask them how you can better attract higher quality employees into your organization. They may reveal characteristics or desires you didn’t even know about.

4. What salaries are on offer?

It goes without saying that you need to ensure the salary you are offering is competitive. It’s not as hard as it used to be these days to find out competitive salaries; websites such as glassdoor.com provide a unique insight into the salaries of your competitors. Rockstar employees typically make more money than the industry norm. Unless you’re a well-recognised brand or offer incredible (and seriously incredible) opportunities outside salary, this will be one of the make or break points for your future super star.

5. What other benefits are rockstars looking for?

Salary is just the baseline. While increasing the amount of money on offer may attract higher talent, sometimes the best people are looking for things beyond salary. What does your future super star employee really want from a role? Time to spend with his or her family? A pseudo work family? Travel? Security? Training? Meaning? It is vital you understand the secondary motivations of your future employee. It will be these sorts of ‘added extras’ that will convince them to say yes to you and no to your competitors.

6. What makes an ‘epic’ performer?

Finally, you yourself need to think BIG! Challenge yourself… if you had a truly epic performer in this role, what would they do? Not just someone who ticks the boxes of the job description you drew up. A truly epic performer would go above and beyond the typical outlines to… do what? What would that look like? Allow yourself to dream big, unrealistic, totally impossible, that-person-would-have-to-be-an-actual-angel sort of dreams. This is about stretching your thinking and enlarging your expectations. It’s about solidifying your belief in your company’s worthiness of the best employees.

Your organization is worthy of a rockstar employee. Instead of just accepting the status quo for the next role you need to fill, aim high! It takes more research, a deeper understanding of people’s needs, and a willingness to change your own idea of what the role is to attract and retain the best of the best. But you can figure it out and attract someone who will surprise you.

Paul Slezak

Cofounder at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for 20 years. Follow me @paul_slezak.

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