C-Suite Network™

5 Sure Ways To Turn Away Top Talent

It’s a constant challenge for any business to attract the best talent against all the competition and this may well be high on your list of business priorities for the immediate short-term. I just wonder however, how much of the everyday business activity and behaviors you miss as CEO that could be severely diluting your chances of getting the talent you need.  It’s detail that is quite possibly invisible to you.

Sadly, I’m finding that simple good manners and courtesy are going downhill in the corporate world with people just not responding, not being accountable and responsible for getting a task done, not doing what they say they will do and having a general disrespect for others time and agenda. In my opinion, this all-too-common level of apathy is having a dramatic effect on corporate culture and therefore on securing the top talent and here’s why:

  • Long drawn out recruitment processes – I’ve heard several instances of this in recent months and the apparent indifference with the lack of contact between interview, next communication and final job offer gives the candidate a distinct impression of them not being valued or cared about. A sure way for anybody, let alone a keen, bright and driven millennial to be turned off and go elsewhere where things are ‘more dynamic’. Just keep the communication going!


  • Not considering that they have other options – a foolhardy assumption. Just because you think your organization is a top brand, you’re offering a better package or good jobs are hard to come by doesn’t mean the candidate will hang around for you to get your act together. They are attracted by much more than financial package, and respect is a huge factor.  Give them the respect of assuming they have other options as well as you.


  • Being a CEO who is not visible and authentic – ambitious individuals want to know just who they are working for and the personality of the leadership team is important to them. If you and your senior team are not ‘out there’ visible in the media, active on social media and prominent as business experts in your field, you could be missing out on an important differentiator. A high employee engagement factor is being proud of the company and leadership team. Make sure your senior team get the coaching needed to enhance their brand and visibility.


  • Not providing a solid and innovative approach to personal development – if you’re not openly demonstrating how your business is fully invested in the development of your people (and I don’t mean just great words on your careers page) then you’ll absolutely be way off mark with engaging the right people to your business. Progress and development is rated high for millennials especially when they choose their next role. Don’t just cut the training budget when things get tough – it’s quite possibly the worst and most expensive cut you can make.


  • Not providing an agile or a mobile working environment – with lifestyle and work balance becoming a higher priority for many today, not providing a flexible environment for office and home working, or time off for important family events for example, will be a negative. Having the opportunity to move around to different departments and learn a breadth of skills fast is highly attractive to most driven talent too. Examine if your culture is embracing of this or is it offered and frowned upon instead?

There are of course many ways in which talent is attracted to your company and these are just a few of the areas I’ve experienced in my work with authentic employee brand and engagement that get in the way.

As CEO you have a responsibility to minimize the risk in your business. Not addressing these important areas of employer brand investment could present a risk you have not considered fully enough.


Review your 3 last year’s recruitment insights data and do the following:

  • Personally speak to a random selection of recent employees and get feedback on:
    • recruitment personnel and communication effectiveness
    • time taken from first communication to offer letter
    • what would they improve about the process?
  • Review candidates who did not take up the offer to join your company:
    • What are their reasons?
    • What was their experience of the interview process?
    • What was their impression of your company brand via the recruitment / interview process?

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