The Ten Demandments

    In a 1998 McKinsey report titled “The War for Talent,” the authors were blunt about their prediction that the search for talent would become a constant and costly battle. Ed Michaels, a McKinsey director, claimed at the time that in an environment where competition has become global and capital is abundant, “All that matters is talent. Talent wins.”

    Have things really changed since then? The short answer is no. In fact, if anything, the war for the best talent has intensified tenfold. Even if you have a great business strategy, it can be replicated in almost no time, and with the ubiquity of the Internet, the half-life of knowledge has shrunk to about a millisecond! And as for technology, its shelf life is growing shorter and shorter.

    In building a high-performance culture, it all begins with recruiting and selecting the right talented individuals for the positions you have open at every level of your organization. The companies that are succeeding as demographic challenges create a talent shortage are those that are putting strategies in place to find the best talent available – not just the first qualified applicant. Talented candidates are more demanding than ever. The fact is that there are simply few applicants who need your job.

    Organizations have long recognized the value of customers and the crucial role that they play in their success. Countless strategies are devised just to obtain, secure and “recruit” them. Most organizations, however, have yet to put the same emphasis, investment and strategy on recruiting the employees who they require to effectively run their organization and satisfy those same customers.

    Acknowledging that in the talent mindset, candidates and employees are customers, we have created “The Ten Demandments – Rules to Live By in the Age of the Demanding Candidate,” a way for employers to apply new rules to their relationships with job candidates and applicants. In an age where talented people have more choices than ever, it is critical to better understand demanding candidates and address their needs more effectively and comprehensively than your competitors – or their current employer.

    Demandment #1:

    Earn my trust


    Respect, integrity, values and authenticity come first. Forget about all the other Demandments if you can’t handle this one.

    Demandment #2:

    Inspire me


    In a world in which competitive advantage lies with people, link your employees’ skills and experience and hopes and dreams to your corporate vision and strategies.

    Demandment #3:

    Make it easy

    Make your career/job Web sites less complicated and easy to navigate. The best talent doesn’t have time to deal with poorly designed and executed career portals, and will go elsewhere if frustrated.

    Demandment #4:

    Put me in charge

    The employment process is intensely personal – and candidates want greater control of the process. Give them an appropriate amount of information and allow them to manage the process at an early stage. This will give candidates a feeling of empowerment, rather than a feeling of being overpowered by the process.

    Demandment #5:

    Guide me

    Like any good tour guide, a company’s career portal should shepherd “travelers” through points of interest, educating, interpreting, and pointing out key information along the way. This guidance may be in the form of job previews, employee commentaries or process tips.

    Demandment #6:


    Anywhere, anyway, any time. What was unthinkable a decade ago is unremarkable today – and your career Web site had better be there or catch up fast. The hottest talent is currently employed, so make it quick and easy for them to engage with you when, where and how they want to do it. 

    Demandment #7:

    Get to know me

    Bridge the anonymity gap, give talented individuals a sense of importance by tailoring experiences to their unique needs and wants and incorporating what you learn about them throughout your hiring process.

    Demandment #8:

    Exceed my expectations

    Good enough is never enough in a world where great talent contributes more and demands more. When candidates choose your company or job opportunity, does it launch them on their most exciting leap of faith ever, the leap that takes them from interest to action to desire, from trust to confidence, from expectation to delight, from interested applicant to job candidate to successful employee? 

    Demandment #9: 

    Reward me

    Companies that deliver exceptional work/life experiences consistently over time earn the loyalty of their great talent. In the application-to-hire process, one key is in great technology-enabled business processes. Reward a candidate’s interest and efforts with ease of use and responsiveness. This means thank you’s, timely follow-ups, referral bonuses and personal connections.

    Demandment #10:

    Stay with me

    For relationships to stand the test of time, they need to be nurtured. To begin, find, retain and nurture passive candidate relationships, companies must pursue, promote, and act on a sense of authentic commitment.

    Good companies can achieve greatness by utilizing talent acquisition and retention best practices and relying in staffing metrics to make smarter, fact-based decisions.  What is needed is a strategic leap, not incremental activities fixing obsolete and underperforming talent systems. Take that strategic talent vision and translate it into an informed, collaborative, and well-executed enterprise-wide strategy, instilling a “talent mindset” at every level of your organization.

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