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7 Secrets Mid-Marketers Can Use to Attract and Retain the Best Talent

Middle-market companies are feeling the talent squeeze more than larger companies, primarily because they are competing head on with their larger counterparts and can’t offer the benefits, marquee recognition of a Fortune 1000 or the innovative culture and growth and career fulfillment that small companies and startups do. But mid-market CEOs can compete effectively for the same talent.

Here are 7 ideas for succeeding in garnering the best employees, from the National Center for the Middle Market.

1. Understand the candidates you want to target. A job candidate’s fit with the value and culture of a company is the leading factor considered by mid-market executives when filling key leadership positions, the Center says. Not all qualified candidates will match in that way, so determine the type of individuals you want to attract early in your recruiting process so you can zero in on the best candidates.

2. Consider the competition. Middle-market companies that win top talent know with whom they are competing, including other mid-market firms and larger and smaller organizations. Sometimes direct competitors aren’t “talent” competitors: Talent competitors may not be in your industry, but may close in proximity, therefore, at risk of stealing your staff.

3. Place a premium on attracting top talent. Top-performing mid-market companies are nearly twice as likely as their peers to place a premium on attracting top talent, according to Center research. Senior management typically plays a key role in the process in such companies. This can clearly communicate to prospects the importance you place on securing the best candidates.

4. Always be on the lookout. Whether you’re hiring or not, always be seeking good people who could be attracted to your company or fall into your lap in the future. Talk up your company and its advantages to talented people outside your organization, and keep in touch with them. That could give you an initial pool of prospects when the right job materializes.

5. Use proven resources. LinkedIn and professional recruiters can help immensely. LinkedIn is a safe place for any careerist to discuss job possibilities, and is the focus of searches by active job candidates, according to Novo Group research, which was cited by NCMM. Meanwhile, passive candidates rely more on recruiters and referrals.

6. Establish a referral program. Rewarding existing employees for bringing in qualified job candidates can expand the pool of potential new hires. About half of middle-market firms do this, the Center said.

7. Find cost-effective ways to build awareness. Look for opportunities to keep your name and reputation in front of top talent, such as local “best places to work” contests in your area and industry that you can publicize in regional media. An internship program and relationships with area business schools also can help.

If mid-market CEOs can use such techniques to pique the interest of top talent and get their consideration, they can use the substantial advantages offered by mid-market companies—such as opportunities for advancement, solid market-share positions, and so on—to reel them in.



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