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Ask Linda: Attracting Talent

Instead of a systematic or one-size-fits-all approach, managers need a variety of incentive options when  trying to secure talent

by Lab Manager
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Dear Linda,

I just learned that there is money in my budget to hire two new, badly needed, lab techs. However, I’ve found that it’s much harder these days to find and hold onto qualified candidates. Today’s entry-level employees are much different than they were 10 years ago, with most expecting very specific working conditions and opportunities. Given that nobody wants to go through the recruitment, hiring, and training process again and again, are there any secrets to finding and keeping the right people right off the bat?

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Dear Meredith,

Since the demand for talent always exceeds supply, you have certainly identified what most managers consider their biggest challenge. For most entry-level positions, at this point in time, it’s a seller’s market. And as that situation continues, so does the weight on lab managers tasked with finding the best.

Instead of a systematic or one-size-fitsall approach, managers need a variety of incentive options when trying to secure talent. Different workers respond to different motivators.

While money is the routine starting point in attracting talent, equally important is management’s approach to soft benefits— reward and recognition programs, flextime and work/life balance, career training and development, and other conveniences and services.

Managers should take pains with potential employees to convey the company culture, since it’s not obvious from the outside.

Mismatches between employee expectations and the promises and true culture of the workplace—likely the primary reason new hires lose interest and change jobs— can be minimized by a thorough, two-way interview process on the front end.

Below are a few more tips that may be helpful in your hiring efforts:

  • Showcase your company culture and people
  • Add some marketing flare to the job description
  • Be realistic about job qualifications • Implement talent management strategies to fill niche positions
  • Develop internal mentoring programs to train new hires in needed skills

While there’s no full-proof technique for finding the right person for the job you need filled, hopefully some of these suggestions will prove useful. Good luck.


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