Comp and Perks Are Important, But Talent Seeks Purpose, Values

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Oct 21, 2016

Attracting great candidates for key roles is one of the most difficult tasks for any business, particularly in Silicon Valley. And in an attempt to lure the best talent, tech salaries have increased significantly in recent years.

But data from the Hired platform shows that salary is not always the top priority for job candidates. In fact, 75% of our users – a large majority of which are millennials – don’t even accept the highest paying offer. So if a soaring salary isn’t what candidates are after, what will convince them to switch jobs? According to the preferences of the 15,000+ candidates on our platform, finding a company whose value and culture you respect has become increasingly important. Here are some qualities that truly impact their decision making:

Be a purpose-driven company

Everyone wants to make a difference in the world. This is especially true for millennials who don’t want to just earn a paycheck, but want to be a part of companies addressing major problems, on both a small and larger scale. Google, for example, has not only changed the way people all over the world access information but it’s taking that a step further by using Google Translate to close cultural gaps in communication and Google Earth to help scientists track climate change. On a smaller scale, Azavea, a SMB that makes mapping software and mobile apps, uses its software to tackle neighborhood revitalization and crime analysis. In addition, the company gives 2% of its profits to charity and offers every employee 20 paid hours to work on community projects annually.

Whether you’re offering employees the chance to get involved with a charitable organization, or your company or product is truly making a difference in the world, showing a prospect the impact they can make is key. You can accomplish this during the interview process by drawing parallels between a specific role and a company’s mission or pointing out employees who have led a pro bono campaign for a local nonprofit.

But authenticity is key. If you’re just disrupting your industry, don’t pretend to be curing cancer. Find other ways to show a candidate that your work is meaningful — through transparency, connecting individual goals to the company’s mission, and providing opportunities to volunteer. Being overzealous can easily turn off the perfect candidate, and they’re interviewing you as much as you’re interviewing them.

Show your company culture

Showing candidates how you view and value culture starts before the first interview. Companies like Eventbrite and Lyft use Instagram to promote their company culture. By showcasing their office space, dog-friendly perks and employee parties, they’re telling the world that their people matter just as much as their product. And it’s working, Eventbrite has become one of the largest self-serving ticketing platforms and Lyft raised $1 billion in January to scale and grow its team. Hiring the best people for the job and building the right teams has been an integral part of each company’s success.

Don’t just tell candidates how great it is to work at your company, let them experience it firsthand. Inviting candidates to join an informal lunch or team happy hour is a unique way to take the pressure off of the interviewing process. It will give them a fresh look into your company’s culture, while allowing your team to get to know them better. It’s incredibly important to give candidates a clear understanding of your culture to ensure you’re attracting the right talent for the job.

Benefits are key (and can be free)

The tech industry has become synonymous with over-the-top perks. But the reality is that it’s not the end of the world if you can’t keep up with the Googles and Facebooks of the world. If a candidate is only joining your company for the frivolous perks, they’ll leave as soon as the next best thing comes along.

Furthermore, not all perks have to come at a significant up-front cost to you. Benefits like a generous maternity/paternity leave policy, company equity or time off for volunteer work are all attractive options. Offering your employees the ability to work remotely, maintain a flexible work schedule or further their education are relatively inexpensive benefits that will eventually pay for themselves, and employees will appreciate them in the long run. Communicating these potential benefits from the beginning will ultimately provide leverage and negotiating power for both the employer and candidate.

Gone are the days when a ping-pong table or a dedicated nap room was all it took to impress the best talent. Candidates today know what they want out of a given role and are putting more weight on culture and mission than compensation. It is your responsibility to bring to light all of the other ways your company is appealing and how you will invest in the growth of your team members.