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Land Your Top Candidate (Finally)

Beating Your Competition to the Best Candidates

What does it take to beat your competition to the best candidates? In this unprecedented time in recruiting, organizations can take advantage of employees leaving their jobs in droves.

By researching the reasons why people are leaving their jobs along with why they’re accepting positions with new companies, your organization can take steps to ensure you have what it takes to retain employees along with what it takes to attract new candidates. Once your company creates the right circumstances to recruit top talent, you’ll need to know what specifically to offer them.

Learning what your competitors are offering can give you the edge in providing an attractive pay rate and benefits package. Competitive intelligence can give your company an advantage in recruiting top talent. Between engineering an attractive company culture and investigating your competitors’ offerings, your company can rise to the top in the recruitment challenge.

Winning the Recruiting War

The silver lining to the Great Resignation is that there are still millions of workers who are ready to jump ship with their current employer. The only challenge is how to win the recruiting war against the other companies that are also hoping to scoop up newly liberated talent.

If your company is asking why would someone leave another company to work for yours, this is a once-in-a-lifetime recruiting opportunity: the Great Resignation is ongoing. Employees are continuing to report that they plan to leave their jobs.

According to a PwC survey of more than 52,000 workers in 44 countries, one in five workers say they will look for a new job in the next year. Your company can leverage this upheaval by offering everything an employee could want while eliminating the negative aspects of their current jobs.

Why would someone leave another company to work for your company?

Hiring an employee away from another company sounds like a tall task. By reverse-engineering the question, “Why would they leave for us?”, your organization can gain insight into successfully luring talent away from their current employer. Why are they leaving? And what is it they’re looking for?

If your company can offer potential employees what their current employer cannot, you can recruit the best candidates to your organization. Start by learning the reasons why people are leaving their companies. Here are a few of the top reasons people leave their jobs:

  • Manageable Workloads

One of the biggest reasons people are leaving is not salaries – but instead, unsustainable workloads, according to the Microsoft 2022 Work Trend Index, a study of 31,000+ people in 31 countries. While workers are enjoying the work from home flexibility as a result of the pandemic, the additional time spent on team meetings and supplemental emails or chats has led to an increase in after-hours work. A recruiter can offer work from home flexibility without the added hours price tag.

  • Empathetic Leadership

Empathetic leadership instills loyalty among employees toward said leadership, according to a recent Ernst and Young study of more than 1,000 US workers. 54% of workers reported that they left a previous position because their supervisor wasn’t empathetic to their challenges at work. In the context of the past two years, employers who can lend a listening ear to employees and create a culture of concern in the workspace will reap benefits in the recruiting world.

  • Respect from Leadership

According to a Pew Research study, feeling disrespected at work is a close third most popular reason US workers left a job in 2021. The two reasons narrowly beating out this feeling were low pay and no opportunities for advancement. A third of those surveyed said these were major reasons why they left their job. Encouraging respect and empathy among leadership can be much more budget-friendly approaches to retaining and recruiting employees than paying a top salary to buy only a year of a candidate’s life before they jump ship again.

Reverse Engineer the Great Resignation

Now that your company knows why people left their jobs during the highest quit rate in the last 20 years, you can create a work environment that will not only attract new talent but that will also retain your current employees. Ensuring that your workers enjoy a manageable workload and advising your leaders to treat their team members with empathy and respect is a start.

Taking those steps will help retain staff, as well as eliminate red flags for new candidates. Now, how can your company convince someone to leave their job at another company?

(Or make it easy on your company – how can your organization recruit those who quit their jobs without lining up another job? According to a McKinsey survey of employees in several countries, including the US, 36% of employees quit without establishing a new job.)

Why did the Great Resignation workers accept positions with new companies? Let’s find out…

  • Work-Life Balance

In a close second behind pay, greater work-life balance and better personal wellbeing is an important reason employees considered when deciding if they should accept a new job offer, according to a Gallup poll of 13,085 US employees. Beyond the option to work from home, work-life balance includes job flexibility encompassing when, where, and how to work.

  • Ability to Do What They Do Best

In the same Gallup poll, 58% of workers reported that they want to do work that’s a natural fit for their gifts and training. Finding work that is stimulating and enjoyable is an important aspect of the job search. Recruiters need to be upfront on the day-to-day tasks of open positions to ensure everyone’s on the same page when it comes to expectations.

  • Stability and Job Security

53% of workers are seeking jobs that provide more stability and security than their current job provides. If an employer can be seen as a stabilizing force in an employee’s life, they have a better chance at recruiting that employee.

Competitive Intelligence

Your organization’s efforts to collect and analyze information gathered on competitors is your competitive intelligence. You’ll leverage this competitive intelligence to both learn what competitors are offering to new candidates, as well as to align your organization’s efforts with competitors and the market for hiring and pay.

Strategic intelligence gathering focuses on long-term issues, including opportunities your organization can take advantage of – for example: the chance to offer competitive pay to top talent once you learn what other industry leaders are providing candidates.

Despite the many polls listing work-life imbalance and a lack of empathy from leadership among others as reasons people quit – salary is still close to the top of the lists of why people leave their jobs AND why people accept new positions. Knowing what pay rate your competitors are offering (along with other benefits) can help guide your recruiting strategy.


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How to find out what your competitors are offering to new candidates

Your company’s competitive intelligence gathering will prompt action based on data. Actionable information gathered by your organization includes what your competitors are offering to candidates. But how do you find that out? Beyond visiting the career page on your competitor’s website or looking up their job postings on job sites, there are a few more methods to help your organization find out the packages offered to candidates.

Rather than making decisions driven by conventional wisdom or even by a gut feeling, your organization can make strategic moves driven by data insights. But where to begin? Your company can approach information gathering from a variety of angles, including the following:

  • News Media

Let the journalists do the research for you! Often, when a company fills a high-level role, they announce their new employee via a press release. And whether or not the press release lists salaries, journalists will research the salary for their reporting on the announcement. Your company can also follow press releases straight from the source by following the top wire services.

  • Government Records

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a wealth of information on more than just the unemployment rate. The BLS’s Weekly Earnings Summary breaks down median weekly earnings by education levels among other factors. The monthly Employment Situation details the industries that are adding jobs – an indicator of areas where employers may be increasing pay to entice employees to join their workforce.

  • Trade Shows

If your company participates in Trade Shows, you can network among competitors to learn best practices, including hiring practices. Meeting with your competition face-to-face affords you the rare opportunity to ask what they are offering to new candidates, as well as to ask how they’re finding top talent. If your company doubts competitors will share this information, you won’t know until you ask. Building a network can create trust, enabling a mutually beneficial information-sharing pipeline.

  • Conferences

As with trade shows, conferences can afford your company the chance to network with your competition. While trade shows may focus on buying and selling, conferences are designed to trade information, making it a more natural fit for sharing best hiring practices. Not to mention, under the current labor market, any conference should feature sessions on how to recruit talent, including information on how to assess the current pay rates for your industry and for your company’s open positions.

  • Competitor Interviews

Similar to an informational interview, a competitor interview can help your company learn from your network of competitors. If your company already networks with competitors, then you can leverage established relationships to learn about their hiring practices. A competitor interview can give your company the opportunity to start and build upon relationships with your competitors.

  • Public Filings

If a company lists their shares on a stock exchange, they are required to file financial statements and disclosures with regulators. If you dig through the selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A), you can find the company’s salaries. It takes time and patience, but it’s worth the effort if you can see salaries in black and white – not just through word-of-mouth.

Ensure you’re aligned with competitors and the market for hiring/pay

While learning about your competitors via a variety of resources can provide valuable insights, researching the market pay rate for your company’s open positions can be relatively straightforward. Visiting the same spaces that job seekers employ can be easy and quick. There is readily available market data on salaries, as well as on company culture on websites like, Payscale, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter.

If your company is limited in offering higher pay, there are other paths to supplementing the market compensation rate with additional benefits. Whether it’s more vacation time or added training, your company can add to the pay rate with increased benefits.

Once you have your company culture and competitors’ practices lined up, you can begin your recruiting efforts and move on to the best interview questions to ask candidates. And become a magnet for candidates to ask, “Why am I the best candidate for the job?”

Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP)

In addition to following the action items outlined above, your company, a team at your company, or an individual employee may consider joining the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals, SCIP, a global non-profit community connecting members to peers across industries. In addition to the personal connections, SCIP also provides unlimited access to research and analysis summarized in 1,000+ articles, case studies, benchmarks, and Guide Books.

Coupled with providing access to a robust peer community, SCIP also offers discounts on training and learning events. Individuals and companies can leverage SCIP’s online presence by seeking advice in real time, providing a rare reality check from peers. SCIP also gives members access to regularly scheduled webinars, roundtables, and podcast episodes. A members-only online forum connects peers from some of the biggest companies from around the world.

In the current recruiting atmosphere, any advantage your company can use in its efforts to attract new talent can make the difference in building your business versus downsizing.


Optimum Staffing Solutions is a full-service staffing and HR agency serving both companies and job seekers alike. Optimum takes the stress out of the job and employee search–with over 50 years of combined hiring experience, we understand the business elements and bigger picture of staffing. We develop a deep comprehension of both client and candidate needs in order to find the right fit for you, lower time to fill, and continue to act as advisor and guide throughout the hiring process.

Whether seeking jobs or employees on a contract basis, temp, short- or long- term, remote or in-person, freelance projects or even outsourcing your HR department entirely, Optimum has the insight and expertise to destress staffing and help you succeed. For accounting, finance, IT, legal, marketing, HR, and engineering, Optimum is Staffing…Reimagined.

Curious how a staffing agency could help your business? Schedule a free, 30 minute Discovery Call with Optimum to learn more.

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