The hiring process can be confusing and, at times, frustrating for both the candidate and the employer. Candidates seek job opportunities with companies that offer flexible work options, good benefits, and opportunities for career advancement. Employers seek highly qualified candidates who plan to remain with the company long-term.

What can employers do to recruit and retain top talent in their businesses and make the onboarding process welcoming to candidates? We spoke with several business leaders to determine their strategies for finding the best hires.

Create a Talent Pipeline

If you want to recruit top talent, you have to take advantage of recruitment opportunities. Candidates need to know about your company and the job description to consider applying.

“You need to go beyond the job advertisement,” says Karl Hughes, CEO of “Advertisements alone don’t ensure that desirable candidates can learn about the open positions you’re offering. First, you need to determine who your ideal candidate is. Where are they most likely to hear about your company? Does your ideal candidate use career sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed? Are they attending school? Once you identify your target audience, you can create effective advertisements and place them in the necessary locations. Find multiple outlets and utilize job boards to ensure you broadcast positions to the right people.”

Energage, a Certified B Corporation, informs employers that they should be recruiting both active and passive candidates. You can promote your company to both kinds of candidates by taking a more innovative and personal approach to recruitment.

Jason Reposa, Founder and CEO of Good Feels, states “One of the most effective tools you have at your disposal is your organization’s website. Create an informative and robust career page where candidates can find clear descriptions of each role, including job responsibilities and requirements as well as compensation. Make the application process straightforward. If possible, include estimations of when a candidate can expect to hear back about an application and where they can go with their questions. With effective SEO strategies, potential hires will locate your careers page easily, even if they’re not explicitly exploring your company or the open positions.”

There are also ways to engage passive candidates who do not access your company’s website.

Kevin Callahan, Co-Founder & CEO of Flatline Van Co., explains the efficacy of employee referral programs.

“Your employees are the richest source of information about what makes your company a great place to work,” says Callahan. “Through employee referral programs, you can reach talented individuals whether or not they’re looking for opportunities to join your team. Your team members will refer candidates with the right qualifications to fill the open roles. Your employees know what a new hire needs to be. They are also likely to refer someone with whom they and the rest of the team will work well.”

Promoting your job opportunities in the right places is just one part of the recruitment process. You also have to consider how you promote these opportunities.

Show Candidates What Makes You Unique

Chances are, the positions you’re hiring for look a lot like the positions another company is hiring for. Talented candidates are more likely to choose your company when they see the desirable work culture and competitive advantages your company offers.

Georgia Dorfman, CEO of All My Love, discusses how you can determine what sets you apart from the competition.

Dorfman states, “Start by interfacing with your current employees. Ask them why they chose to work for you and why they stay with the company. You can have them deliver answers anonymously. These answers will help you create more effective job descriptions and advertisements.”

All candidates want to join a people-centric work environment. They want to work for an organization that cares for and supports its employees. You can demonstrate your organization’s people-centered approach by highlighting your employees.

Liza Kirsh, CMO of Dymapak, states, “Your website and your social media presences need to show your appreciation for your team. You can post employee testimonials, where potential candidates can read about an employee’s experience with your company and how your company has fostered their career growth and personal development. When you do this, candidates don’t have to take your word as the employer that your company is a great place to work. They can connect with the team, and they can choose if your team’s experience is something they want for themselves.”

Another way to show candidates that you care for your employees and their growth is by offering learning programs within your organization.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Savanah Barry, Associate Marketing Manager with LinkedIn Learning, claims that the driving force for job seekers is new opportunities. People value career advancement, and, in a 2015 SHRM survey, 78% of employees said that a “clear career path would compel them to stay with an organization longer.”

“By offering opportunities for career advancement, you’re more likely to retain the talented individuals you’ve hired,” says Ankur Goyal, Head of Growth at Coterie. “Individuals that feel stagnant in their jobs are unlikely to stay with the company when a better opportunity presents itself. When you remain with a company for a long time, you expect to gain new skills, raises, and promotions. If you’re able to display these offerings upfront, you’ll attract top candidates.

In addition to career advancement opportunities, candidates want learning and development programs.

Tavis Lochhead, Co-Founder of Looria, claims, “Employees need to feel equipped and challenged in their roles. Providing instruction in different skill sets benefits your business because you’re giving employees the tools they need to produce their best work. Learning programs keep the job exciting for the employee, and they show that your company is dedicated to the employee’s well-being and growth. If you’re unsure what kind of instruction to provide, ask your employees what knowledge and skills they feel would help them perform in their assigned roles. If you’re looking to promote a certain employee, offer them instruction for the new responsibilities they’re assuming. Build your learning programs based on employee needs.”

You can recruit talented individuals outside your company, but your ideal candidates might be your current employees.

Hire from Within

It might go without saying, but start your candidate search with your current employees.

“With your team members, not only do you have their resumes, but you have the experience of working with them directly,” says Ben Hyman, CEO of Revival. “You’ve witnessed their work ethic and style, and you’ll be able to pinpoint which of them are fit for the role you’re looking to fill. When you give employees the chance to move up in a company, they can see how crucial they are to the company’s success. They’ll be motivated to perform well and offer ideas for projects.”

Barry addresses the fiscal benefits of hiring internally. She claims that it costs anywhere from $3,000 to $4,300 to hire externally depending on the organization’s size, and losing an employee can cost up to twice their annual salary.

Ely Khakshouri, Founder and CEO of Retrospec, expands on the monetary benefits of hiring internally.

Khakshouri states, “It’s more expensive to hire new employees than to promote from within, and it’s also expensive to lose your qualified employees because you didn’t offer advancement opportunities. While many organizations claim they value employee retention, fewer prioritize promotions and advancements. With the increasing number of employees leaving or switching jobs, it’s more important than ever to hold on to your talented team. Listen to their career goals, and do your utmost to help them meet these goals while they’re working for you.”

The final way to recruit top talent for your organization is by getting involved in the community.

Engage the Community

Through education and community outreach, you demonstrate who you are as a company. You’ll reach a specific target audience willing to learn more about your company.

“By working with your community, you’ll attract candidates who share your mission and values,” says Melissa Rhodes, CEO of Psychics 1on1. “You might create an internship or mentorship with local schools. Schools prepare students for the workforce, and if they experience your organization while they’re in school, they’ll likely consider you for a future employer. During community events, candidates can see your work in action. They connect with you and your current employees on a more personal level. These events are excellent opportunities to support your community and recruit new hires.”

If you’re struggling to attract top talent to your business, try implementing these tools. We know how great your company is to work for. Now it’s time for your ideal candidate to know too.