How to Identify and Attract the Best Talent in the Market (Part 2)

Following on from our previous blog, please see part 2.


So, you have identified relevant candidates; what next, what preparation have you done in advance of meeting the candidates?

Why is this so important? If you want to attract the top talent in the market (and not just those actively looking responding to LinkedIn and job boards), you have to show and demonstrate to a candidate that this role and your company is an attractive proposition compared to their current firm or potentially any other companies they are considering joining. I know of one well known CEO who flew out to meet a candidate whilst the candidate was on holiday to convince him that the role he was considering was the best option for his career, compared to other offers he had. This resulted in a great hire!

Although you’d expect the candidate to have done their own preparation, it is important that you have done your own homework too. If you’re recruiting via an agency you would expect them to provide you with an overview on the candidate including; why they are suitable for the role, their concerns and motivations to consider a move and other relevant points.

With Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media there is so much information available it is important to utilise relevant information to help build an all-round picture on a candidate.

Depending on the seniority of the candidate, can you confidentially cross reference them in the market with a trusted source?


HELPFUL TIP: When prepping a candidate or client for an interview, I always put myself in the other persons shoes and ask what I believe will be important to them and focus my preparation around those points. 


So what is important to a candidate?

They will be asking themselves, does this opportunity interest me and what are the points I need to consider?

This may vary depending on the level of the role and the where the individual is at in their career,  however typically there are three areas they will focus on:

  • The Company
  • The Position
  • The Potential



Points to consider:

  • What is the market and brand perception?
  • Track record of growth
  • The hiring authorities track record in current and previous organizations’
  • Who else has joined the company – other well-respected figureheads in the market?
  • What’s the turnover of staff, how stable is the management team?
  • Is there a clear vision on future growth strategy and is there clarity on how this will be achieved? (Is everyone brought into the vision?)
  • If it is a turnaround strategy, once again is there clarity on how this will be achieved?
  • Culture – can the culture/working environment be clearly verbalised and if appropriate involve other members of the team in the hiring process to confirm?


HELPFUL TIP: Consider the candidates first impression when they are greeted at reception – A warm, friendly hello from your receptionist and being offered a drink can leave a lasting positive impression. If for whatever reason your previous meeting overruns and you are running late, make sure someone lets the candidate know.



  • Clarity on what the role entails – has the candidate received a job description?
  • Direct reports and background of the team
  • Is there clarity on key tangibles/KPI’s?
  • Depending on the level of the role, what resources or future funding will be available in order to deliver what is expected?
  • How much support will they need and will they be allowed the freedom to get on and deliver the plan?
  • What are some of the challenges they will face? Is there clarity on what good looks like and what might need fixing?



This may vary depending on the seniority of role:

  • C-Suite level role – for some candidates being able to build and influence bottom line or profitability/turnaround/building on current growth is key. Others it will be the opportunity to build on what is already successful and some individuals will be driven by building a clear exit strategy following the sale of a business.
  • Rewards for achieving clear deliverables – is there clarity around the rewards for achieving KPI’s e.g. Bonus, LTIP, equity?
  • Career progression – Is there potential for future growth across the business? Will the candidate be able to take on new roles?
    Is there the opportunity to learn and develop new skills?



This needs to be pitched at the right level – ultimately, it’s not the most important factor for most candidates. One advantage when working with a recruiter, is negotiating the overall package that will secure the candidate. The recruiter should be able to provide you with the breakdown of the candidate’s current package, including any bonus payments, LTIPS, shares, equity plus any other payments they receive. If there is an opportunity to offer equity or shares do so, as this can be particularly attractive to candidates.


Offer/ Counter offer

Having negotiated an offer that you believe the candidate will accept, how do you approach the subject of counter offer? This should have been addressed very early on in the process and not at offer stage. How a candidate responds to the question of a counter offer can be very inciteful. If they say, “I’d wait to see what my boss says and what my current company can offer to keep me”, you’ve got a potential problem. You’ve invested a huge amount of time interviewing a candidate and at the final hurdle they succumb to a counter offer. Although studies show that counter offers generally don’t work and are a short-term solution, emotion gets in the way of logic with some candidates.


On boarding process:

Once the candidate has resigned, keep in contact with them throughout their notice and arrange to meet.

If appropriate, start to share information that will help the candidate when they start.

Working through a notice period can sometimes be a tricky and a lonely period for a candidate particularly if they are NOT put ‘in the garden’.

Depending on the length of notice, either yourself or the recruiter should be in regular dialogue. All market niches are incestuous, and word gets out regarding market hires. My advice would be to keep any hire under wraps for as long as possible until you are confident the candidate is on board. When the market finds out a candidate is leaving their current firm, other firms may come in with offers!


HELPFUL TIP: Ring or message the candidate the day before they are due to resign. Maybe say, “Hope all goes well tomorrow and I look forward to you coming on board”. Although a very simple task, this can have a big impact in helping the candidate through the resignation process. 


Candidate starts

Congratulations!! You have hired your preferred candidate, now you need a plan in place to manage, motivate and retain them!






If you have any additional tips, please comment below. I hope you found this helpful and please let me know your thoughts.


All the best,

Gary Pike

Founder & MD

Right International Insurance Headhunters

At Right International, our speciality is finding the

very best insurance industry talent.

Get in touch.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *