Leading a team successfully is much easier when you have talented, ambitious employees. However, it can be difficult to attract and engage ambitious candidates during the recruiting process.
That’s likely because ambitious people tend to be confident in their abilities, knowing they have some degree of freedom when choosing employers. At the very least, they’re hungry for something—so they tend to be more active and selective in their job searches. It’s essential that you give them reasons to join your team instead of a competitor’s.
The following tips will help. If you’re trying to find and hire more ambitious people, keep them in mind:
Express Your Values
Research consistently indicates that the most ambitious employees tend to be motivated by factors beyond money. A competitive paycheck and benefits package are necessary, but insufficient—an ambitious person likely won’t take a job with your organization if they feel the compensation isn’t fair, but pay is by no means the only factor ambitious people care about when deciding where to work. To an increasing degree, it’s becoming clear that hard-working people with significant career aspirations are also driven by the sense that their work contributes to something larger and more meaningful. They want to work for an employer whose values align with their own.
That’s why, during the hiring process, you need to be explicit about your organization’s values. An ambitious candidate will be more enthusiastic about the prospect of working for you if they feel they’ll gain a sense of fulfillment that a paycheck alone can’t offer.
That said, it’s also important that you be genuine when stating your values. You won’t retain the right people if you lure them in with false promises. You’re far more likely to attract and retain the most talented, ambitious employees when you communicate your company’s values honestly.
Ambition is clearly a positive trait in candidates for most jobs. However, from the perspective of a team leader, ambition can also present drawbacks during the hiring process.
That’s because people who work hard and want to advance in their careers don’t just wait around for opportunities to arise magically. They’re proactive about finding a good job. If they’ve applied for a position at your company, it’s likely they’ve also applied for other jobs and will weigh your offer against others. If you take a long time to fill a position, the ambitious candidate who you decide is ideal for the role may have taken a job elsewhere by the time you offer them the job.
Avoid this situation by communicating with the candidate throughout the hiring process. Proactively keep in touch and respond to their questions quickly. If you provide a strong candidate with regular updates, they may be willing to wait—at least a little while—for the job offer, instead of quickly moving on to the next opportunity. If it seems many candidates are rejecting your job offers, consider whether your hiring process is too lengthy or complicated. How could you streamline things?
Clarify Advancement Opportunities
This may go without saying for some, but it’s still an important point to cover. Ambitious people naturally want to know they will have the chance to further their careers when they join your organization. They’re less inclined to accept job offers if they suspect a position may be a career dead-end.
Don’t let your ambitious candidates make that assumption. Instead, demonstrate to them that they will have the opportunity to climb the ladder if they join your team.
It’s also important to let them know they’ll have professional development opportunities and resources at your organization. As you may suspect, ambitious workers are usually eager to develop new skills. Make sure you offer these opportunities, and make sure you discuss them during the hiring process.
Don’t Forget Your Online Employer Brand
Because ambitious people are often looking for a new opportunity, they’re usually conducting some online research, scanning LinkedIn, or otherwise keeping their eyes open for good job opportunities. If you take steps to develop and cultivate your employer brand online, your organization will be more likely to stand out.
There are plenty of ways you can build and reinforce your online employer brand. To demonstrate to candidates that taking a position on your team gives them the chance to move up at the organization, share stories on LinkedIn, your website, and other online channels that show your audience how real employees on your team have transformed their careers since taking jobs at your company. Celebrate your people’s successes. In addition, share behind-the-scenes content of team meetings and other gatherings to give candidates a genuine sense of what it’s like to work for you. You may also actively encourage your current team members to leave positive reviews of the company on sites like Glassdoor, though you may wish to take the temperature of your staff before doing so.
Taking these steps can yield major value. Again, your job as a team leader is immensely easier when you have the right employees. These tips will help you attract and retain people who are ambitious, engaged, and motivated to do their best.