Home Thinking Aloud Today’s Job Seekers Aren’t Just Looking For Salary. Here’s What They Really...

Today’s Job Seekers Aren’t Just Looking For Salary. Here’s What They Really Want.


hiring handshake

by Rhonda Petit, Founder and CEO of 3×5 Coaching and author of “The Spirit of Selling: Using Universal Laws for Sales Success

What’s most important when someone is deciding whether to accept a new job? How much has to do with salary, and how much has to do with workplace culture, finding an outlet for their talents and enjoying a flexible schedule?

Gallup asked employees what they want in their next job and discovered that pay, benefits, greater work-life balance and better personal wellbeing top the list.

For small business owners working on growing their team within their existing budget, it’s important to realize higher salaries are not the only way to lure talent. Based on my 35 years of experience working with clients, including at Fortune 500 companies, here are five other ways to stand out to job seekers.

1. Make a solid first impression by being fully present.

Candidates are looking for that magnetism during a job interview. One way to start off right is by being fully present with the candidate. Are you distracted by something else, like checking emails? Are you totally focused on that person? Are you going above and beyond what used to be acceptable in terms of making someone feel comfortable?

Your first impression is what will be remembered. If your head is somewhere else, candidates may be left with negative takeaways, like that they’re walking into a disorganized atmosphere where their time is not respected.

2. Be open-minded about how a candidate may fit into your organization.

We attract who we are. Companies are the cumulation of the people and the culture, or group habit, of the organization.

Make sure you’re looking for the good in the candidate. Sometimes it can feel as though hiring managers are working to screen out people. What are you choosing to focus on? What are the qualities that make that person really attractive?

Don’t get pigeon-holed into thinking like: “Sarah’s coming in for a sales director’s position, and I’m looking for a certain list of attributes.” If it’s not this job, is there another job in your organization where she would excel? This is especially advantageous in this tight job market.

If we’re always looking for the good in others, we and our organizations will be better served. If we’re not seeing or getting good candidates, what does that tell us about how our energy and attitude have to shift to attract high-quality candidates?

3. Allow flexibility in what the workday looks like.

Gallup found that work-life balance and wellbeing have “increased in importance notably since 2015, with 53% of employees citing them as ‘very important’ compared with 61% of today’s workforce.”

Part of that has to do with the time off available to employees – flex time in addition to vacation and holiday time. Does your company have a modern and relevant policy for how paid time off is handled?

It’s also about reframing the definition of work. Are you simply looking at the hours worked, or are you most interested in results? A results-focused approach can be more attractive to prospective employees. Earnings should always be a result of the service rendered.

For example, someone with kids at home may need an hour off in the afternoons to shuttle the kids from school to home or an after-school activity. As a manager, do you trust that the job will be done? If you give respect and trust – and you expect it – you get it back. Think about what you expect from your hires and the role that your actions and mindset play.

4. Demonstrate the value of the entire compensation package.

Highlight all the sources of investment in your employees. Beyond salary, are there other incentives, performance bonuses, promotion opportunities and annual pay increases? What about team meals and activities? Also, what kind of personal and career development do you offer that would appeal to a growth-minded candidate?

Make sure to mention these, without downplaying them. The ability to attend a local workshop or annual conference in order to expand an employee’s skill set can be extremely valuable and a win-win for all sides.

5. Understand that the modern-day conception of work is changing.

People are not designed for work. Instead, work is designed for people to share and express their gifts, strengths and talents. People are not disposable assets; they have unbelievable potential!

People are looking to grow and express their talents in an environment where they will be respected. They want workplaces in which collaboration is prized over competition. Are you fostering a safe environment where people can present ideas and have them be acknowledged and even encouraged?

While the frequency of job-hopping has accelerated, many people – especially young people – actually want to plant themselves in a place where they have room to grow and expand so that they don’t have to change jobs every couple of years. Does your team have consistency, or is it a revolving door of new players who are coming and going?

The old ideas around work were around hard physical labor – sweat and struggle. Today, the mindset reigns supreme. That’s not to say there is no work on the physical plane, but we’re called to be in the spirit of work, engaged with purpose. If faith without works is dead, so is thought without action. Being in the spirit of your work is doing something you love, not something out of duty. When people love their work, it’s fun!


Rhonda Petit

Rhonda Petit is a Sales and Business Peak Performance Coach and the Founder and CEO of 3×5 Coaching. Prior to launching her coaching business, Rhonda worked in sales for 35 years with clients at Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies. Her book, “The Spirit of Selling: Using Universal Laws for Sales Success“, contains actionable insight into the universal laws that govern successful selling.