How to Recruit and Retain the Best Employees

How to Recruit and Retain the Best Employees
  • Opening Intro -

    Human Resources professionals have their work cut out for them when recruiting and retaining the best employees.


Excellent candidates are out there, but in a sea of employee prospects, finding the right people and retaining them for the long haul may be the two most significant challenges for HR departments everywhere. Although recruitment and retention are separate issues, both require the utmost management skills of HR professionals.


1. Corporate culture. The best job candidates are attracted to companies that are progressive, industry thought leaders and trend setters. Your corporate culture should be welcoming and provide a framework for your top talent to shine.

2. Preliminary screening. A sea of job candidates must be sifted through to find the right employee. Consider placing weight on those candidates that come recommended and meet certain benchmarks to weed out those that are not a good fit. You will have a more manageable interview pool by completing preliminary screening first.

3. Phone interview. HR professionals place much weight on the phone interview and for good reason: the way that prospective job candidates conduct themselves over the phone can be a good indicator on how they will perform on the job. Keep your interviews to no longer than 30 minutes. Use the first five minutes to discuss the company and the job, the next 20 minutes for asking questions and the last five minutes to answer the job candidate’s questions.

4. In-person interviews. Employees that shine in a phone interview should be invited to your place of business for an in-person interview. At this point, you will have three or four candidates that will get interviewed. Out of this pool, your hiring manager can choose the top two and make an offer to the best candidate while reserving a backup offer for the runner-up. The candidate should be assessed for competency as well as for cultural fit before a conditional job offer is extended.

5. Background checks. Employees that pass the interview process and are considered ideal candidates must successfully complete a background check. A thorough background check can be undertaken when an employee accepts a position and that check must be a condition of employment. Consider the background check to be an exercise in due diligence with your job offer conditionally based on the completion of a successful background check.


1. Workplace flexibility. Your top talent may work well with a set schedule, while other employees may prefer much flexibility. The key here is to consider what your best employees want and work to deliver that to them.

2. Management accessibility. An open door policy can help upper management stay in touch with its team. Your best employees prize accessibility and will look for managers that are approachable, not distant. Be prepared to welcome feedback from your team.

3. Employee initiative. Giving your workers the opportunity to make some decisions is important. But giving your best employees decision-making authority can go far in securing job satisfaction. Consider ways that you can loosen the strings to allow your team leaders to make certain key decisions.

4. Worker valuation. Every employee approaches their work differently. Most prize a good salary. Some want excellent benefits. Others want peer and management recognition. Your salary structure should be competitive. Your best employees should be valued for the important contributions they make to your team.

5. Career enhancement. It is not possible for companies to keep every top employee. You can keep some by offering career advancement opportunities such as appointing a key employee to head a new operation. However, some of your shining stars will always look for the next best gig and choose to move on. Accept their decision with grace.

HR Considerations

No company can possibly meet all 10 of the outlined parameters unless its HR team is ready to carry out the corporate vision. With upper management’s guidance, your business can find the best candidates and keep them happily employed for the long term.

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Categories: Small Business

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".