Career Guide

How to Attract Top Talent With Limited Salaries

Managers who have received the green light to actually hire an employee these days are likely facing an uncomfortable reality — they are restricted to offering a limited salary with very little “wiggle room.” The good news is that there is a great deal of talent out there looking for positions. Here’s what you can offer to attract outstanding candidates despite budget constraints:

Stability: The employees you’re interviewing have experienced the stress of an uncertain work environment. If you’re hiring, chances are that your business is more stable than the one the employee has left. Emphasize the security you’re able to offer.

Work-life balance: If you can’t offer a prospective employee a significant salary, offer the currency of time. Can you provide a generous vacation policy? Allow workers to leave early for kids’ activities? Let them work remotely one day a week? Explore what would be most meaningful with your prospective candidates and see what you can do.

Meaningful work: Surveys show that employees value the opportunity to make a difference. Can you give employees time off for volunteering? Does your team contribute to a worthy cause?

Professional development: Support employees’ growth by bringing in speakers and providing a budget for attending seminars. Emphasize that you value skill enhancement and provide opportunities for employees to pursue professional interests.

Integrity: Headlines are rampant with politicians and business leaders who have behaved unethically. Emphasize your culture of transparency to job candidates. Talk about how they will fit in to the company vision and invite their ideas regarding business growth. (By the way, make sure you’re not displaying a lavish lifestyle while espousing economic responsibility — remember the automobile CEOs’ ill-fated trip to Washington, D.C!)

By Jenny Schade, president, JRS Consulting. JRS Consulting helps organizations dramatically increase attraction among customers and employees. Jenny Schade has interviewed more than 1,000 employees while guiding organizations through turbulent change. Get more tips from the free JRS newsletter.

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Jenny Schade


  • This article is on key with attracting me to apply for just about any organization that uses the above-mentioned objectives for hiring. I’d suggest that another be added that includes hiring, fresh, new talent as well.

    Many professionals would be surprised at how many of today’s graduating students have competitive real world experience and a solid foundation in public relations (and journalism)education.

    Coupled with knowledge and experience on using new technology/social media, as noted by professionals in the 2008 print version of PRSA Tactics, Generation Y (80’s – early 90’s) (disclaimer: my generation) is a force to be reckoned with as compared to other previous generations and their experience/knowledge in PR.

  • mtaylor2 has a good point about new talent being attracted to the offerings described in my blog post above. These benefits are of interest to employees at all levels.

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