Don't expect the most talented job seekers to scale back their demands of potential employers, even in these turbulent economic times.
One might think that even the crème of the employment crop might lower expectations. After all, the jobless rate in the United States is at a five-year high of 6.1 percent and layoffs are mounting. In recent weeks, PepsiCo, Whirlpool Corp., Xerox Corp, Chrysler LLC and Goldman Sachs all announced layoffs.
But top prospects are confident they can get what they want from companies even during bad economic times.
"They are in the driver's seat even during a recession," says Gloria Castillo, President of Chicago United, an organization devoted to getting talented minorities into corporate executive positions. "Eventually, we will come out of this economic spiral and the war for talent will still be with us and bigger than ever."
To attract the best and the brightest, offer what they value most in a job. Here are four things that hotshot employees want most from companies, according to recruitment experts.
Potential For Advancement
Star employees want to create and follow a blueprint for building a career. They need increasing levels of responsibilities and titles, and experience in more than one division or unit.
Career advancement is especially important to minorities because they sometimes face cultural and racial barriers, says Cristina Lopez, President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, an Arlington, Va.-based organization that trains and develops Latina leaders.
"That's why I believe that a higher percentage of people of color value career advancement and training opportunities," says Ms. Lopez.
The best employees eschew empty job titles. "They know that won't build a career. They want the title to match the job function," says Keith Wyche, an author and speaker on workplace advancement and President of U.S. Operations for Pitney-Bowes Management Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Pitney-Bowes Inc.
Ms. Castillo said outstanding candidates ask themselves these questions to discern whether a company aggressively grooms leaders:
• "Does the company have a talent mindset?"
• "Does it develop the best employees into leaders?"
• "Does it understand how to use mentoring and role modeling to develop leaders?"
• "What's the format for handling feedback on career growth and how will I get it?"
Superior minority candidates look for employers with a track record of hiring, retaining and promoting people of color. They want a company that tracks turnover rates among minority managers and executives, and sets goals for improvement, says Mr. Wyche.
Adds Ms. Castillo: "They want companies that are culturally competent -- embracing contributions across cultures. They don't want companies that hire for diversity but reward for conformity."
Highly-recruited employees prize companies that allow time for family responsibilities.
"Many have personal issues, whether it's young children or aging parents," says Ms. Castillo. "They aren't willing to go along with the corporate model of, '"you need to be there anytime we need you.' "
Millenials, the 30-and-under generation that grew up with the Web, demand work-life balance as a lifestyle. "To them, it's all about life experiences and quality of life," says Mr. Wyche.
Compensation is not a top requirement of superlative job candidates. "They take it as a given that they will be paid in a manner that is acceptable," says Ms. Castillo.
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