By Dan Simmons

On my way to visit a client, I drove by two feed mills owned by two companies in the feed industry.  The two factories looked nearly identical, except for the name and logo affixed to the side of the building.  Often, this is the situation in which top-shelf job candidates find themselves, trying to determine what is inside when they are on the outside.

Top candidates are often in the process of receiving comparable offers from two (or more) companies.  They have to decide which company is the best to work for.  Savvy employers use the interview process to set their company apart from their competitors and show why someone would want to join their team.Stand Out

So how do you, as an employer, set yourself apart from the competition?  How do you convince the best and brightest employees to work for you?  What factors will sway the talent you need to increase your productivity, market share, and bottom line?

Have you…

  • Explained your corporate culture?
  • Provided a career path?
  • Shown ways this person can further develop their skills and/or management potential, or at least increase their income?

To illustrate this scenario, I will use two fictitious feed mills: Reward Manufacturing and Run-of-the-Milling.

These companies work side-by-side in the same town and compete for the same candidates.  One of the companies consistently attracts more quality candidates than the other.  Below you’ll find an overview of these two companies.

Starting with Reward Manufacturing, you can see why they are more successful at attracting top talent.

“The officials at Reward Manufacturing make it a priority to communicate the company’s direction to their employees.  This is done in various ways: verbally during interviews before the employees are even hired, during production meetings with key personnel, and during annual performance reviews, and non-verbally through the company newsletter and on the company’s Web site.  Reward Manufacturing has a mission statement that has defined its core values, which is displayed prominently throughout the company offices.

“Their mission statement and values are more than just plaques hung on the wall and forgotten.  The officials at Reward Manufacturing drive home this culture through their actions and words.  Of course, they’re committed to operating profitably, but profits do not determine every decision.  Reward Manufacturing’s officials are also committed to developing a culture of innovation, ensuring that their relationships with their customers are the best they can be, investing in their employees and developing their talents and skills, and promoting the exchange of ideas.”

Here is a brief description of Run-of-the-Mill’s mode of operation:

“The officials at Run-of-the-Mill are a focused group, a little too focused, as a matter of fact.  They don’t like to take their eye off the ball long enough to let their employees know what’s happening inside the company or what will happen in the future.  Employees are just supposed to do their jobs and not ask many questions.  If Run-of-the-Milling has a mission, it’s not in the company’s employee handbook because the handbook doesn’t exist.

“Run-of-the-Mill’s number-one overriding consideration is to turn the biggest profit possible.  All other considerations, whether they involve the employees are not, are secondary.  Run-of-the-Milling doesn’t make many client visits, either.  Once they secure somebody as a client, they usually don’t give them much of thought—until it’s time to send out invoices.  Investing in employee training is also not something that Run-of-the-Milling does because it detracts from the bottom line.”

After reading these descriptions, which companies do you think candidates would want to work for?  Sure, money and compensation are essential, but there are other things that candidates also put a lot of stock in.

Remember, if you have a great company culture, ensure prospective employees see, understand, and fit into it.  This will surely help you attract top performers.

Visit to view part 2

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at