With more job openings than ever in architecture and design, firms are discovering that they are competing against each other for the same top talent.

Recruiters who partner with design firms have observed, “There are a lot of openings right now, but they’re just aren’t a lot of candidates. When you do make an offer, often you’re competing with another 4-5 offers on the table.”

With competition like this, you’ll need strategies that will put your offers in a position of strength. Here are three tips you need to get the edge:

Adhere to the 10% rule to create a stellar job offer

When you open a position at your firm, you already know what salary you will offer. However, you may need a little more to attract the right candidate because of the competitive market.

Always keep at least ten percent above your offer to allow space for negotiation. This does not mean that you don’t make a great offer. Rather, it means you make a great offer according to need and budget, but you have that 10% to give you room to negotiate as necessary.

Monetize your benefits 

Salary isn’t everything, of course. You’ll also be offering multiple benefits, but incentives can be lost on some applicants. For candidates considering more than one offer, explain your benefits in terms of numbers. Summarize the total monetary package for the candidates who need to hear it.

For example, point out that your medical benefits cost $10k, dental costs another $5k, and vision is $2k. You can also monetize:

  • paid holidays
  • technology
  • training, and
  • bonuses and other incentives.

Sometimes, when you’re getting into the negotiation of what’s important to the candidate, you can move numbers around to leverage the most important benefits to a new hire.

Put relationships over money 

We all understand the importance of money, yet career decisions are not made solely for financial reasons. The candidate’s personal happiness depends less on earning a high salary and more on overall well-being for themselves and their dependents.

If you can tell your firm’s story and the culture of respect and relationships that permeate it, you have a better chance to win the candidate.

Share the story of your corporate culture, whether that means timely feedback, peer introductions, collaborative projects, profits, or something else. So more than talk about how your design firm differs from the others; show it in the interview process through:

  • respect (show interest)
  • personalization (listen to the candidate and ask for more information), and
  • fairness (treat candidates equitably).

Keeping your top talent on your team is the most essential component of hiring today. Creating a stellar job offer is just the beginning. Once you’ve enticed a candidate to join your firm, focus on retention.

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