How to Recruit Like the World’s Best Companies

The world’s best companies are mission-driven, and they make more money than their competitors. Mission-driven companies have 30% more innovation and 40% higher levels of employee retention

These companies know that to achieve their mission, they need the kind of staff that will get them there; the kind of people who are highly engaged. But in 2015, this was only true for 32% of employees.

What determines high engagement levels, is corporate culture. It’s safe to assume that not many companies are paying too much attention to culture, but the ones that are, boast higher revenue.

What Does Employee Engagement Mean & Why Does It Matter?

When employees are highly engaged with the companies they work for, it means they are emotionally invested in the company’s vision and mission, and enthusiastically take ownership of their work to produce high levels of productivity. As you can imagine, the spinoff of that results in higher profits.

When staff are disengaged, they are only interested in their paycheck. These people hang around in the coffee area, watch the clock for home time, work only as much as they need to, come in late, doodle during meetings without making any valuable contributions…you know the type.

Undoubtedly, that kind of disinterest hurts the company. In fact, Hubworks reports that the cost of low employee engagement accounts for a $450 to $550 billion loss each year.

Considering that, it’s understandable why the world’s best companies boast the highest engagement levels.

Corporate Culture Determines Engagement Levels

Now, every company has its own culture. As you can see from the previous statistics, this is mostly by default; when culture “happens” to a company, rather than coming about by strategic design.

To implement a desired corporate culture, the following questions need to be answered:

  • What is our company’s mission?
  • How do we break down the overall mission into annual business goals?
  • How do we break business goals down into departmental goals?
  • What kind of staff do we need to achieve our goals?

The kind of workers you’ll need to achieve your goals will determine what business culture will attract them.

Let’s talk about Apple for a moment: Apple is considered one of the best companies to work for. It boasts a 70% employee engagement rate, even though most staff work under a tremendous amount of pressure. Apple offers its staff many perks, one of them full education reimbursement.

About this, Gallup Business Journal says:

“Apple had created an attraction strategy that differentiated the company from its competitors — and that appealed directly to the type of employee it wanted to hire. Apple’s brilliantly defined employment brand not only speaks to people with a strong desire to learn and grow, but also says a lot about the company’s culture and what it values.” 

The first step to recruit like the world’s best companies is developing a strategy to attract and retain the kind of people you need to achieve your company’s goals.

How to Emulate the Recruitment Process of The World’s Best Companies

Like attracts like. To attract the kind of workers you want, you’re going to have to create a workplace that draws the people you are after.

Interestingly, motivation levels don’t increase according to salary, so slapping a 10% increase on everyone’s pay won’t cut it. Instead, you first need to create a culture that is attractive to the people you want to attract. When that’s in place, follow a similar recruitment process of the world’s best companies, which fits your own culture and values.

Once the company has implemented their desired culture, the recruitment process begins with ad design and copy, moving on to interviewing and tests, and ending with effective induction programs.

Ad design and copy

Step number one to attract the right people is the ad. Ideally, the ad design and copywriting should be done by the marketing department, not recruitment, because the ad is branded marketing material, and needs to include:

  1. An attractive design that appeals to the people you are looking for (which is why you need to understand precisely what drives your ideal candidate).
  2. A title that stands out from the rest of the boring ads, and which appeals to your target audience.
  3. A first line that appeals to the candidate’s top internal motivator.
  4. An emphasis on what the candidate will do, learn and aim towards.
  5. Where possible, avoid specifying skills and education, especially when attitude is an important factor. Focus on attracting the right people instead of weeding out the bad apples.


LinkedIn listed a “Top Attractors” list in 2016. The top five best companies to work for include, in this order:

  1. Google
  2. Salesforce
  3. Facebook
  4. Apple
  5. Amazon

Let’s look at how they handle interviews:

But for Apple, all of the top 5 companies kickoff the interviewing process virtually, and then go on to rigorous face to face interviews. For instance, Google candidates who pass the virtual interview proceed to the next phase where Google conducts on-site interviews with four employees (not managers, but future peers) for up to 45 minutes each.

Facebook conducts 4 – 5 interviews before making an offer.

Emulating the methods of these top companies – affordable even for smaller companies – would require software like ClickMeeting which could be used not only for conducting interviews one-on-one, or with up to 25 people, but you could also use webinars to train new employees, especially if you work with remote teams.

What’s most important in the interview phase, is the information you need to find out, based on what’s important to your company.

Psychological tests are the norm for the world’s best companies because they understand that although you can teach a skill, you can’t instill the right attitude or motivation. For example, if the candidate is to be groomed for leadership, the company needs to know if the person has leadership abilities and what their leadership style is so that it fits the culture of the company.

The entire recruitment process is detailed and heavily invested in because it’s designed to attract the best and retain employees for as long as possible.

With that in mind, and following the examples of the world’s best companies, you’d aim to:

  • Allow candidates to showcase their skills, thinking style, leadership ability and whether they fit the company culture or not.
  • Ask questions around behavioral, hypothetical and case-based scenarios.
  • Provide role-specific initiatives where necessary, like role-playing a mock sales call. To determine teamwork ability, Apple places candidates into small groups for collaboration exercises.
  • Identify abilities with personality assessments and tests. Salesforce presents odd questions like “What’s your kryptonite?” so that they can see how fast candidates think on their feet.
  • Ascertain specific ability with challenges and practical exercises or tasks.
  • In interviews, find out different perspectives from the presence of a few staff members or managers.

As this article is about recruitment, it won’t go into onboarding, but the induction phase of recruitment is vital, as it sets the tone for how candidates view your company, which impacts their future commitment and engagement levels.

The world’s best companies pay a lot of attention to making the onboarding experience streamlined, professional and fun.

Being the Best at Recruiting

The motivation for modeling your company’s recruitment process after the world’s best companies is higher revenue and decreased cost.

With the end goal in mind and the realization that the top companies have the highest employee engagement rates, you’d begin identifying the ideal culture for your company, and the one that will attract and retain quality employees who will work to achieve the company’s goals.

The recruiting process starts with the ad design and copy and then moves on to interviewing.

The best companies have recruitment processes that are strategic and consist of clever ways of identifying information about candidates that can’t easily be manipulated.

Instituting recruitment processes like the world’s best companies is time consuming, but the results are well worth it, as the statistics well prove.

Photo Credit: joybenetton Flickr via Compfight cc