How To Hire Top Talent

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Table Of Contents

Hiring top talent is worth the investment. According to research, high performers are 400 times more productive than typical performers.

Excellence also inspires excellence. Top performers are likely to encourage their teammates to do better every day. Their attitudes, behaviors, and habits have a tendency to proliferate across an organization. One good hire can add a lot more to your bottom line than several mediocre ones. And of course, the cost of a bad hire is well known–lost productivity, wasted time and effort, and a dismal effect on team morale.

But how can you find these excellent candidates and get them on board? It starts by knowing what you’re looking for…and then looking in the right places.

One of the first places we would recommend looking for top talent is on ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter has a resume search function that allows you sift through eligible candidates. You can get started with ZipRecruiter for free!

get started with ziprecruiter

Define What Top Talent Means To You And Your Company

Every company will have its own definition of top talent. However, there are a few considerations that every employer should keep in mind while determining what they value the most in a potential hire.

Consider the most essential functions, duties, and tasks involved in open roles, but don’t get hung up on finding candidates who will be a perfect fit. Values, culture, and passion can be more important than skill set. Remember that a trainable worker with enthusiasm may be easier to find and better to work with than the “perfect” employee, especially if they’re not coachable.

Top talent workers are:

  • Passionate: They care deeply about their work and the company’s vision and goals.
  • Flexible: They may or may not have every nice-to-have skill or qualification, but they’re willing and able to learn.
  • Complementary to the team dynamic: Focusing on “culture fit” can make it difficult to see hires who would help the organization grow in new directions.
  • Loyal: Hiring new staff is expensive, drains intellectual capital, and takes time and effort away from other initiatives. Look for folks who will stick around.

5 Tips For Hiring Top Talent

To find the best candidates and hire them quickly and efficiently:

Assess Your Needs

Perform a job analysis to determine the essential functions, duties, and requirements of the role–and check your assumptions. It’s easy to overload job descriptions with unnecessary qualifications that will work against you in hiring. Stick to what the person in this role needs to do, then ask yourself what the minimum requirements are to perform those duties or achieve those goals.

Remember Soft Skills

Job-specific skills can be taught. Soft skills like communication, critical thinking, or emotional intelligence are harder to develop and just as essential. Look for people who already have these important qualities.

Focus On Diversity

When you’re writing job postings and mission statements, beware of language that may alienate some applicants. Aggressive or gendered language can be a turn-off to many and reduce your talent pool.

Build Your Employer Brand

Most industries are small worlds. Make sure you’re getting the right kind of word-of-mouth by treating your employees and candidates with respect. Monitor your Glassdoor reviews and recognize them as valuable feedback. Even if you disagree with an employee’s assessment, it’s useful to learn how your organization appears to others.

Use Referral Programs the Right Way

A well-designed referral program can help find new top performers by using your current talent pool’s network. But it can also lead to a lack of diversity if you lean too heavily on one recruitment method or fail to evaluate all potential hires according to the same criteria.

Where To Find Top Talent

Today’s hiring platforms offer employers a chance to connect with the best candidates, see their work samples, and see recommendations from their colleagues. Consider adding these options to your search:


Want to find hires who are already excited about working for your company? Post your job ad on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional social network, and find folks who are already following your brand. You can also see candidate recommendations, endorsements, and skills assessments. Post a job for free to reach candidates in your network or pay to promote multiple jobs to targeted applicants.

For more information, check out our LinkedIn review.


Indeed provides the ability to screen, interview, and make offers to candidates from one dashboard. Some features are free to use, although sponsored jobs are more likely to result in hires.

For more information, check out our Indeed review.


Need to customize your search for the most qualified candidates? ZipRecruiter offers three levels of service, from a free plan that distributes your posting to over 100 job sites to an enterprise plan that lands you top talent at scale. Use ZipRecruiter’s powerful AI to reach 10 million candidates a week and seamlessly integrate with your ATS software.

For more information, check out our ZipRecruiter review.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Do You Define Top Talent?

Top talent will look different for every role and in every organization. Start by defining the most important attributes and skills for the position. Look for a mixture of job-specific skills, soft skills like emotional intelligence, passion for the work, and ability to learn.

How Do You Recruit Top Talent? 

Start with a job description that’s focused on the most essential functions and qualifications for the position. Then, choose recruiting platforms that will reach the right people. Be sure your employer brand is attractive to potential hires.

How Do You Prioritize Open Jobs To Fill?

Focus on the jobs that make the most impact on the organization. For example, a software company might prioritize engineers, while a restaurant chain might direct their efforts into finding servers.

How Can I Recruit Employees For Free? 

Some job sites will let employers post jobs for free on a trial basis. You can also boost word-of-mouth referrals by developing and maintaining an excellent employer brand.

The Bottom Line

To find the best candidates, you need to understand which skills, qualifications, and values make a prospective hire the right fit for your organization. Then, you need to know where to find those folks and how to persuade them that your company is the right employer for them.

Ready to hire top talent? Consider posting your job opening on ZipRecruiter.