Sweeten the Deal: Get the Best Applicants with Better Benefits


You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Although it’s distasteful to refer to people as best applicants flies, the saying still carries a kernel of truth. You attract more people with good things, like a pleasant attitude, than you do with sour things.

The same principle applies when you’re trying to attract the best candidates for a job opening in your company. In today’s oversaturated job market, there is a surplus of both employers and potential employees. Unless you headhunt the employees you want, which is time-consuming and may not guarantee success, you’ll need to sweeten the deal for any job applicant that sits down with you. You can eliminate bad employees with an integrity test, but employees who know their worth are harder to come by.

So what benefits are applicants eager to receive from their potential employer?

The Harvard Business Review surveyed 2,000 workers to find out which benefits you should offer to sweeten an employment contract.

Good Health Benefits

According to 88 percent of respondents, the benefit they value the most was better health, dental, and vision insurance. Last year, Americans on average spent over $10,000 in healthcare. This means that the United States in total spent approximately $3.5 trillion just to stay healthy or alive.

It’s no wonder that job applicants are eager to work for companies who are willing to cover more of their medical expenses.

Think of healthcare benefits as a form of investment. Loyal and hardworking employees are difficult to come by. If an employee gets sick, they can’t do their job properly, which costs you as well. If they get worse, you might have to find a replacement, which will consume even more time and resources. The best way to retain good employees and attract great applicants is to show them you care by giving them quality healthcare.

Flexible Work Options 

The survey respondents revealed that more flexible work hours are tied with healthcare as the benefit they would want the most. Furthermore, 80 percent of the respondents said that they would also like to have work-from-home options. The employees of the 21st century apparently no longer subscribe to the daily grind from 9 AM to 5 PM. Dolly Parton would be heartbroken.

However, flexible work hours can actually work out for you. Some people operate better in the afternoon than in the morning and forcing them to come to work early can result in lower quality output.

Meanwhile, work-from-home options are becoming more and more viable with advancements in information technology. Thanks to instant messaging, teleconferencing, and cloud-sharing, working from the comfort of one’s computer is smoother than ever. This is likely to lower your overhead because with work-from-home options, you don’t need huge office spaces or consume as many resources.

More Vacation Time

best applicants

Finally, 80 percent of the respondents said that they would like more vacation time from their employers. Today, you can afford to let employees have more fun because of how easy it is to get in touch with them even if they’re on vacation. Because of the same digital channels that let workers perform their jobs at home, you can reach out to them in the event of an emergency.

Do you need a file that only they have access to? They can send it by e-mail. Emergency meeting with a client? Use any number of video messaging apps. Through the wonders of cyberspace, a vacationing employee is only a touch of button away.

Do these benefits seem like too much sacrifice on your end? Then prepare to settle for the second-best applicants and the last picks of the draft. Today’s employees know their worth, and if you want to hire only the best of them, it’s about time that you acknowledge the same.


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