• Jennyfer Montantin

How to recruit number 10s into your business team while the war for talent rages in the recruitment?

Amidst the immense turbulence in the world of employment, recruiting and retaining the best talent over the long term has become a real headache for company HR departments. The labour market is extremely stretched on a global level in all sectors, with roles in the digital field in particular coming under more and more strain. This lack of talent creates an intensely competitive dynamic between companies, so it is now down to HR departments to implement their best tactics to recruit the “number 10s” into their business team.

Why are we talking about number 10s here? This parallel with the sporting world, and with football in particular, is not without meaning. Mbappé, Zidane, Maradona, Pelé, Neymar: these legendary number 10s inspire and lift both their teammates and their fans. On the pitch, they are both leaders and great strategists in challenging situations, meaning the number 10 is instrumental in big changes and big victories. The same can be said for a company, where the best talents are the driving forces of the team and of positive change because of their exceptional qualities.

So now, HR departments need to ask themselves: how can we make a critical transfer on the job market that will change the state of play? How can we attract, recruit and retain these number 10s? How can we detect their potential before they even come onto the job market? How can we discover top candidates, identify their career paths and create an environment that will enhance their growth?

As a coach, the recruiter needs teammates, techniques and strategies!

1 – The manager: coach and leader of the number 10s

The manager: an excellent judge of talent for each specific role

The manager is the recruiter’s closest teammate. Because of their operational role, they know the job and its requirements in terms of expertise and soft skills. Their knowledge allows for the requirements of the company to be perfectly balanced with the profile of the prospective candidate. The recruiter therefore expects the manager to provide precise details of the company’s requirement and the qualities they are looking for in a candidate. Together, they will be able to carry out the following key steps:

Define the ideal candidate against benchmarks relative to the current market: salaries based on seniority, typical career path of the target candidate, average time in a role, average number of candidates per advert, etc.Define the non-negotiable job and HR criteria, as well as the interview questions and scoring.Work on the practical test given to all candidates: conditions of completion, duration, expectations.

The manager: an excellent salesperson who is able to sign up a top candidate despite competition from other recruiters

The crucial stage after having attracted the number 10 to an interview is a recruitment process in which the manager is 100% involved. One of the roles of HR is to empower and coach the manager to turn them into both the company’s ambassador in the project and an astute analyst of the person they have in front on them. This is just as valid when recruiting students through links with schools – when meeting students, managers need to be particularly convincing in order to attract the stars of tomorrow.

Having HR and the manager work in tandem has many benefits: interviews are more structured and balanced, there is less back and forth between the two when it comes to decision-making, and the recruitment process is around 20% faster. HR professionals all agree that the recruitment process shouldn’t exceed five weeks, even though a 2018 study by recruitment agency Robert Half found that 30% of hires in France took between two and five weeks, and 30% took longer. Being able to control the recruitment process from start to finish is therefore a huge advantage when recruiting number 10s into the company.

The manager: a solid coach to encourage number 10s to push themselves and to help them progress within the company

Just like a sports coach, the manager should become a leader of men, a window into the company, an example of its culture, a source of daily motivation, a mentor in employees’ professional performance and instrumental in the development of their skills. To achieve this, HR needs to ensure that management supervision is considerate, motivating, challenging and regular.

One particularly important consideration is to understand what causes number 10s to resign, so as to anticipate a potential threat that could cost the company dearly. “It costs two years’ salary to replace a talent. Retaining them within the company costs a maximum of between 5 and 15% of their salary in invested support,” explains Michel Font, Managing Partner at Nelta, who are specialist consultants in building up the careers of talents.

According to a survey carried out in 2015 by management specialists Gallup, 50% of the 7,200 adults questioned identified the manager as the main reason for leaving a job.

According to other studies, employees left a company when their skills were not utilised enough, when they felt like they were stagnating and they consequently lost interest in their work.

No matter what reason is given, HR departments have an effective method up their sleeve that will help them retain talents: a study by Hays shows that 60% of employees would opt for internal mobility if they were given the opportunity, the main reasons being their strong knowledge of the company (75%), the possibility of acquiring new skills (60%) and being able to maintain the benefits of having been at the company for a long time (47%).

This helps us understand the key role played by managers that stay close, who are obliged to regularly gauge how the number 10s are feeling – identifying their need for a new challenge and for rejuvenation allows managers to keep them on board by suggesting an internal move.

2 – Innovation and proactivity: magnets for number 10s

Increase the channels of contact

The competitive environment is forcing recruiters to go beyond the outdated duo of the CV and cover letter and be far more innovative and resourceful. The key to success lies in increasing the channels of contact with the best talents. There are several figures that reinforce this:

  • According to a study by Forrester Research in 2015, someone is more likely to want to join a company after eight points of contact with the employer brand.

  • According to a LinkedIn survey, 42% of recruiters believe that the hiring of the future should build on the use of websites/communities to recruit more diverse candidates.

  • According to the Sourcing Cadres (Sourcing Executives) study carried out by Apec in 2018, using complementary methods of sourcing produces convincing results.

  • Note: the recruiter’s network (15% of executives are hired in this way) and co-option (64% of recruiters believe that the best candidates are those that result from co-option) are conduits for talent.

Make the most of online opportunities

Digital innovation especially has allowed recruiters to save time, to target candidates more accurately and to give evidence of their proactivity in their approach towards talents. Here again, the figures speak for themselves:

One in three companies uses a robot to screen candidates.

  • 27% of companies with more than 50 employees have software capable of scanning applications, according to Apec.

  • 73% of young people search for work from their smartphone, according to Corner Job.

  • 79% of candidates under 35 use social networks during their search for a job, according to Link Humans.

Recruit unconventional and independent applicants

Innovation has also helped to liberate companies on a contractual level: for a specific requirement, the recruiter can choose to invest in an independent consultant or expert. Opting for this approach gives them the opportunity to find and hire applicants that are unconventional and experts in their field. These applicants also have an entrepreneurial streak that breathes new life into the company and allows the team to join them. Recruiters and managers need to cultivate their employee experience within the company to make them the key players and ambassadors of the employer brand from an external perspective.

But innovation is above all working on inbound marketing: a genius way of making sure the best talent comes to you!

3 – Internal HR marketing: a tool for retaining number 10s

Work on the employer brand

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that takes a different approach to traditional marketing. The aim of inbound marketing is to attract prospective clients with high-quality content in order to convert them into actual clients without having had to search for them. It’s a method that also works in the HR field with “inbound recruiting”, which is part of what we now more commonly call the “employer brand”.

Against the backdrop of a shortage of talent, company HR policies have become brands in their own right on the job market. It’s a process of value proposition both externally, working alongside the best potential candidates, and internally, aiming to retain employees and turn them into ambassadors of the company.

While it’s certainly an important HR and managerial tool, it is above all a powerful element of differentiation. Using inbound marketing and the employer brand, the company will be able to express itself fully: its history, its values, its strategy, its culture, the experience it offers its employees, its state of mind – essentially, its DNA. All of this is of course aimed at attracting the number 10s that are the perfect fit for the company – those who identify with these values and will quickly develop a strong sense of belonging.

Just like a “return to sender” on the pitch, this employer brand will express itself through its employees, who will often be asked to attend student events to talk about their experience and their role within the organisation.

Offer a unique employee experience

Offering an exceptional daily working life is another of the challenges faced by the employer brand, especially at a time when employees can rate their company online like they would a hotel or a restaurant. This ranking proves crucial as according to Region Job, 87% of young talent will check ratings websites before applying for a job.

HR departments therefore need to pay close attention to cultivating the employee experience, especially at key points during someone’s career with the company:

  • Onboarding: the first few weeks are critical. Here it is a case of easing the integration process to ensure the new employees are quickly and wholly engaged.

  • Employee experience: internal events, training sessions, team building, networking, involvement in understanding company strategy with top management… Number 10s need to feel that the company trusts them, that they’re bringing them along for the ride and that they are free to display their potential to the maximum.

  • Inbound marketing or “operation seduction”: communications campaigns based on the company’s values, sponsoring events, a CSR policy… There are numerous factors that contribute to reinforcing the number 10s’ pride in belonging to the company and turning them into spokespeople for its values.

Make the company attractive

The employer brand should be visible anywhere that potential candidates will receive or go to look for careers information. Again, the numbers speak for themselves. According to Link Humans:

  • 83% of hires start with online research about the company.

  • 84% of employees consider leaving their company for another with a better reputation.

  • 72% of recruitment specialists throughout the world acknowledge that the employer brand has a significant impact on their work.

  • A strong employer brand increases the number of highly qualified applicants by 50%.


In summary, relying on the number 10s within the company team is a very complex exercise. It requires HR departments to embrace discipline, organisation, budget allocation, strategies that align with the DNA of the company, and collaboration with top and middle management. By doing this throughout the process, from recruitment to onboarding, day-to-day organisation and professional development, the HR department can guarantee talents a consistent experience and innovative and proactive management of their career. There are so many prerequisites for retaining number 10s over the long term. It’s an exciting challenge in a labour market that is experiencing such turbulence, at the same time as digital tools offering more and more outlets through which to express the employer brand.

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