This one thing is more important to job seekers than salary

New hires care about salary, but they care about leadership more (and that's something you can control).

As competition for talented professionals continues to heat up, adding a few more zero's to the job offer may seem like the only way to seal the deal.

Sure, money talks, but it certainly isn't everything. Despite a generous compensation and benefits package, job seekers value much more than just their bank accounts.

So what's the one thing that will make them sign the dotted line over your competitors? Leadership.

Much like athletes want to play for great coaches, so too does today's workforce. If the head of an organization has a reputation for innovation, transparency, empathy and inclusiveness, then it will be an easy sell when recruiting those professional rock stars.

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Just look at Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and Sheryl Sandberg. These leaders have essentially built their own brand, giving instant recognition that top talent seeks to be apart of.

Heading up a billion-dollar company may help you get noticed in the headlines, but it doesn't mean that organizations on a smaller scale can't put leadership at the forefront of their recruitment strategy. So instead of flashing dollar signs and work perks as a way to entice new talent, start talking about the type of culture, values, and employee development initiatives you're spearheading.

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After all, spending 40 hours a week is a lot of time for someone to commit to, which is why every leader needs to ensure they have the following values in place to attract top professionals:

1. Transparency

From critical feedback to company goals, transparency has to be an integral component of any leadership strategy. Employees need to connect with the work they do and place meaning behind it. Ensure they're included in the company's future goals and targets, and are made aware of any losses or setbacks.

2. Career development

Gone are the days when an employee has the same job, duties, and title until the day they retire. People want to work for a company that provides opportunities that allow them to grow.

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A leader that not only understands this, but actively promotes it, will definitely start making job seekers pay attention. From providing free training and education to leadership development, setting them up for the future will always see a return on investment.

3. Freedom

Micro-managing in today's workforce will only lead to one thing: resignations. Holding someone accountable and breathing down their neck are two entirely different things.

When you're constantly checking in on them, you're disrupting their creativity and communicating that you don't trust their abilities. That's why telling potential candidates that you have a hands-off approach will work in your favor.

Trust that they'll get the job done unless they prove otherwise.

4. Face time

Being a leader is a demanding job. One second you're on a plane, and the next you're ushered into hours of meetings.

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Despite your hectic schedule, you have to make mandatory face-time with your employees. From group meetings to one-on-one's, schedule these in your calendar on a quarterly basis.

Employees need to know that their voice matters. Plus giving them undivided attention will provide you valuable insight into the company culture and operations.

5. Reputation

People want to feel proud of who they work for. Do some online auditing and find out just what people are saying about your company and your management team.

If it's less than favorable, enact an immediate strategy to start turning things around. Don't be afraid to bring this up when pitching potential candidates; showing you're aware of an issue and plan to tackle it head-on with their help will show initiative and inclusiveness.

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