In today’s competitive hiring landscape, creative recruitment strategies are the best way to find the top talent.

If you’ve done any recruiting at all over the last few years, you already know that it’s a full-time job on its own. According to SocialTalent’s 2016 Global Recruiting Survey, the average recruiter needs to reach out to 282 candidates just to get four to come in for an interview. If that’s the case — and it probably doesn’t sound far off to a recruiter — you’ll need to employ some creative recruitment strategies if you’re going to find the best of the best.

Think about it like this: Recruiting is a form of sales. And to make sales, companies do more than call candidates from submitted resumes. They vet potential clients and then woo them with happy hours, hand-outs, on-site visits, free trials, and other incentives. Creative recruitment strategies are the tools recruiters have to identify their candidates and make the sale.

creative recruitment strategies

Ineffective recruiting methods

Traditional recruiting still works, but much of the time you’ll put into it is a waste. For example, posting a job to a job board yields dozens or even hundreds of resumes, most of them from unqualified candidates. Time spent sifting through those resumes could be spent instead honing in on the ideal candidate rather than merely weeding out the ones who don’t fit.

Job fairs, campus recruiting, and online postings all lead to lots of administrative hustle that results in very few potential candidates, which is especially problematic if none of those candidates are interested in your offering. This is where creative recruitment strategies become so important.

creative recruitment strategies

Thinking outside the box

With the increasingly competitive hiring landscape, it’s necessary to come up with imaginative ways to attract the talent you want. That’s not to say you won’t still have to reach out to a lot of candidates, but creativity should shrink the number significantly, and more importantly, it should result in better quality candidates.

To get you thinking outside the box, here is a list of ten creative recruitment strategies you might want to try in order to land that dream candidate.

1. Use social media

Since it’s advent, social media has become as much a professional tool as a personal one. In sales especially, people love to post about offerings, successes, and aspirations. The obvious place to start is LinkedIn (a premium account gets you a lot of access to candidates), which requires a lot of targeted sifting, but other sites can help, too. Searching hashtags on Instagram or Twitter might land you some people you wouldn’t expect, and if you look for innovation and drive instead of merely sales experience, you’ll find a whole host of people you might not have otherwise considered.

2. Employee referral bonus

One of the best places to find talent is through the people you’ve already hired. Not only do they know people in the industry, but there’s some accountability — they won’t want to recommend someone who makes them look bad. Offering monetary bonuses, dinners, concert tickets, or other incentives is one of the creative recruitment strategies that’s been growing in popularity for some time, and it saves you a whole lot of sourcing.

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3. Industry events that aren’t job fairs

Look for events you can attend where the attendees will undoubtedly be industry people. Everything from local meetups, such as those found through Meetup.com, to regional and national events, like festivals and conferences, provides an easy way to connect with potential candidates.

4. Host your own events

Not finding the events you want? Hosting your own event is a good creative recruitment strategy that doesn’t look like a recruitment strategy. Invite clients and colleagues to a happy hour, or if you want to be in the spotlight, host an event in your office after-hours, like an art show, a reading, or just a social mixer. Not only will you find eligible candidates, but you’ll get to show off a bit in the meantime.

5. Build your brand

Hosting your own event is also one of many ways to build your brand, which is a powerful recruitment tool. If candidates are impressed with your company, they’ll talk about it to others, who might then seek you out. Things like volunteer days, meet-and-greets, strong company culture, and compassionate company values will get a lot of today’s best salespeople interested in working for you.

6. Hold an open house

When you’ve sourced a group of potential hires, invite them all to an open house interview. Before that idea makes you anxious, know that only a fraction of those invited will show. This weeds out the unmotivated from the start, leaving you with candidates who have the drive and interest you want from them.

7. Reach out to dream candidates personally

You’ll no doubt come upon at least a few dream candidates who are passive, meaning they’re employed and not looking for work. Instead of just connecting on LinkedIn, find out where they work or how to otherwise get in touch with them and send them a CARE package specific to your business. The extra effort will surely get their attention, and passive candidates will quickly become active. (Just ask beforehand. You don’t want to put anyone in an awkward position.)

8. Add media to job descriptions

Use technology to your advantage. Include videos or interactive elements to your job postings. It not only adds a personal touch, but candidates are more likely to watch a sixty-second video than they are to read an entire job description, especially if it’s wordy.

9. Forget industry experience

Hiring managers often look at industry experience first, but that’s not always the best idea. You can find premium talent in other industries that will bring with them knowledge and skills from wherever they’ve already been. You can teach a driven candidate the sales business; you can’t teach them to be driven.

10. Chat people up everywhere

Whether it’s the grocery store, a religious community, a bar, or somewhere else, talk to everyone. Work almost always comes up, and you can develop your lead-in from there. Some of the best candidates have been found in the most unlikely places—but only because hiring managers had the wherewithal to ask.

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