Starting Up

Creative recruiting strategies to hire great people

In this job market, you’ll have to do things differently if you want to avoid sifting through a huge stack of poor-fit resumes or if you want to reach your dream candidates who already have a job elsewhere.

That’s why many companies are embracing creative recruiting.

From adding interactive group interviews to the recruiting process to actively looking for talent in unusual places, below is a list of ways companies are innovating the hiring process.

These methods can make your business stand out from the crowd and put you in touch with your ideal hires.

Use self-selection to find out who’s really interested

To help you better separate the wheat from the chaff, you should try adding another layer between resume-submission and the one-on-one interview. One option is inviting all eligible applicants to an open group event, such as an Open House.

From your list of interested candidates you may have 200 but chances are only 50 or 100 will show up for the event. That’s self selection. That lowers the screening process.

The Open House strategy also enables you to see how people interact in groups.

Arrange for group interaction

Interacting with potential candidates in a group setting is an excellent way to see their character, level of interest, working knowledge, and communication skills. It also lets you see if they’re a good fit with your corporate culture.

Interactive interviews can be conducted in different ways, but the fundamental feature is inviting select candidates in for a group session, where you and current employees can engage with them.

You could plan for “speed-dating”-style interviews with each of them, or you could take a more creative approach, and set up various activities that will give you a better idea of each individual’s knowledge and passion for the industry, as well as their personality.

Handpick dream candidates and show them you want them

Passive candidates (those who are already employed and not actively job hunting) are most likely to be your dream hires, but you’ll never attract them without letting them know how much you want them.

Reaching out in a really personal manner demonstrates that you’re willing to go out of your way to get their attention.

Look for talent in unlikely places

Too many companies focus on industry experience when they recruit. Remember, you can teach people about finance but can’t teach passion, urgency and a willingness to go the extra mile.

Attend events that are NOT job fairs

Job fairs often turn out to be somewhat useless, since the best candidates probably already have a job. So you should try looking great talent at other events that aren’t traditionally recruiting-related.

Search forums such as Meetup for group events that are likely to be attended by people qualified for your open position.

For example, if you needed a graphic designer in Nairobi, you could attend a graphic design-focused meetup at Ihub and look for potential candidates. You’ll already know they’re passionate about what they do, and you’ll be able to get a feel for what they’re like in person.

Make yourself stand out with non-traditional media

A written job description on a jobsearch site won’t necessarily make you stand out. A video or podcast, however, will do just that.

Using non-traditional recruiting media is also a chance for you to convey something about your corporate culture to jobseekers.

Whether it’s through a fun video on YouTube showing how awesome it is to be an employee at your business, or a recorded podcast describing the position and your company (“jobcasting”), this strategy will differentiate you from all the other recruiters out there and hopefully make you more appealing to the cream of the crop hires.

Actively search profiles and social networking sites

Rather than sifting through the hundreds of bad-fit resumes you might get in response to your job post, take the search into your own hands. That way, you’ll only see candidates who have the criteria that you want for the position.

Several websites allow candidates to create profiles that include their resumes and other details that can give recruiters a better understanding of their knowledge and talents.

You’ll not only be able to screen for the perfect resume, but you’ll also have a chance to learn a little more about that person pre-interview.

Advertise in places frequented by your ideal candidate

You should definitely focus your recruitment process in ways and places that fit with your dream hire.

Online communities, as opposed to all-inclusive job boards, are another good place to target your recruitment process at a specific demographic. For example, if you’re looking for a developer, try searching for the terms “developer forum”; you’ll find multiple places just for developers where you can publicize that you’re hiring.

Consider past candidates

Former rejections could make great hires now.

In the past, you may have passed over a good candidate for some reason or another — perhaps their salary requirements were too high, or they weren’t an ideal for that other position.

Whatever the reason, if you think they would be good for this opportunity, it can’t hurt to get in touch with them now and see if they’re interested.

Publicize referral incentives

Referrals are excellent sources for great hires. You just have to let people know that you’re looking, and maybe offer an incentive to send someone your way.

A financial reward for the referrer is standard if you end up hiring their referral; if the referrer is an employee, non-monetary perks can work, too

(i.e. a premiere parking spot for the year, extra vacation days, etc.).

To publicize outside the company, a great way to spread the word is to include a note in your e-mail signature indicating that you’re hiring and what you’re looking for.

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