Outside the Box

Stuck in a Recruiting Rut? Try These Outside-the-Box Tactics to Win Candidates

When it comes to recruiting, most employers do the same things to attract talent. But sometimes it pays to think “outside the box” and try other tactics to get candidates’ attention. The ideas below are fairly inexpensive to implement, but can offer big rewards if you do them right.

SOCIAL MEDIA OUTREACH

Stephanie Troiano, an executive recruiter with The Hire Talent firm, told me this. “I don’t know how unusual this actually is, but we utilize Facebook and FB messaging. I’ve actually found people on Instagram before! It’s crazy, but when you find that one candidate that has the right profile and you’ve been working a stale job for a couple weeks already without much progress, you’ll do near anything to reach them. Texting is usually a pretty useful means of connecting with someone, though that seems less unusual than it is just an obvious means to successfully reach someone.”

OFFER UNIQUE PERKS

Think about new perks you can offer that are unique and engaging. I’m not talking about the typical free lunch and foosball tables. Gene Caballero, co-founder of Your Green Pal in Nashville, says their unique perk is a music room. Headquartered in the music city, most of their employees are either musicians or play music for fun. “Playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices.  The brain is a muscle, so learning and playing music is like a full-body workout that strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities… like thinking creatively,” adds Caballero.  

HOLD AN OPEN HOUSE

Using your office for a career event is an excellent way to quickly staff up your team. Send out invites to your applicant pool and have them stop by on an open house day where your recruiters and hiring managers can see how people interact in a group. This is how I got hired at Gartner back in the late 90’s. I remember walking in and being greeted by recruiters who pointed me to different stations broken down by departments, which allowed me to learn more and hand over my resume. I got an interview on the spot and was hired within a week.

GETTING PERSONAL

Reaching out with a personalized gift demonstrates that you’re willing to go out of your way to get a candidate’s attention. An article  I came across in BusinessWeek cited the case of Red 5 Studios, a video game firm which created a shortlist of 100 ideal candidates and used their social media profiles to research and get to know them. They then sent each person a personalized iPod equipped with a welcome note from the CEO. According to the article, it worked! The startup said 90 recipients responded to the pitch, of which they hired 3 people.

LEVERAGING THE LOCAL PRESS

Getting the press to talk about your hiring initiatives is an excellent way to spread the word, sometimes for free. If you are holding a job fair or open house, contact your local television/radio stations and invite them to cover the event. Or consider issuing a press release to the major PR sites. It may get picked up automatically by news sites and bloggers who will amplify its message.

 

Out of the Box

I hope you find these tactics useful. If you start thinking differently and look for ways to standout in the competitive talent wars, you can certainly rise above the other employers and win more candidates. Have you used an unconventional recruiting tactic that brought you success? Tell us in the comments!

About the Author Chris Russell

Considered the 'mad scientist of online recruiting' by his peers, Chris is an entrepreneur and former corporate recruiter based in Connecticut. When not writing you might find him bass fishing from his kayak on the lakes & rivers of New England.

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