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The Best Creative Recruiting Strategies for Finding Raw Talent

Finding extraordinary ways to recruit requires creativity, here are what experts are doing...

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
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Human Resource professionals are constantly looking for innovative recruiting strategies to find raw talent. Social restrictions due to the Coronavirus, make it even more imperative. We asked the experts: 

What out-of-the-box or innovative strategies have you used to recruit great talent?

Here is what they had to say...

Rex Freiberger Gadget Review
Rex Freiberger, CEO, Gadget Review
The most innovative method I've used for recruiting is to spend time looking for people who are already reviewing products on their own. Sometimes this is through personal blogs, sometimes they publish on Medium or another open submission platform. People who are prolific at this, who write good, fair-minded reviews almost always turn out to be excellent employees who will continue with quality output. And this way I get the chance to give opportunities to people who may not have otherwise gotten them.
James Hornick Hirewell
James Hornick, Partner, Hirewell
One thing that has worked really well at Hirewell: the Hirewell Weekly Jobs Update. Every Wednesday at 9:15 CT, we do a live broadcast via LinkedIn Live where we talk about a handful of the most pressing jobs in each recruiting practice. It doesn't take much time to put together and has been a great way to stay top-of-mind with job seekers, not to mention making some immediate placements for our clients. It's also a lot of fun to do; the team has fun with it and enjoys the creative outlet.
Michael Alexis Teambuilding
Michael Alexis, CEO of TeamBuilding
We used cold email outreach to find sales reps. Cold email is usually a marketing effort, for example to pitch a product or request links to a website. Instead, we contacted people with sales profiles on LinkedIn and asked for insights on whether they knew anyone great we could hire. Respondents often suggested themselves, and we found some great candidates in this way. This process is specifically very helpful for finding team members that may already have a job and not otherwise be looking for a new role.
Lewis Keegan Skillscouter
Lewis Keegan, Founder & Writer at Skillscouter
One out of the box strategy I have used to recruit great talents is by visiting various freelancer sites and finding someone there and asking them to be a part of my team. Believe it or not, these freelancer sites are actually looming with experts in their own fields such as content writing, social media management/marketing, graphic and web designing, virtual assistance services, and much more!
All you have to do is to keep an open eye out and watch out for great talents who are simply waiting for someone to notice or hire them.
Sue Andrews KIS Finance
Sue Andrews, Business & HR Consultant KIS Finance
Passive applicants are where the best talent lies so reach out via social media to your potential talent pool with a challenge designed to intrigue them to want to find out more about your company. Set a cryptic question or riddle and challenge potential applicants to solve the puzzle. Then invite those who are successful to come in and see around the organisation and find out more about the opportunities that you may have for them.
This is a great way to get your company on their radar, without the need for expensive advertising.
Rowan Price RPSG
Rowan Price, Chief Creative and Owner RPSG
I'm not technically an HR professional, but as a product and marketing consultant, I often help my tech firms hire. I use my skills as a digital marketer to do this in two ways: The first is by using the prospecting tool, Apollo.io, an SF based company that provides a super fine-grained venture startup search tool. This tool lets me find engineers (and designers) with a very particular skillset. Secondly, I use SEO link building tools to find authors of relevant blog posts and/or podcast hosts. Let's say my client needs an Azure developer with experience on AWS, because he's migrating an app from one to the other. I find someone who has written about these subjects using customized linkbuilding software products built for SEO. Namely, Pitchbox (the older option) and Respona (the newer one).

In addition to these experiences, we've also come across some fairly creative recruiting strategies that we thought we'd share with everyone a few of the more interesting talent acquisition tactics that we've come across in recent years. Some of these are a bit bizarre, but will hopefully get your creative juices flowing when thinking about how to get in front of the right talent for your organization.

Dating Apps

That's right, recruiters are using dating apps to connect with potential hires. We've heard of recruiters, mostly in SF, using location based apps in areas where there are very high density of hard to find talent (data scientists, engineers, etc). A recruiter will "match" with someone on an app, and then try to move the conversation away from dating and towards more professional pursuits.

This can be accomplished through dating apps that use GPS data to see who you've come in close contact with, or ones where you can narrow in the geographic scope very precisely to target say Google's campus.

Companies like Amazon are also just straight up serving ads on dating sites as they know their audience is there.

The Bus Stop

We've heard multiple stories of recruiters hanging out at the morning bus pickups for companies like Facebook, Google, etc. It's no big secret that many of these companies have private shuttles that will pickup employees from a city and drive them to suburban campuses. In fact, these routes have even been attacked by locals who are not very appreciative of the sky high real estate prices brought about by highly paid tech workers.

What's been less reported is that recruiters are literally hanging out at these bus stops, and sometimes even getting on these buses in hopes of convincing employees to switch companies. While it doesn't seem to be the most fruitful tactic, you have to give people credit for trying!

Absurdly High Referral Fees

Most companies have some sort of referral spiff they give to any employee who refers a friend who gets hired. But, some companies have taken this to the limit and given out referral bonuses that are upwards of $20,000! This of course is around what a third party recruiter may make for a senior hire, but is still extremely high compared to most company's Amazon gift card.

Drift is a company that pays out a much smaller amount, and in a much smarter way. They will pay for an employee to take a really amazing trip when they refer a new hire. This means their employee gets an experience vs just money, which many people value more. Beyond that, when they talk about their amazing trip with friends, it will ultimately come up that they got this through referring an employee to their amazing company, which of course does wonders to spread their employer brand!

That's it for our list of the best creative recruiting strategies out there. Of course, at the end of the day, a lot of this comes down to having great recruiting software, staying organized, and evangelizing a truly strong employer brand.

Do you have one we missed? Leave it below in the comments.

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
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Phil is the founder of SelectSoftware Reviews, a website dedicated to helping HR and Recruiting teams find and buy the right software through in-depth, expert advice. He has bought over $1 million worth of HR and Recruiting tools. Additionally, as of 2023, nearly 3 million HR professionals have relied on his advice to determine which business software they should buy.

Phil studied finance at New York University and started his career working in venture capital before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School. His in-depth understanding of the Saas landscape, especially HR Tech, stems from nearly a decade of researching and working with these tools as a computer programmer, user, and entrepreneur.

Featured in: Entrepreneur Harvard Business School Yahoo HR.com Recruiting Daily Hacking HR Podcast HR ShopTalk Podcast Employer Branding for Talent Acquisition (Udemy Course)

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