How to Recruit: Creative Ways to Find New Employees (Updated for 2018)

How To Recruit: Creative Ways to Find New Employees

Just as the real estate landscape shifts back and forth between a buyer’s or seller’s market, so does the world of employment.

One day the job market can be in the employer’s favor and the next, it can be in the jobseeker’s.

As such, there will be times when finding the right person to fill a position at your company feels like looking for a needle in a haystack. But just as job candidates put in a great deal of work to make a solid impression during an interview, employers need to make a significant effort as well.

You’ll need to utilize the best methods to find the most talented workers.

Below are five unique strategies to find your next great hire.

Social Media

If your budget is an issue, social media is a great way to get your job posting out there at little to no cost.

In addition to sharing the posting on all of your company’s social media accounts, consider the spaces where your prime candidates are hanging out. Are there niche Facebook groups for your industry? Is there a college that has a great program in your field?

You want to make sure the types of candidates you want will see your posting, so you can’t assume they know how to find you or that you’re even hiring. Find professional organizations for your industry and share your posting with them. Encourage your current employees to share it, too.

Don’t forget to share the posting on your personal pages, as well, in case one of your colleagues knows someone who might be interested.

While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are good places to start, don’t forget other platforms such as Snapchat, where you might be able to connect with a different demographic.

Don’t simply post a URL and leave it at that; include a line or two of engaging, descriptive copy. Use a photo showing employees having a great time at the latest company event or celebrating a birthday. Talk about your office culture, the type of candidate you’re looking for, or list some of the non-monetary benefits that could attract attention.

Studies show perks such as flexible hours or working remotely are valued just as much as financial compensation, if not moreso.


Often promoted as a great way to recruit those hard-to-pin millennials, social media recruiting has become commonplace for many companies.

Even some of the more old school companies are latching on to the idea.

Social Media Recruiting Example

When the class of 2016, freshly graduated, checked on their Snapchat stories, they found something new: a job opportunity. 

Hinging on the storied success of Snapchat, JP Morgan launched a recruitment campaign in May of 2016 honoring recent graduates.

By zeroing in on Snapchat’s “Stories” feature, JPMorgan was able to catch graduates at a specific time (and geolocation) when they are thinking of their future. Using the then nine-second window, JPMorgan both praised and lured recent graduates to apply for a job.

Job Fairs

While it can be time consuming, attending a job fair can help you wean out candidates because you’ll get to meet them before an interview. Remember, just as much as you are sizing up potential employees, they are sizing you up, too.

As unemployment continues to drop below 5%, the search for talented labor will get harder while jobseekers can afford to take their time and be a little picky.

You need to sell your company as a great place to work. Be creative with your display so it stands out and people want to stop by. Set up posters listing the great job benefits you have to offer. Play a slideshow highlighting your workplace culture. Don’t forget to list all of your job openings.

Once you entice people to come to your booth, it’s important to speak with as many of them as possible. The interview process is a two-way street, as they are trying to determine if your company is a good fit for them, too. Don’t just refer them to your website to apply online. Take the time to get to know them and answer questions about your company.

Give them your business card in case they want to follow up. Make sure your business card has a great design so it stands out from all of the other cards jobseekers are collecting. Work with an expert to design a card that expresses your personality and the culture of your company.


Career Fair Example

College job fairs are a great way to attract the freshest talent. Looking for a genius civil engineer with the latest technical prowess? You better have a booth at the MIT Career Fair.

Think about the position for which you are hiring. Now, imagine where your dream candidate would attend undergrad. Sign up for a booth at that career fair, send a seasoned senior employee with a younger enthusiastic employee and watch the recruits magnetize to you!

Every accredited college and university will host a career fair. While many occur in the fall, there are always opportunities to appeal to undergraduates looking to cement their future.

Have an Event

Have the jobseekers come to you by hosting a recruiting event.

Like a job fair, you’ll still be interviewing each other, but this eliminates the competition of the other companies. This is also another way to create brand awareness.

Use social media, job boards and your current employees to advertise your event. Be sure to post the types of jobs you are looking to fill to reduce the number of extraneous, irrelevant candidates. Allow attendees to register in advance to give you an idea of how many people plan to attend.

Ask current employees to attend the event to give tours of your company or get to know attendees. Give them comment cards they can fill out later with any thoughts or information on the candidates. This also gives jobseekers a chance to ask questions they might not be comfortable asking an executive or human resources representative.

Meet and mingle with as many candidates as you can. Create a follow-up plan for when the event is over. Send a thank you email to all attendees, even if you don’t plan to hire them. You want to make sure the entire experience is positive for jobseekers, especially if another opportunity comes up later that could work for them. Decide whom you want to speak with more and schedule an interview.


NBA Hackathon Example

Having a recruiting event is like hosting a party where your company is the center of attention. Make it count.

Some of the most difficult jobs to interview and hire for are engineering jobs. Usually requiring specific technical knowledge, it is hard to ask ten or so questions to gauge the expanse of an employee’s know-how.

Huge brands like the NBA and PayPal host hackathon events to lure in prospective talent. By gamifying and offering (sometimes huge) cash incentives, major brands can pull in talent and see how they work.

Looking for only the freshest talent? Much like their professional athlete recruitment, the NBA limits their Hackathon to recently graduated or undergrad talent.

Employee Referrals

You’ve already hired some great people, so why not use them to find more like them?

Using your employees to find new ones will save money and give you a better sense of your workplace culture. If a steady stream of your employees’ friends’ resumes are coming in, your employees must like working there. On the other hand, if the resumes are trickling in, you should ask yourself: why don’t your employees want to subject their friends to your company?

Be sure to have the entire process outlined prior to asking employees for referrals. Decide what kind of incentive you’ll provide to employees if their friends are hired. Will it be a monetary bonus, an extra day off or something else?

Regardless, it will be a savings to you, as it likely will be much less than you would have paid a recruiter. How do you prefer employees to submit referrals, by email or by submitting through your website?

Remember, your process and how the referrals are treated will make an impression on your employees. Be sure to respond to every referral (even if it isn’t going to work out) so no one is left in the lurch.

Employees will be less likely to refer people if they find out their referrals aren’t contacted. As an extra bonus, research shows it also will help retain existing employees.


Any successful company has an employee referral program implemented.

Google is one company that learned (the hard way) that cash incentive was not the only way to implement successful referral hiring. In his book, Work Rules, Google executive Lazslo Bock explained that Google employees were happy to refer people not because of a cash incentive, but because they liked working at Google.

When many of these referrals seemed to fall into a black hole, employees become discouraged. Google then implemented a program in which the “referees” receive a weekly update on the status of their referral. The payout, it seems, is just a $4,000 perk.


People want to work where they will be happy and make a difference. Establishing an employee volunteer or community service program will build your brand and help add to your workforce.

Instead of writing a company check, partner with an area nonprofit organization and offer employees paid time off to volunteer with that group. This encourages your staff to participate in community service and builds goodwill throughout the community. People will feel more connected to your brand, which will come in handy when you have positions that need to be filled.

You could also schedule a community cleanup day or a school supply giveaway. Advertise your job postings at the event; you can meet potential candidates and answer questions. If you can’t have an event, consider joining the board of a local nonprofit organization. You can use this network to find qualified candidates for your business, too.


Volunteer Example

Most large companies have volunteer grants. Companies like TimeWarner, Dell and AllState will match up to 30 hours of volunteer work from their employees.

Coca Cola participates in a variety of sustainability and volunteer projects, mostly centered around cleanup and recycling. Coca Cola hosts a worldwide beach cleanup initiative. In 2016, Coca Cola had 24,000 volunteers clean 1,300 miles of coastline in 27 countries around the world.

This kind of impactful volunteering brings in employees, family and friends.

Creative Benefits

Last week the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the labor market is the strongest its been since 2001. The market has swung squarely back in job seekers’ favor. This means that job seekers can afford to thoroughly vet every opportunity and wait for the right opportunities with the right benefits.

Employers should take inventory of the benefits they offer. Are they as competitive as they could be? Are they as creative as they could be?


Creative Benefits Example

One example of a creative benefit is the vacation bonus offered by a company like Olark. Each of their employees is given a $1,000 bonus to take a vacation where they fully unplug from work. Netflix and Amazon offer generous parental leave for its employees, for new mothers, new fathers, or new adoptees.

In the last two years there has also been a rise in the number of businesses offering instant pay benefits. Companies like Walmart, DialAmerica, and The Maids are offering employees the ability to access earned wages whenever they need money. These types of benefits can help with unexpected expenses, or bills that are due between pay cycles, and provide financial peace of mind that can help recruit and retain top talent.

If you haven’t recently audited your employee benefits package, now is a great time to ensure you’re staying competitive. Employees are going to take the time to research what you offer – make sure you offer something attractive, and consider making it known what you offer (like adding something to your about page or jobs page.)

Final Thoughts

Expanding your workforce can be hard, especially when the talent pool is shallow. Getting creative in your search can help you showcase your company’s nonconventional methods and grow your staff with unique employees.

Do you have other strategies? Share them in the comments below.


Caileen Kehayas

Caileen is the Director of Marketing at Proven. When she is not blogging or tweeting, she likes to hit the nearest trail for a run, take her camera on a trip or curl up with a good book.

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