The tides are shifting in the world of HR. Quiet quitting and the Great Resignation created an acute talent shortage — one that hasn’t been meaningfully reversed even by the tide of recent layoffs at major tech companies.
With candidates becoming choosier and many understaffed businesses jostling for their attention, it’s an overcrowded market, to say the least. Things like flexibility, benefits that support mental health, and strong diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging commitments are increasingly being seen as non-negotiables by job seekers, and businesses that want to hire and retain top talent must be able to communicate these values to candidates.
Not only that, but businesses today also have to get creative to persuade quality candidates that they want to work for them. That means reaching candidates in ways, and on platforms, that help them stand out. But how? Enter: less-expected and creative recruitment strategies, with 17 ideas to spark your imagination.
1. Advertise your opportunities on billboards.
It may sound old school in this digital-first age, but billboards are a great way to get your message out to a large number of people. Famously, Google once put up an unbranded billboard with a puzzle on it. The answer to the riddle took solvers through a series of stages, finally leading them to Google Labs’ hiring page.
2. Organize an open house.
Open up your offices to prospects and organize workplace tours. See if you can work in some shadowing opportunities where potential candidates can follow employees around to understand the roles they might want to apply for.
3. Put it in your email signature.
Emails are the cornerstone of work comms, and you’re likely interacting with a wide range of vendors, colleagues, clients, and more on a daily basis. That means your signature gets seen hundreds of times a week. Leverage that.
4. See social as more than LinkedIn.
Obvious, we know. But according to research by Aberdeen Group, 73% of 18-to-34-year-olds found their last job through a social network. Go beyond LinkedIn and consider placing ads on channels like Reddit, Spotify (like Goldman Sachs did), and even Instagram.
And when it comes to building your employer brand, 90% of users on Instagram engage with brands, and 16% of internet users use Twitter for brand research. Everyone from National Public Radio (NPR) has an Instagram account run by its interns, and HubSpot showcases its behind-the-scenes world on Pinterest.
5. Advertise at your local cinema.
Grab the intermission at the cinema. Google did exactly that when the movie Inception came out more than 10 years ago. Their rationale? The people who like Inception have the potential to fit into Google’s culture.
6. Run an Instagram contest.
That’s what Netflix did when they were looking to hire set photographers for their most popular shows in 2016. Candidates were asked to upload three of their best pictures using a specific hashtag, and those entries were further shortlisted.
7. Try Snaplications.
In 2017, McDonald’s created a themed filter and invited jobseekers to try on the uniform (virtually) and send in a 10-second video application for a customer service role. Last year, Snapchat had over 293 million daily users — this method is worth a try.
8. Swap your open house for an open mic.
LinkedIn did just that. In 2017, they organized an open mic night where employees and potential candidates performed and networked. This turned into a great showcase of their company culture, and 96% of candidates said they would recommend the event to a friend.
9. Partner up with real estate agents.
Real estate agents have extensive networks of people living in and around a specific locality. Many people moving into a new city might be looking for jobs — making this a great talent pool for recruitment.
10. Reach out to HBCUs and other organizations serving underrepresented groups.
Diverse companies are successful companies. Reach out to historically Black colleges and women’s colleges, and use job boards that specifically focus on serving underrepresented groups, like PowerToFly’s job board. Beware of tokenizing marginalized groups, though; here are some tips to avoid that. And of course, understand that diversity recruitment shouldn’t just be a creative sourcing “option” but instead be foundational to your recruitment strategy as a whole.
11. Apply for “Best Places to Work” contests.
Apply for contests like Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces, or get certified on Great Place to Work or Best Places to Work For. These contests get plenty of media coverage, and also make your company attractive to potential candidates.
12. Use virtual reality.
At SXSW 2016, GAP organized virtual reality (VR) tours of its offices in San Francisco and New York as part of its recruiting and job fair strategy. This gave candidates a sense of what it would be like to work for the company.
13. Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit.
r/IAmA is a Reddit community with over 22 million users. Employees of well-known companies frequently open themselves up to questions from users. Take control of this process and have some of your most engaged employees do AMAs to drum up interest from Redditor prospects.
14. Gamify your recruiting process.
In 2012, Marriott Hotels created a game that simulated the experience of running a hotel, where players earned points for happy customers but lost points for poor service. Upon winning a certain number of points, players were invited to apply for a job.
15. Tap unexpected groups as influencers.
When Danish company Uncle Grey was looking for front-end developers in 2012, they partnered with the best players of the game Team Fortress 2 and got them to change their profile names to the URL of the hiring page. It was a huge success.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to actively seek talent.
Gone are the days of simply posting a job to your company’s hiring page and expecting the quality applications to roll in. What matters today is being active, creative, and intentional in how you go after top, diverse talent. Remember that the techniques you use must be suitable for your company’s specific goals, budget, and culture, and bear in mind your target audience’s behavior, priorities, and interests, as well.Still looking for a leg up in creative recruitment strategies? Hire an outside consultant. PowerToFly offers tech-forward sourcing and recruitment solutions to companies looking to innovate on the way they find diverse talent.