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How To Recruit Employees: Creative Employee Recruitment Strategies

  • HCM
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 06/13/2023

a recruiting manager interviewing a candidate

Table of Contents

A new or growing business may need to devise creative recruitment strategies to reach the most qualified individuals. In today's labor market, many small and medium-sized businesses face additional hiring challenges thanks to recent inflation and economic fluctuations, which have created uncertainty for both employers and job seekers.

As an employer, you should consider offering competitive pay and benefits packages if you don't do so already, but it's also important to incorporate some creative strategies into your recruiting practices. Using out-of-the-box recruiting methods can help you find and connect with high-quality candidates quickly and put your company ahead of the competition in sourcing potential employees.

What Is a Recruitment Strategy?

How will your company find the people needed to help you succeed? Online postings, job fairs, employee referrals, and industry events are some commonly used recruitment sources. But when you're working on a recruitment budget and allocating resources, you may want to find a way to get in touch with job applicants in the most efficient manner.

A successful employee recruiting strategy can help you target the appropriate candidates and encourage them to apply for the position you need to fill. How you do this may depend on where your intended audience looks for jobs — such as specific websites or industry publications. Additionally, once you've attracted a candidate's attention, you'll need to communicate information about the job in a helpful manner to encourage them to learn more about a possible career with your company.

HR recruitment is often the first point of contact an external person may have with your company, which makes your recruitment strategies essential for successful hiring that translates to long-term employee satisfaction.

How Do You Create a Recruitment Strategy?

A recruiting strategy should be in place before you post a job or attend a career networking event. With a solid plan, you'll be able to outline efficient activities that will help you find candidates who are a good fit for the job you're looking to fill. An understanding of your company's culture can help you to further identify and communicate what can make an individual successful as you guide them through the recruiting process.

Start by Defining and Aligning With the Business Strategy

Is your HR department talking to your executive team, business unit heads, and managers? It's important to understand the company's strategic direction and what kinds of talent can best support that. For example, if a technology company plans to expand its software development activities, hiring developers and software engineers is going to become a critical priority. If the company's immediate-term growth plans include expanding into Latin America, hiring management talent with international and regional experience may need to be one of your employee recruitment strategies. Outline what strategic directions are most important to your company over the next one to five years, and what HR support will be needed to help make that vision a reality.

Review Metrics and Goals

A strategy for recruiting should also incorporate overall hiring metrics and goals, including cost per hire, number of applications received, and long-term retention rate by recruitment channel. You may also want to measure the recruitment timeframe. How long does it take you to find an employee from job posting to onboarding? Are you happy with this timing? If not, can you take steps to make the process more efficient? By setting goals to measure the relative success of employee recruitment strategies, you'll be in a better position to review the results of your efforts and determine which methods ultimately attracted the most qualified candidates.

Invest in Tools

If your recruitment goals include improved accuracy or cost savings, investing in an applicant tracking system might be one strategy to consider. Automating the recruitment process can increase the efficiency of responding to interested candidates and help you reach out to your top applicants quickly in a competitive job market.

13 Ways To Improve Recruiting Efforts

As you build your recruitment plan, you may need to expand on your current activities and find new and creative ways to reach job candidates. Here are some suggestions to augment your current recruitment efforts, as well as find ways to leverage existing strategies to help your business grow:

Expand Your Sourcing Strategies

Where did your employees originally hear about your business? Chances are, they aren't knocking on your door, asking for a job interview. Take a look at your existing leads and consider possibly branching out to new sources that you haven't used in the past.

  • Use existing data to determine where your most successful employees came from and look for commonalities. For example, certain professional associations or academic programs might be critical partners and sources of leads.
  • Follow the adage, "Go fishing where the fish are." Determine where your ideal candidates spend time. Can generalized sourcing pools like job boards or LinkedIn yield the specific candidates that you need? Hone in on specialized professional groups, academic programs, job boards, or other hot spots where marketers, developers, executive assistants, or whatever type of employee you're trying to hire congregate.
  • Explore whether new technologies and platforms can improve your sourcing. For example, can social recruiting or mobile-first recruiting add dimension to your strategy?

Ramp Up Your Social Media Activity

Social media platforms and mobile devices have become pervasive for recruiters to advertise positions and source applicants. Candidates are increasingly looking for jobs online and are demanding the ability to browse job postings and apply for positions from their mobile devices. Job seekers may frequent social media platforms even before they are officially on the job market, so this is a great opportunity to catch quality candidates' attention early.

To maximize your efficiency with this strategy, do your homework on which social platforms are best for reaching your target audience. Survey your employees and other connections in the industry to identify which sites are most often used by job seekers in your market. Familiarize yourself with these platforms, then use them to spread the word that you're looking to hire. At the same time, use your company website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages to feature your business in the best light and encourage your current employees to do the same.

Write Compelling Job Descriptions

With so much of the job search process online, you'll need a written job description that stands out. When it comes to strategic talent acquisition, you need to communicate with potential applicants clearly and show them what your company can offer. Some must-haves include:

  • Informative job titles that will attract candidates with matching skill sets.
  • A clear list of core responsibilities to further define job requirements.
  • Company information that highlights the most unique or most prestigious characteristics of your organization.
  • A description of requested skills or background knowledge that will encourage a range of qualified candidates to apply.
  • An overall tone that reflects the level of formality in the work environment and matches your company's culture.
  • Depending on where you're located and any local or state requirements around pay transparency, a pay range. You may want to consider including this even if no applicable law requires you to do so.

Spread the Word at Trade Shows and Industry Events

Conferences and trade shows can be more than just a promotional venue for your company. You can also trade ideas with other business owners on the creative recruitment techniques they favor, or even connect with potential candidates. You'll already have plenty of business cards and promotional materials on hand and a room full of people who are already interested in your industry. Use this to your advantage and connect with as many people as possible — you may be rubbing elbows with someone who could lead you to your next star employee.

Offer an Onsite Job Fair/Open House

You can control when, where, and what steps to take to make a good hire and get it done quickly when you host an onsite job fair or open house. Be sure to place an attractive notice of the open house date and time at your business entrance — choose a morning (9 a.m. to noon) or afternoon (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.). Be prepared with job descriptions, applications, and interviewing questions, and you can screen at the job fair for either direct hires or setup for follow-up interviews.

Work With Your State Employment Office or Employment Commission

Check with your local employment office/employment commission about their services. This office is focused on partnering with local businesses to employ those who may currently be receiving unemployment benefits but are searching for employment. This can be a great online resource as well — most offices have online job boards and allow employers to post positions. Plus, some offices provide onsite space to conduct interviews.

Contact College Placement Offices

Contact the placement offices at your local community colleges and universities to submit job postings. Considering there are a lot of people returning to college, you have the possibility of finding candidates with a wide range of work experience and education.

Consider Creative Ways To Recruit Employees Using Online Job Posting and Searches

Online job posting can be done on your business website, state employment office (or employment commission) website, and other industry networking websites. In the job description, be sure to list specific qualifications and required education/experience — this can help cut down on unqualified applicant submissions.

To leverage online websites to recruit employees, the hiring supervisor and/or human resources staff can perform investigative searches to check online for qualified and skilled candidates. An expanded search may reveal new sources such as industry-specific or non-industry-specific websites, simple job boards, or even more in-depth sites that require account setups for use. Once you have found a few good sites for your industry, make sure you bookmark them for future use.

For jobs requiring increased visibility, consider sponsored job postings. These paid listings can reach a greater number of matching candidates over a longer period of time.

Initiate Employee Referral and Boomerang Hire Programs

Many companies have established employee referral programs that reward employees with a cash bonus (or some other reward) for tapping into their personal and online networks for promising candidates. Existing employees often understand the company and the industry, and know what it takes to succeed in specific roles, so this is a valuable resource that shouldn't be overlooked. If you haven't yet initiated a referral program, consider implementation on a trial basis for targeted positions before branching out to the entire workforce.

Boomerang hires are another potential source of successful recruiting for larger companies. These individuals were employed by the company at one time and left. Enticing select employees back may in some cases yield a double benefit of someone who understands your business, while also bringing a fresh perspective from their most recent position.

Revamp Your Careers Page

Many businesses devote little attention to their careers page and often rely on stock images and generic content to greet visitors to the site. Instead, consider revamping a "Join Us" page with a focus on added excitement and enthusiasm. Consider incorporating lively photographs of the workplace and surrounding area. Include a compelling vision of employee career growth opportunities, a view of the collaborative workplace environment, and other examples of business culture that job seekers could be looking for in their search.

Think Outside the Box When Interviewing Candidates

You can infuse a fresh perspective into your recruiting by inviting some of your best employees to join in interviewing candidates. This approach offers unique perspectives and feedback on whether the interviewee is a good fit for your business. Your veteran employees are often more familiar with the specifics of the available position(s) and can help to identify potential issues before you've committed to an under qualified candidate. Plus, if one of these candidates is hired, there's already an established connection with others on the team.

Invite Some Industry Connections To Lunch

Formal job interviews can achieve certain objectives, such as determining how well a candidate reacts to the pressure of being questioned by one or more team members. But what about a candidate's less formal side? Taking individuals to lunch offers the opportunity to interact in a more informal setting, possibly even before a candidate has officially expressed interest in a position. This strategy also gives you the opportunity for further discussions with potential connections about why they should consider applying for open positions within your company. You can also take advantage of the opportunity to communicate your ideal hiring needs to others who may be able to send potential candidates to you directly.

Nurture and Invest in Candidates

While the term "candidate experience" was a key buzzword over the past few years, the idea of fostering meaningful relationships with potential talent is sound. At a high level, having a clearly defined pipeline of needs allows your team to open a dialogue with potential candidates even if you're not hiring immediately. When a position does open up, interested candidates may be engaged and put into the process within days. At the same time, it's critical that individuals who do apply for jobs have positive encounters. Investing in this area may include:

  • Using an applicant tracking system to make it easier to apply for jobs, see the status, and manage communications. Applicant tracking systems streamline the process for applicants and hiring managers alike; candidates can easily submit all their materials online, and hiring managers and HR personnel can access all the information they need from a single interface.
  • Prioritizing candidate communication with automated messaging and a focus on shortening the cycle of communications after applications, interviews, and other milestones.
  • Assessing and refining the most impactful parts of your hiring process by soliciting feedback from candidates and recent hires to better understand their experience.

These are only a few of the many affordable recruitment strategies at your disposal. Using the right mix can help you find your next quality employee.

Leverage Paychex's Hiring Services To Improve Your Recruitment Efforts

These days, creative recruitment can be as much about promoting your brand as it is about evaluating candidates for your open positions. The best employees — those with the most talent, loyalty, and leadership potential — can be very selective about where they choose to end up. By using out-of-the-box recruiting strategies, you can put yourself in front of the best candidates and give your company a competitive hiring edge.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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