What’s one creative way to find excellent candidates?

To help you discover creative ways to source candidates, we asked hiring managers, recruiters and business leaders this question for their recommendations. From asking your clients for referrals to holding an open house, there are several creative ways to locate job candidates outside traditional sources.

Here are 12 creative ways these leaders source candidates:

    • Ask Your Clients for Referrals
    • Reach Out to Conference Presenters/Hosts
    • Check Expat Hubs
    • Host a Pink Slip Party
    • Use Social Media to Source Passive Candidates
    • Check Retirement Communities
    • Find Appropriate Facebook Groups
    • Do an Audit of Past Candidates
    • Use Online Billboards
    • Recruit Diverse Talent at Historically Black Colleges
    • Engage College Faculty
    • Hold an Open House

Ask Your Clients for Referrals

One of the best ways to source great candidates is to call your clients (and competitors of your clients) to see who else they use in your space. 

Who is the best person they have dealt with outside of your company in the role that you are seeking? If you approach someone with a compliment that you have heard that they are great at their job, you will find the discussion starts a lot easier!

Ineke McMahon, Director, Path to Promotion

Reach Out to Conference Presenters/Hosts

I always review professional association annual conferences and professional developments for the speaker line-ups. 

Generally, these sessions host colleagues in the field who showcase their expertise and share their best practices. In this reach, you might also receive generous referrals to other potential candidates. Conference presenters tend to be well-resourced.

Diane Fennig, Senior Consultant, The Gallagher Group 

Check Expat Hubs

One of the best ways of picking up above-average talent is to hunt for expat enclaves online. A bit of Googling will likely locate an expat or transplant group for your city/country/etc. and these groups are usually filled with various experts that are often looking for work but having a hard time finding one due to visa restrictions or something similar. 

If you’re willing to put in the extra time to get them online and operational, then these expat groups can be a substantial source for qualified candidates.

Dragos Badea, CEO, Yarooms

Host a Pink Slip Party

If you are looking for one creative way to source candidates that are available and actively looking, then host a party. The Pink Slip party is an open call to viable candidates who have been laid off, let go, or are considering their options from their current location.  

By shaping a business social scene, you and your team can connect with potential team members in a more meaningful way before a traditional interview process occurs. Here’s how you do it: 

    • Create a call to candidates through social media promotion. 
    • Check the resumes submitted and invite the candidates who better align with the role of the party. Notify those who do not.
    • Communicate with individuals on the team that’s hiring to be in attendance.
    • Create an intentional atmosphere where the company’s culture & sense of community can be experienced.
    • Consider food and drinks. It is a social event. 

If you want to source ready and available candidates and get buy-in from them, create a unique experience—throw a party.

Khalilah “KO” Olokunola, Chief People Strategist, khalilaholokunola.com

Use Social Media to Source Passive Candidates

Hiring managers and HR professionals have a hugely demanding role to play, in that they need to be constantly on the lookout for new talent, maintain their current supply and ensure that they keep hiring processes and systems up to date. 

One of the most creative (but still underutilized) ways to source passive candidates is via social media. Potential new hires are typically relaxed when scrolling social media and are more likely to curiously engage with a job posting. 

Of course, the difficulty lies in being able to pinpoint the exact type of candidate suitable for the role, but with more precise targeting and testing of variables, this can quickly become a go-to creative method for hiring the best candidates.

Tracey Beveridge, HR Director, Personnel Checks

Check Retirement Communities

Resourceful recruiters will find unlimited, untapped talent in retirement communities.

 Having retired, many seniors are more bored than they expected to be. This is especially true after being so isolated during the pandemic. With benefits such as four-day workweeks and remote work (great for those who love traveling), going back to work for them is more attractive than ever.

While you may have to invest in training them in newer technologies, you’ll have experienced talent eager to re-enter the workforce. Sourcing candidates creatively means looking beyond job boards and going into retirement- theirs.

Raina Kumra, Founder & CEO, Spicewell

Find Appropriate Facebook Groups

A company I worked with was having a hard time finding dozer operators for their mining sites. A lot of these candidates are not on LinkedIn or other traditional job sites, especially specialized ones. 

There are, however, multiple Facebook groups focused specifically on dozer operators. One of these groups has over 7,000 members, and some of them are pretty active. So, beyond being able to source candidates directly, you might also get help from the group members in terms of referrals.

Atta Tarki, Founder & Author, ECA Partners

Do an Audit of Past Candidates

The number of times I’ve seen hundreds of excellent candidate profiles go to waste simply because they weren’t accepted for the position they applied for is, quite frankly, shocking. 

Many companies do at least a version of this, by asking candidates to sign up to their employment portal so that they are kept in mind for future opportunities, but I would recommend a more hands-on approach where candidates are filed into various buckets for future role opportunities. 

There are various bits of HR software that can do this, but I don’t see them used to their full potential all too often. Finding new candidates is always a challenge, so why do that when you can mine the ones that you already had some contact with?

Kate Kandefer, CEO, SEOwind

Use Online Billboards

One creative way to source candidates that we just recently started using is online billboards. 

We are trying to catch candidates’ attention by posting a generic job announcement on an online billboard. This job announcement will feature our benefits and direct them to the link to view our job postings.

Lindsey Hight, HR Professional, Sporting Smiles

Recruit Diverse Talent at Historically Black Colleges

One creative way to recruit diverse talent is to host career days with on-site interviews at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to encourage students to apply for jobs at your organization. 

Not only does this allow recruiters to target a diverse channel and access underrepresented populations, but it also allows recruiters access to the next generation of talent entering the workforce and opens up an entirely new pool of potential candidates.

Dr. Shirley Knowles, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Progress

Engage College Faculty

Engaging with local university or college deans and professors can provide you with both student and alum candidates. 

These faculty members have built and maintained relationships with students and business leaders in their fields. They know the students’ work ethic and abilities. Once you have established a trusted relationship, they will encourage their students to apply with you. 

As alumni often maintain relationships with their department faculty even after graduation, they may reach out to see if they know anyone hiring. Networking in this way provides an inexpensive way to recruit talent.

Andrew Adamo, VP, Bullion Shark

Hold an Open House

Tech companies are more than businesses; they’re brands (or, at least, they should be). People want to see the behind-the-scenes magic. How are apps developed and tested? Who came up with that genius code? What new and cool perk have you added to the office? 

Reach out to local colleges, coding camps, and competitors and let them know you’re offering a sneak peek into the inner workings of your company. Promote the event on social media so even customers can get in on the fun. Then, at the end of the tour, let everyone know you’re hiring and encourage them to apply, or spread the word to someone who’s looking. 

Rob Reeves, CEO & President, Redfish Technology