Human Resources

5 Creative Ways to Find Great Employees

By Meredith Wood

Finding great employees can be difficult, particularly as unemployment rates hit their lowest point since 1969. The competition for top talent is high, and employers need to step up their game if they want to woo great candidates to work at their companies. Some companies take trendy routes, focusing on company culture by offering free snacks and dog-friendly offices. Others try to entice prospects through work-from-home opportunities and other remote working incentives.

But these perks don’t solve the biggest issue with hiring today: finding great employees and job candidates in the first place. The real race for talent has to begin with sourcing the best prospects you can find.

This means getting a leg up on your competition when it comes to recruiting. Building creative ways to find great employees can be a challenge, but here are five surefire tactics that can help you attract the right kind of employees to strengthen your business.

Scope Out the Competition

A competitive job market means that employees have a little leverage over their employers. In the current job market, around half of all employees are seeking out their next career challenge. Economic conditions make it appealing for many to look for a new job, especially if they’ve waited out the global recession at a low-paying job, or one for which they are overqualified.

A buyer’s market means that companies have to get creative to retain their talent. Those that choose not to retain their talent through raises, bonuses, or other perks may find their employees poached by other companies.

Don’t be afraid to cold contact prospects who have the skills you’re looking for. The odds of having a conversation are in your favor if half of the country’s workforce is actively seeking employment elsewhere. With a good sales pitch and an attractive offer, you might be able to convince your competition’s top talent to join your team.

Look For Industry Influencers

Social media platforms like LinkedIn aren’t only great for messaging potential employees. They also offer you an opportunity to see who is leading conversations about your industry, and who the most active voices are within these conversations. The more someone participates in online discussions, the more prominent they become on social media. Algorithms tend to reward active users, which means that you might be able to snag an influential employee that helps set your business apart.

Even if industry thought leaders aren’t ready to make the plunge into a new career opportunity, they’re likely to be great amplifiers for your job postings. Better yet, they may also be willing to refer candidates over to you from their broader social network. It can’t hurt to enlist others to help you do the recruiting legwork for you, especially as it provides these influencers with an additional amount of clout within their industry.

Lean on Employee Referrals

Your employees are your best resource—not just because of the value they bring to your business, but also because they can offer you great leads on job candidates.

Employee referrals tend to provide more qualified candidates because they’re personally vetted by current staff members who put their reputation on the line by referring them. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 30 percent of all hires come from employee referrals, which means that you should reach out to your staff for recommendations if you haven’t done so already.

To kickstart your employee referral efforts, offer incentives to your staff for any employee they bring on board. This could take the form of a bonus or financial reward, although non-monetary perks such as additional days off or other fringe benefits may do the trick if money isn’t an option.

Reach Out to Your Alumni Network

Don’t overlook the value of your college alumni network for finding great talent. If your school’s network is particularly strong, you might be able to use it as a steady pipeline for job candidates. This tactic is particularly useful if you’re hiring for entry-level or early-career positions. Most new college graduates are looking for any open door they can find, and tapping into an alumni network helps you get seen in ways that other platforms can’t provide.

College alumni networks are only the start. Tap into your former employee networks (often called alumni networks as well) to solicit referrals. Even though your ex-employees no longer work for your business, they’re likely to recommend the company to friends and colleagues if they left on amicable terms.

If you don’t have an existing employee alumni network, consider building one for the future. This can pay off in the long-term as you look to hire more staff in the years to come.

Tailor Your Job Posts to Each Network

Every hiring platform attracts a different clientele. LinkedIn users differ in demographics and career interests than those on AngelList. Tailoring your job posts to resonate with each career site’s core audience can help you attract a wider pool of candidates.

Consider tapping into networks you hadn’t thought before. Looking for millennial talent? Instagram Stories or Snapchat can be a great way to appeal to a younger generation. Post your open jobs on your social media platforms and encourage your customers to share any good candidates they may have.


The most beneficial thing you can do when trying to find great employees is to be adventurous. Don’t shy away from trying new tactics, leaning on unconventional resources, and experimenting with your methods. You’ll find that there might be new approaches that yield better results than the tried-and-true techniques you’ve used in the past.

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