With an ever-changing job market and employers finding it more and more difficult to find staff members, it might be time for some creative ways to attract employees. Being able to attract the best talent will depend on many factors. What can you offer, for instance? With the best job satisfaction factors, you’ll find it easier to bring people in. But how to get the word out? And what policies should you put in place to be open to the perfect candidates?
Note: If you are a university, business, or student organization representative and want to partner with us, visit our partnerships page.
Why do you need the creative approach? The problem with stale recruiting strategies
You’re competing with a global workplace now, and while this means that you have access to a larger base of potential employees, this also means that they have far more options in terms of employment. With the rise of jobs like social media “influencers” and other areas related to our ever-progressing communications technologies, self-employment means more competition for your company.
Where is everybody looking for jobs? Job sites like Indeed or Linked-in. They’re logging in, running searches, and finding the same old lists of employment opportunities, requirements, and responsibilities. It washes over them, and they pick one or two. The question becomes how to stand out in this sea of want ads?
Trying something more creative can open you up to new types of employees. Somebody who is more creative and innovative might respond better to a unique recruitment method. That gives you a person who is far more valuable than a typical recruit. You also might generate a good mystique or intrigue for your company. Which business is more interesting, the one with the want ad, or the one that offers unique benefits and perks through employer partnerships, like the BeMo employee benefit program that allows them to grow and develop professionally? Certainly the latter. But what else can you do to make yourself stand out?
Why use the creative approach in attracting employees?
- Stand out from other employers
- Attract unique, creative talent to your team
- Generate interest in your company
- Go above and beyond what you offer employees
The BeMo employee benefits program gives you a leg up on attracting top employees in a competitive job market. Through BeMo's partnership, you can offer your employees benefits they won't find anywhere else, such as access to our top career coaches and admissions experts to your employees and their families. With our help, your employees, their kids and family members can further their education or their careers and get accepted to competitive programs, including medical school, law school and top MBA programs. Through BeMo, you can truly invest in your employees' education and development.
List of creative strategies, why they'll work, and why they're better than the old ones
#1: Set up a contest
Hold a competition with a prize. The competition can be whatever you’re up to. Let’s say you’re a programming company. Set a contest for who can write a moderately-complex program with the most elegant coding. Put the contest out to computer science programs in universities and see who shows up. Odds are good that you’ll find some really creative minds, motivated to think in unique ways, who will therefore demonstrate their power right out of the gate. You could easily offer contests for writers, coders, electricians, or a host of other occupations.
Offering a prize changes the mindset of the potential employees. You could offer them a test as part of the recruitment, but the pressure is different and you’ll get them second-guessing themselves. Instead, by making them contestants, you shift their thinking and give them a motivation to give you something unique.
#2: Host a conversation
A great way to engage in unusual recruitment and find creative thinkers is to start doing the same for yourself. Shift out of the mindset that you have to find an employee and start thinking about making a connection.
What if you started up a monthly round-table discussion and just asked for submissions from people of all backgrounds and experience levels – including people who are hopefuls: they only want to be in the sector you work in.
Don’t go in looking to recruit people, just foster relationships. How is this great? Well, you’ll find a lot of people. Finding an actual employee might it might take a while, but you’ll have seen them in this “think tank” and you’ll know them better than you would in an interview. You’ll get to see their mind work and how they interact with others.
Additionally, you might just start trending. Hosting a “cool” place for fellow professionals to discuss the business might boost your specific business’ profile. Since the endeavor would be ongoing, the relationships you foster can also move forward in the future, as well.
#3: Honesty is the best policy
This might seem obvious, but if you are recruiting through a normal method, how are you writing your job description?
Employers often over-estimate the amount of experience that they are looking for in a future employee. It is not uncommon to see an ask for three-five years of experience for an entry-level position; those are mutually-exclusive statements. Either the position is entry level or requires experience, not both.
Anybody you’re looking to recruit might pass if you type up a job description that isn’t accurate because they’ll move on from something they feel isn’t for them. Worse, you might lose out on the right people for the job simply because they don’t think that this is “for” them, even though it is.
The only solution is to be very accurate with your job descriptions. This might not be what you think of as unique or original, but with so many companies exaggerating requirements, a straight-shooter will stand out and gather a bigger applicant pool.
#4: Who do you know?
Ask employees and friends if they know of anybody in your field who is looking for work. This is not nepotism or only hiring “friends”, but getting recommendations from people you trust. Having somebody who comes vouched-for is a great comfort.
#5: Bonuses and Perks
A great perquisite is attractive to a recruit. Instead of talking salary or a “competitive benefits package” on your job ads, why not go into detail about the best employee reward systems that your company has? Spend some time getting into the details of what makes your company unique and why an employee should want to be working for you.
Consider signing bonuses and advantages to the job outside of other jobs. Is travel involved? A lot of people love to travel, and this is a major selling point.
#6: Public Accessibility and Open-ended Jobs
On your web page and social media, make it very easy to find the “work with us” sections. Make it easy and accessible. You’ll get a lot of inquiries if your website makes it clear how to apply to your company.
Don’t just list open positions, either. This is dependent on the kind of company that you are recruiting for, but consider opening up potential positions to the potential employees’ imaginations. Write something like, “If you have the perfect job idea for our company, pitch us a position! We’d love to hear how you want to work for us!”
That sounds scary, right? Absolutely. Why would you allow people to make up their own jobs? Because you might not know what you’re missing.
Do you remember the story of streaming services vs. the video rental businesses? Of course you do: it’s one of the great failures of an industry to adapt to a changing environment. Who could have predicted the idea of a streaming service before they existed?
Just because you don’t know what it is doesn’t mean you don’t need it. Open your mind and your business up to pitches for positions that you didn’t know you wanted.
#7: Say “Yes” More
If somebody emails you to ask for a job, arrange a meeting even if you don’t have a position open. Now, you need to be very clear in your response that you don’t have anything open, but that you are open to a meeting. Take a coffee with the person, or a quick online chat, but just see who they are.
Being open to people means that you’ll find yourself making connections and fostering relationships you didn’t know could be possible. Possibilities are endless, but only if you allow them to be. Shutting everything down just because you aren’t actively recruiting could freeze you out from some future connections or collaborations.
If somebody asks for work and you don’t have any, ask yourself if you have any volunteer positions or internships that they might be interested in. Speaking of which...
Create some intern positions so you can get to know more “rising star” employees. Being open to high school and college students means that you meet the next wave of professionals in your field and can develop a relationship faster than the competition.
#9: Build Relationships, Not Checklist Goals
You’ve probably noticed that we’ve said “relationship” a lot in this article. That’s because your best employees are going to be ones who care about you and the company. The mindset of needing to find somebody to do work and get paid creates a purely transactional connection. If you want a better kind of recruit, go for a better kind of connection.
#10: Take your time
Don’t be in a rush. Sometimes you’ll need an employee very quickly, but if you don’t require an employee tomorrow, set a longer deadline. We know: it can be difficult not to feel pressure mounting as deadlines approach, but if you leave the door open longer, more people will walk through. Don’t make a decision until you have to. That’s not to say that you should be lazy, lax, or leave things until the last minute. All we’re saying is that if you give yourself more time, you will see more people, hear from more people, and have more time to evaluate those people and make the best possible decision for your company.
#11: Consult your current employees
Why did your employees pick you? Why did they apply? How did they find you? Do you know this? By asking those questions, you can get answers that will help you continue to recruit the best talent in your field.
If the majority of your employees found you over social media, for instance, maybe that’s where people are most likely to find you; increase your recruitment ad buys on social media platforms.
Whatever your employees say, if you see any patterns, you can capitalize them. If you notice that those patterns are causing stagnation, you can break them. But if you don’t know about any past recruitment patterns, you can’t act for your future benefit in any capacity.
#12: Know your data
On that note, just knowing as much as you possibly can about your current workforce and the job market trends in-general will be invaluable to you. Things change, sometimes rapidly, so spend a little time getting to know what’s trending. What’s on social media? Are there any rising star stories in the news? What is the job market right now?
In fact, take that last question. If you were asked the number of jobs terminated, employees who left, and new hires last year? Do you know the most common reasons for an employee leaving one company for another? If you don’t, find out and stay up to date with that information. Knowing why employees are acting the way they are is imperative to crafting job profiles, your careers page on your website, and recruiting the perfect people for your workforce.
#13: Create an active public profile
Do people think about your company? How do you interact with the general public? Think beyond your customers and into the public at large. Even a plumbing company can have a social media presence, and with the right person in charge of social media, you could develop a rapport with the general population.
What does any of that have to do with recruiting? If your company springs to mind when somebody thinks of your industry, how many more applicants will you receive? How much more interest will you generate?
Keeping a connection with the world at large will not only make for a better recruitment process, but it will also make for better business in-general.
#14: Going too far - can a recruiting strategy be too unique? How?
If the strategy is off-putting, it’s time to pull back.
Sending unsolicited personal messages to random people might be perceived as stalkerish, or at the very least, like an annoying want ad has found its way into an inbox.
Avoid anything that you know would bother you. If you cringe thinking about the recruitment idea, don’t do it. This can even apply to techniques that have worked for other people. These same techniques won’t work for you if they make you cringe because any potential recruits will pick up on your discomfort.
Anything that gives a false impression about your company is going to hurt you long term. Even if a few fudges on information here and there get you a better recruit, that person isn’t going to last long because the company he is working for is different from the one he thought he was coming to. You don’t need to lie to get an employee interested in your business. Whatever your field, somebody wants in – after all, you’re here, right?
Whether using the old methods or new ideas, you need employees. Foster the best sources of workers for your business. The best way to do this is with good relationships. Keep good relationships with your employees, develop good relationships with your customers, and with the general public, and be open to new relationships from people interested in your business.
Every business relies on connections to thrive, because they all need people to interact with as a client base and an employee pool. Without that, you’re dead in the water.
1. Can I still use websites?
Absolutely. Old strategies have lasted for a reason: they work. Go ahead and cast your net wide. But a unique strategy is going to yield different results.
2. When should I use a unique recruitment technique vs. an old one?
If you aren’t finding who you’re looking for using traditional methods, it’s time to shake things up.
You also might want to innovate your recruitment techniques if you want the business itself to be perceived as innovative.
3. What if my company is boring, how do I make a potential employee find us exciting?
Honesty, honesty, honesty.
You don’t need to make it exciting, you need to understand the point of the business. You do, since you’re working in that sector for that company. “Garbage worker” doesn’t sound glamorous, but there are reasons people take that job. Be upfront about those reasons. It might be salary, benefits, or some other x-factor, but you can’t get a good employee by glossing over the downsides or making up upsides to a job.
Just be honest.
4. When should I look for new employees?
All the time. That’s not to say you should actively be looking to replace your existing staff, just that you should be developing relationships with people in your industry or who are interested in your sector. Doing that is a kind of “passive radar version” of looking for employees. If you have a bunch of these relationships fostered, it will be many times easier to recruit actively once you are in need of a new worker.
5. What’s the best way to choose a candidate?
All other factors being equal, whoever is the best fit for your business’ culture and environment will be your best bet. Obviously, there are technical qualifications like skillsets that anybody will need to fill, but you need somebody you can work with and who will “get” your business.
Looking for innovators and free-thinkers can be very helpful for advancing your business, as well, but only if you are prepared to allow them the latitude to take full advantage of their unique approaches to the business.
6. How do I tell if somebody is toxic and I shouldn’t hire them?
A good practice is to give employees a trial period to see if they will be a problem. Pay attention to them during that time, but solicit feedback from coworkers as well. If you have a bad feeling about somebody, check with their references and old employers or colleagues.
A quick, effective test: have a job interview at a café and see how they treat the wait staff. That can tell a lot about somebody’s values.
7. Should I give somebody a second chance?
Maybe, but it depends on why they need one. Were they late to an interview? Find out why. Maybe their explanation makes sense. Did they do subpar work? Give clear feedback and see if they can improve. Are they mean-spirited? Probably not worth the risk. A personality flaw like that is something that a person needs to work on, but that’s not on-the-job training, that’s a therapist’s domain.
8. How do I pick which candidates to bring in for an interview?
A reminder here: say yes more. If you have time to interview everybody, see them all. Somebody might “pop” in a way that they didn’t on paper. Otherwise, use two factors:
First: brute experience. Who has the more impressive resume? Go with that person.
Second: unique or interesting points. Did somebody put on their that they speak Swahili or are a chess master? The kind of person who has a well-rounded resume in terms of lesser-seen entries might have something to offer your company that you didn’t think of. Look for the unusual and unique.
Also, you might want to bring in one or two “green” candidates: people fresh out of school looking for a start. Somebody who isn’t tried-and-tested might not look impressive on paper, but they might be the best thing to hit your sector that nobody knows about yet. You could discover a major talent. Giving people an opportunity is a great way to “pay it forward”, so to speak. Throw in some new talent with the experienced and the quirky.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!