Innovative Recruiting Strategies for 2014

Social recruiting, gamification, and video interviewing are some of the newest recruiting strategies in the war for talent. They change the way we communicate, free us from old school telephone cords and paper processes, cutting through the time-sucking vortex of traditional recruiting strategies and provides all-important cost savings in a chameleon economy and job market. Employers and recruiters ignore these highly effective and engaging recruiting strategies at their own risk. But everyone in recruiting today can use an edge, and that’s what innovative recruiting strategies provide. Let’s take a look at some other out-of-box recruiting strategies that are showing up in the war for talent.

Undercover Recruiter

Going undercover to observe candidates firsthand outside of the recruiting process provides valuable insight into candidate skills and abilities that are difficult to get out of an interview. See candidates in action before their start date with your company by putting recruiters in innovative locations, such as industry and association conferences and events or in customer service situations, like First Merit Bank does. First Merit Bank’s recruiting strategies include searching out candidates with the best customer service skills by buying and returning merchandise to observe how salespeople up-sell, communicate, and handle sales and returns to identify teller and personal banker candidates. Volkswagen does something similar by putting their job ad for mechanics on the undercarriage of cars dropped off for service by recruiters. This gives recruiters first-hand experience with how candidates behave as employees and interact with customers, and can be applied to many types of candidates.

Creative Challenges Identify Hidden Candidates

When your recruiting challenge is finding candidates with niche skills, normal recruiting strategies aren’t as effective for identifying qualified candidates as creative challenges. When Silicon Valley start-up Quixey needed qualified engineers, they used a monthly challenge offering cash prizes for winners. Engineers are given three practice problems to solve, and if they get them right, they are given a 60-second computer programming problem to solve. Google does something similar, only with billboards, putting a tricky mathematical puzzle up for all to see. Anyone who solves the billboard puzzle will unlock a URL with another puzzle, which if solved, leads to an offer to apply. SeatGeek does something even more innovative for their recruiting initiatives: they invite engineers to hack into their website to submit their resumes. Put your creative challenges where your ideal candidates will see them, including billboards, websites, as a wrap on company cars – then enjoy the flow of quality qualified candidates they generate.

Add Contests to the Mix

Throwing a contest like the Department of Defense’s robotics race can reveal solutions to your actual problems while also identifying the candidates who come up with them. When the DOD needed upgraded unmanned vehicles, they invited field engineers to create robots that could steer independents with computerized mapping systems to compete in a 250 mile race on rough surfaces. The many computer scientists, universities, and companies that participated produced qualified candidates as well as the robotics the DOD was seeking. Hospitality industry giants like MGM Grand identify top talent and innovative practices for their business with the Iron Chef competition at their Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Participants have to create a menu from a secret ingredient to get an opportunity as head chef for MGM’s top restaurant.

Innovative Referrals

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Employee referrals are a hot ticket in recruiting now, and there are multitudes of opportunities to capture top candidates through social media, referral program marketing and incentives. But companies including Carmax and Quicken Loans use innovative referrals in recruiting strategies. Carmax uses a blue jelly bracelet printed with “Who do you know?” to prompt employees to talk about opportunities at Carmax and refer them to recruiters. Quicken Loans turns its employees into talent scouts by training them about the employee referral process and teaching them about employees who joined the company through referral.

Hire Them Out from Under the Competition’s Noses

Take a cue from the recruiting strategies of Gyros International and Red5 and go after your competition’s talent. When Gyros needed to double its creative department, they researched their closest competitors to find out where their employees went to lunch. Then they got restaurant owners to use sandwich bags with Gyros’ recruiting messages including “Should I stay or should I go?” and “Is your career going somewhere?” with their web address to generate qualified candidates. Video game developer Red5 had to invest in a little more than sandwich bags. They researched 250 game developers and their top employees to identify dream hires to whom they presented custom iPods loaded with their recruiting message inviting them to apply at Red5.

All Out Recruiting Marketing

When you need specially-qualified candidates fast, do what software company Atlassian did, and maybe you’ll win some awards too. They won recruitment awards for their “Europe, We’re Coming to Steal Your Geeks” campaign by using a bus and an all-expenses-paid relocation package instead of a backpack to tour Europe. Their goal – hire 15 developers in 15 days to relocate to Australia. The results – their choice of more than a thousand qualified applicants. They fueled interest by promoting their campaign on Twitter and Instagram. This was not Atlassian’s first time at the recruiting rodeo. Their 2010 “32 Campaign” offered engineering new hires a holiday when hired to “start their new job feeling happy and refreshed.” Atlassian’s Global Talent & Culture Chief Joris Luijke’s objective? Make Atlassian the world’s best workplace, and he says he and his team approach recruitment differently than other companies who use the same search tools and look in the same places. His recruiting strategies combine excellent search, great recruitment branding, and extending their recruiting message as wide as possible.

If you’re doing okay with your current recruiting strategies, filling your openings with qualified candidates that produce quality hires, you probably aren’t considering adding any stretch to your process. But if you are feeling the burn of competition, have openings that are going unfilled, and are running out of places to look for the candidates you need, it’s time for innovative recruiting strategies. Take a look around at your competitors and companies similar to yours in size and industry. If they are doing what SeatGeek, Gyros, and Atlassian are doing, why aren’t you?

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