How to Find a Great Recruiter, Part 3

Other Miscellaneous Ways to Attract Recruiters

Some other individual approaches that can be effective in attracting recruiters include:

  1. Write a white paper or case study about your firm's recruiting practices.
  2. Set up a move during a major recruiting conference.
  3. Hold an invited open house on your site and encourage your recruiters to bring a friend (ideally one who is also a recruiter). Show them what you're doing and planning.
  4. Consider direct mail to HR or recruiter association member lists. Also consider mailings to magazine subscription lists.
  5. Run an ad in the local movie theater.
  6. Purchase "sales leads" about recruiters from credit information services and utilize the names of the candidates as recruiting targets.
  7. Seek out recruiters at your own product demo events (or your competitors').
  8. Ask employees who are attending ATS or other HR-related seminars to identify the best people there are as possible targets or referral sources.
  9. Attend a competitor's annual HR conference at a hotel and seek out its recruiters.
  10. Hold a contest on recruiting and target the finalists.
  11. Offer a program where you will hire a recruiter and their best friend (or their colleague, spouse, or partner) at the same time. Offer an exceptional recruiter an opportunity to commute together or to work together with their best friend.
  12. Ask your current recruiters how you would find them again, Ask them what recruiting and social events they attend, which magazines and journals they read, which TV shows that they watch, etc. Use this information to identify the sources that are the most likely to produce results.
  13. When you have an exceptional recruiter in mind, have your CEO call the candidate directly and encourage them to sign on. CEO calls are incredibly effective convincing tools.
  14. It's hard to believe, but some recruiting managers just aren't good salespeople (recruiters). Identify those that are good recruiters and salespeople, put them together on a recruiting team, and let them do most of the hiring. Give them recruiter training and reward them for their efforts.
  15. Increase your retention efforts and spend some time with each of your top performers. Ask them what frustrates them and what would make their job more exciting. It's cheaper to keep them then to have to recruit new ones!
  16. Develop a "sales sheet" that highlights the best practices and features of your recruiting department. Do a side-by-side comparison between what you have and what competing organizations have, and send it to all potential candidates.
  17. Identify the type of social and charity events that recruiters often attend outside of work. Set up a booth there and use it as a "soft sell" recruiting tool.
  18. Develop a "most wanted recruiter list" (a one-year-ahead "hit" list). Then identify the recruiters that you really want to hire long before you have an opening. Use that time to pre-qualify and pre-sell them. Call recruiters on this list immediately when an opening occurs.
  19. Consider hiring recruiters for a weekend or during their vacation for a "try out." Once they've worked with your team they are more likely to say yes to an offer.
  20. Ask a targeted recruiter to serve as an assessor when you are hiring other recruiters and use that process to convince them to eventually come to work for you.
  21. Change the job so it's more attractive by giving recruiters flexible hours or work-at-home options.
  22. Reward recruiters for meeting their goals. Provide significant bonuses to internal recruiters to give them incentives to work toward quality, speed, and excellence.
  23. Rewrite your recruiter job descriptions to make them more like marketing pieces. Identify the "wow" factors that you have and the features that excite your current recruiters. Put them in your job descriptions.
  24. Consider bringing back retired recruiters from your company (and others) on a part-time or seasonal basis.
  25. Consider hiring individuals that are certified as CPC or CTS by the National Association of Personnel Services.
  26. Hire a magnet (well-known) recruiting professional like Michael Homula or Michael McNeal to attract other great recruiters.
  27. Ask top candidates who they would like to meet or interview with to excite them about the company.
  28. Include in the offer an automatic salary review in six months (if there is a fear the initial offer is too low).
  29. Offer explosive sign-on bonuses to top candidates to encourage them to accept rapidly.
  30. Have employees that recruiter candidates connected with call them and encourage them to sign.
  31. Send flowers, champagne, or T-shirts to the spouse and/or family to sell them as well.
  32. Invade a conference/trade show. Recruiters often attend, if not work at, such events, so visit them as an attendee and watch who does what at the event. To the trained observer, recruiters are easy to spot.
  33. Figure out what training offerings would be most attractive to a recruiter who focuses on what you need to recruit for, and attend that training.
  34. Teach recruiter training classes for your local SHRM chapter or local university, and pick out the best candidates for yourself.

For Retail and Customer Service Recruiters

The tips that follow are for those organizations that employ dedicated recruiters in retail or customer service:

  1. Recruit at new location launch events. Normally when a company is launching a new location, it will hold pre-launch interviews at the next nearest location or main office in the area. A sign near the new location will often disclose the location. Visit the location as a customer, scope out who is doing what, and ID the name of the recruiter. Occasionally these events are held in hotels when the volume of candidates needed is large.
  2. Recruit at high school job fairs. Volunteer to coordinate or participate in a job fair for a local high school that focuses on the type of roles you need a recruiter to have experience with. The community citizen approach will get you through many gate keepers and in direct contact with whomever is charged with recruiting in that area.
  3. Contact the local EEOC office. Indicate that you are interested in hosting a career event, and that you would like to get other local companies to participate. Ask them if they can point you to the right people.
  4. Mine local job boards. Many smaller chains and local offices will use local jobs and instruct that applications or resumes be sent directly to the recruiter rather than the ATS.

What Not To Do

There are many ways to find and hire great recruiters. Do not, however, attempt the following:

  1. Convert the administrative staff in the recruiting function into recruiters. They seldom have the mentality or the aggressiveness the job requires. The same can also generally be said for most engineers and other technology professionals.
  2. Convert HR professionals into recruiters. Most HR people can't spell sales. They are generally risk avoiders and "cooperators" rather than competitors. Recruiting and HR should not be related in any way.
  3. Find top recruiters by searching resume databases on job boards. Top recruiters get jobs through relationships they have built, not by posting their resume.


Recruiting is a unique field: There are no college programs where you can major in recruiting. It takes some creativity and innovation to find the best talent in recruiting. If you want to be successful at attracting the very best, the key is to utilize unique recruiting tools and approaches that will actually surprise and maybe even impress your target recruiter.

Remember, in this case you are a "hunter" (recruiter) that is seeking out another hunter, so the approach you use must be perfect. To put it simply, if you don't find them using the same high-level tools that they utilize, they will just dismiss you out of hand. If you're really bold, you'll remember that "a recruiter is just a salesperson with a crummy budget," so when you're trying to hire a great recruiter, consider looking at sales, marketing, and branding people, who generally already possess and aggressiveness and the sales skills that are so essential for recruiting. Good hunting!

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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