No-Cost Recruiting Tools

Times are tough all over, and recruiting budgets are approaching zero in many companies. But if you still need to recruit, here are my favorite “no cost” tools (many of which are covered in more detail in other ERE articles of mine). They are all intuitive, easy to use, and will cost you nothing other than your employees’ time.Finding and Identifying Candidates: Referrals

  1. Top performing employee referrals. Target each of your top employees in hard-to-hire areas and ask them to proactively seek out referrals from other great people they know. Give them a monthly “target.”
  2. Reference referrals. Call the references of the top performers that you hired 6 to 12 months ago. Ask them, “Do you know other super people?”
  3. “Friends” referrals. Ask “friends” of your firm (including suppliers, former employees, customers, and consultants) to refer potential candidates they come across.
  4. First-day-on-the-job referrals. Ask new hires, as well as candidates during their interviews, “Who else is good?” Use these names as a candidate pool.
  5. Professional association officer referrals. Ask officers in professional associations to be referral sources for up-and-coming talent they see who are active in their association.

Finding and Identifying Candidates On the Web

  1. Chat rooms. Have your technical employees post tough questions (or just listen in) on technical list servers and chat rooms. Then target whoever gives great answers.
  2. “Selling” job descriptions. Rewrite the job descriptions on your website to make the jobs seem more exciting. Make them better fit the needs and interests of top performers.
  3. Niche sites. Use niche and professional association job sites to identify candidates.

General “Finding” Tools

  1. Boomerangs. Recruit back top performers that left your firm and might now wish to return.
  2. Call backs. Call back individuals that rejected your offers or were finalists. You might find that they now regret their previous decision. Also put people that are just short of your needed qualifications in a “tickler file” to call back after they gain more experience.
  3. Onsite. Hold a technical seminar (onsite) in conjunction with a professional association. Have your employees identify top talent before and after the session.
  4. Coordinate with PR. Also attend PR and sales events your company holds. Use these to identify top talent that may now be interested in your firm as a result of seeing your products or hearing your message.
  5. Trade fairs/conferences. Ask employees who attend these events to identify great “questioners” and people with good ideas during talks and panels. Have them ask good speakers who else is good. Use your trade booth in a dual role to recruit and gather business cards.
  6. Bring a friend to work day. Have employees invite a friend to work to “see what they do.” Then try to recruit the best.
  7. “Who was promoted” announcements. When competitors announce the names of promoted or recognized individuals, put them in a “tickler” file and contact them at a later time when they are likely to start getting bored with their new job.
  8. When they gather in one room. Recruit at passive events (professional and business associations) and social events where your “demographics” are likely to attend. Ask community and business leaders, “Who is good?”
  9. Mentioned in/wrote article. Contact people mentioned in good articles (or their authors) and try to recruit them.

College Recruiting

  1. Interns as on-campus representatives. Ask your current interns to seek out and sell great students after they return to school in the fall.
  2. Use last years hires as sourcers/recruiters. Ask recent college hires at your firm to recruit others (juniors) they knew while in school via email or telephone.
  3. Hire grads from one to three years ago. Contact top grads that turned you down a while ago and see if they are now interested.
  4. Class evaluators. At local colleges and schools, ask professors to let you visit senior classes as an evaluator. Use the session to identify the best students. If they will let you, supply the problem that the students work on.

Selling the Candidate and Deal Closing Tools

  1. CEO calls. Have the CEO or senior manager call your best candidates directly to sell them on the job and firm.
  2. Show them where they will be in two years. Provide candidates with a profile of what others like them have accomplished and learned in a short period while at your firm.
  3. “Push” jobs to prospects. Occasionally email job openings to potential recruits who have signed up for your product “updates.” Make a top prospect email list and (with their permission) send them periodic notices of relevant openings.
  4. Stop “death by interview.” Schedule interviews at night or on weekends. Also shorten the number of interviews and make them more interesting to avoid losing top candidates.
  5. Sell sheet. Attach (staple) to your paper job applications a list of your company’s “wow” features and other company selling points.
  6. Use a hiring team. When individual managers are not great recruiters or when they are not exciting during the interview, select a hiring team made up of exciting and interesting personalities (managers and employees) to do your recruiting and selling.
  7. Dream job offers. For top candidates, ask them to describe the non-monetary aspect of their dream job… and then offer it to them (within reason).

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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