Creative Hiring Yields Creative Talent

Hiring just isn’t what it used to be -- and that’s a good thing.

We aren’t limited anymore to newspaper ads and word-of-mouth referrals. They still have their place, and they can be effective, but there are lots of ways to do it better. Savvy recruiters can tap professional networks, online groups, and use highly-targeted advertising on websites like LinkedIn to find great candidates. We can find and hire outstanding talent down the road or across the globe.

But we can be even more creative than that. Every hiring approach can benefit from a bit of experimentation, and these four strategies will put you in contact with great talent who you otherwise might miss.

Believe It or Not, Someone Blogs About It

The internet is a big place. If you can think of it, there’s probably a website devoted to the topic -- or at least someone who follows it very closely.

If you’re hiring for a specific role, search online for blog writers who have spent time thinking about and writing on the niche. In some fields, there are so many people weighing in that you can actually narrow them down by their attitudes and approaches. Searching Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and even podcasts can match you up with people who fit.

And the benefits of reaching out are twofold: you might find the perfect candidate, but even if you don’t, you’ve made a professional connection that can pay off down the line.

Post Your Problem, Not the Job

The default mode for hiring is to write a clear, succinct description of the job responsibilities and any qualifications you need or would like an applicant to have. That can work, but it’s an inexact science and hosts of great candidates can be turned off from applying for one reason or another.

Instead, think about posting the problem you need to solve and inviting applicants to suggest how it can be tackled and demonstrate why they should be the ones to do it. This creative approach shouldn’t deter any of the well-qualified applicants who would’ve thrown their hat into the ring anyway, and it opens you up to a broad range of non-traditional talent that just might be the perfect fit.

Ditch the Obsession with Experience

It’s tempting to go with the applicant who’s performed the job you’re hiring for capably somewhere else. You can be plugged right into your company immediately -- but is that always the best long-term solution?

Few roles are static; most change and develop at a rapid pace. It’s worth considering whether people with the least experience are the best fit. Hiring dynamic, talented people who can grow into the role -- and even beyond -- can be a wildly effective strategy compared to calling up a capable replacement player from the minor leagues.

Find a Fan and Give Them Their Dream Job

This won’t work for every company -- an accountancy probably can’t find someone who’s crazy about number-crunching and expect them to work out -- but a significant number of companies can do this. Even small, local businesses and brands have loyal fans, and tapping that love can yield exceptional talent. Look to see who regularly likes your social media posts -- and more importantly, who engages with them. Who better to bring into the company than someone who already loves it? Reaching out to one of your superfans -- and again, even small businesses have them -- could match you up with a candidate with stronger dedication and buy-in than any LinkedIn post could attract.

Rodney Steele