Creative recruitment methods and sourcing strategies can help you find “hidden” talent, while innovative screening methods can be a highly effective way of assessing candidates.

If your recruitment process is feeling a little humdrum these days, you’re not alone. Most recruiters follow a common set of steps in connecting with job seekers: for example, an estimated 95 percent rely on LinkedIn to find candidates, and over half of recruiters still ask for cover letters (although only 26 percent actually read them). It’s clear that the most popular and traditional recruiting methods aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

However, there are definitely some benefits to mixing up your recruiting process. Creative sourcing strategies can help you find “hidden” talent, while innovative screening methods like video interviews can be a highly effective way of assessing candidates. With so much competition in the market, why not make sure you and your clients stand out?

We’ve spoken with some experienced professionals to find out about the pros and cons of different recruitment methods (internal vs. external, online vs. offline), as well as their most interesting success stories.

Internal Recruitment Methods

In-house recruiters and hiring managers often overlook internal candidates when sourcing for a job, but this is an unfortunate oversight. Sometimes, the right candidate for a position may be a lot closer than you think.

Why recruit internally?

Recruiting internally has many obvious benefits—an internal candidate will already be very familiar with a company’s culture, and offering new positions to internal candidates shows current employees they are valued. Internal recruiting is also time-efficient, with minimal delays in onboarding and training.

However, there are some disadvantages to internal recruitment as well. Nathan Lewis, Senior Recruiter at ApplicantOne, cites “internal politics” as one factor that may lead to biased decision-making. “Emotional and friendly connections can sometimes cause one to overlook a serious character flaw [in a candidate].”

There are many different methods companies can use to find and train qualified internal candidates. Here are just a few of the most popular ways to fill internal vacancies:

1. Post internal job ads

Most organizations have an internal jobs board. This is an easy way to ensure that all employees know about new vacancies and have the chance to apply. If your organization doesn’t have an internal jobs board, consider creating one—it shows employees they have a clear path for growth within your company. In a 2018 study by LinkedIn Learning, 94 percent of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.

2. Promote deserving candidates

Another internal recruitment method is singling out high-performers for promotion. If a management position opens up, looking within the existing team is an easy way to identify suitable talent. This is a great way to prevent “job stagnation”: a study by Glassdoor showed that every additional 10 months that an employee “stagnates” in their role makes them 1 percent more likely to leave the company.

3. Make an internal transfer

Occasionally, an employee may decide they want to develop their career by moving into another field. In addition, life circumstances may sometimes require employees to move to a different city or country. In these situations, there may be an opportunity to offer an internal transfer. Rather than leaving the company, the talented employee may be interested in a vacancy in another department or another office.

4. Employee referrals

This is a hybrid of internal and external recruiting methods. Asking for employee referrals helps you identify potential candidates who may already be a great culture fit. They have essentially been "pre-vetted" by your own employees. If you have a strong company culture that empowers employee advocates, than this is a great recruitment strategy. However, if your company culture needs to undergo a change, this may not be the best strategy to improve your hiring process.

Try these recruitment methods to save time

External Recruitment Methods

Although internal recruiting has certain benefits, there are many situations in which an external candidate may be the most appropriate fit for a position.

Why recruit externally?

Most recruiters, particularly agency recruiters, deal primarily with external hiring. Bringing outside candidates into a company can help to inject fresh thinking into the business. New hires offer a unique skill set and can be a catalyst for out-of-the-box thinking. Nathan Lewis remarks that “a fresh perspective from an external candidate can give you a more peripheral vision to help induce necessary changes.”

From a hiring manager or in-house recruiter’s perspective, the downside of external recruiting is that the process is more expensive and takes longer. Moreover, screening new candidates for culture fit can be challenging.

In today’s digital world, connecting with external candidates is easier than ever. The trick lies in reaching the right candidates for the position—those who are both qualified and open to new opportunities.

1. Job postings

The most obvious method of connecting with external candidates is by posting job ads. It’s worth being strategic about where you post your ads. Online ads on general websites like LinkedIn are likely to attract a large quantity of candidates, while ads posted offline or on niche job boards will bring in a more streamlined group.

2. Career events

Career events can help you connect with candidates in a face-to-face, personal setting. At job fairs held by universities and industry groups, you’ll meet a specific group of highly-qualified candidates who are interested in finding a position. Daniel Miller, co-founder of RecruiterPM, says he often connects with top talent at tradeshows and conferences. “These individuals refer me to other professionals, and business happens.”

3. Networking meetings

Building off of career fairs and events, another way to conduct external recruiting for the best candidates is by asking for referrals from others in your network or industry. Once these connections are made, host coffee meetings, phone calls, or online video meetings to get a feel for the candidate goals and their current job search. If that person is not a right fit, they may have others in their network to help your search, too.

Recruiting Online vs. Recruiting Offline

In today’s world, recruitment is largely done online, and for good reason—online recruiting is convenient and effective. However, in this highly digitized landscape, offline recruitment gives you a chance to stand out from the crowd.

Online recruitment

The most obvious advantages of online sourcing are sheer volume, scale, and speed. According to Mercedes Santana, founder and CEO of The Expert Recruiter Group, “You can make contact with 100 people via email within 20 minutes. You can identify contact information for 50 people in less than 30 minutes. Offline, completing both of these activities would take up your entire workday.”

With online recruitment, you have the opportunity to run mass campaigns on social media. You can also easily connect with candidates all over the country and the world through job ads, giving you a far better chance of finding the right match—especially if the job is remote.

Online recruitment can be useful for screening as well as sourcing. Screening candidates via video chat is both convenient and more personal than a phone call. Online recruiting also allows you to use more sophisticated screening methods, such as skills testing or asking candidates to send audio/video files. It is also easier to measure your recruitment sources.

Offline recruitment

Offline recruitment allows you to create deeper relationships and find “hidden talent”, especially among groups and passive candidates that may not be very active online. It also gives you an edge in competitive fields where candidates are already saturated with online offers.

Lawrence Kim, Business Consultant at Hired Resolution and founder of recruiting course Now Hiring Secrets, has a unique way of combining the efficiency of online recruiting with the personal touch of offline. “Online is a great tool to reach a larger audience, and I use that to funnel people into an offline meeting. I prefer offline every time because I believe in building the relationship on a human level… personal touches go a long way, and that is done best offline.”

Innovative Recruitment Methods

1) Use non-traditional platforms

Although LinkedIn is undoubtedly a useful tool, there’s a clear advantage to searching for candidates on other platforms as well. Nathan Lewis uses local platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to network and search for talent. “You would be pleasantly surprised to see the caliber of candidates on these non-traditional platforms.”

Mercedes Santana uses Instagram hashtags for candidate sourcing. “This is a great way to source candidates that may not be very active on other platforms, like LinkedIn. For example, [you can] start with a broad search type [such as] #UX... Additionally, for hard to find highly technical candidates, you can search more specifically—by coding schools, for example.”

2) Upskill promising candidates

Sometimes, job openings seem impossible to fill. Perhaps you or your client simply can’t afford to offer what competitors are offering, but you still need someone with a certain level of skill and experience. In these situations, how can you bridge the gap between candidate desires and employer needs?

Lawrence Kim recommends thinking outside the box to create a good match. With a little help and direction, promising candidates can often learn the skills required for the position. “I had a huge problem with competing against others on pay [and] benefits. It was getting unaffordable and unsustainable... so I pivoted to helping people who were just under the qualifications get qualified. It was a game changer!”

3) Organize your process

One often-neglected element of the recruitment process is project management. With recruiters typically using a number of different methods and recruitment tools throughout the candidate life cycle, things can get messy pretty fast.

Daniel Miller explains how integrating your various recruiting tools can help you get organized. “Once you incorporate a tool that manages your searches across all the tools, you see recruiting productivity increase… Our office had every tool and resource available, from text recruiting to Linkedin Recruit. Tying all the layers together and building a strong project management layer, we realized, is key to success.”

Conclusion: Unique Recruiting Methods Will Help You Stand Out

In today’s competitive landscape, out-of-the-box thinking can have a big payoff. Whether you’re looking to increase your earnings or find the best fit for your company, adding some spark to your recruitment process will help you take your career to the next level.

  • Which recruitment methods do you prefer?
  • Have you used an innovative recruitment method to find the perfect candidate for a position?