good ideaI realize that you are all a pretty experienced bunch and most of you will have a range of hiring tactics within your arsenal, but even the most experienced of recruiters will find themselves in a tough spot from time to time, e.g. talent is scarce, your business is chronically understaffed, hiring managers are complaining, time to hires are soaring, and your CEO is breathing down your neck for ‘out of the box thinking.’

The problem is that at stressful, high pressure times when your recruitment processes are failing, the last thing  on your mind will be creative, out of the box solutions, even though that is what may be needed.

Therefore, I have done the thinking for you and provided a simple list of 12 innovative approaches that you can turn to in hard times when current approaches to hiring are failing.

1. Getting Referrals From Your New Hires

On their first day, ask new hires if they can recommend anyone from their old firm or in the industry. See, if they will help you to hire targeted candidates. They will be especially eager to impress in their early days and connections with previous colleagues may still be strong so this is a good time to ask for referrals.

2. Referral Cards (Yahoo)

Apparently, Yahoo uses these. Give your most visible employees (sales, marketing, PR, senior managers who speak publicly, etc.) referral cards that sell your business as a place to work and which they can hand out to prospects like business cards.

3. Nearly qualified

Maintain a file of promising candidates who you turned down because they required just a little more experience – and you can contact them in a year or two’s time when talent is proving scarce.

4. Proactive referrals (Google)

Of course, you may have an employee referral scheme in place, but why wait for individuals to refer? Why not directly approach your top talent and ask them for direct referrals which could be mentees, retirees and, of course, former colleagues. (Apparently, Google does this.)

5. ‘Ask me’ buttons

Encourage employees to wear “Ask me what its like work at XYZ” lapel buttons at industry conventions and functions.

6. ‘Turned you down’

Keep a file of candidates who have turned you down for a role and track their careers on LinkedIn and other social networking sites. Get in touch with them when their situation changes.

7. ‘Find You Again Profile’

Ask your top performers, “How would you find them again?” Find out where they hang out, e.g. LinkedIn Groups, on-line forums, industry and social events, papers, magazines and journals that they read. This is a great way to find out fertile locations for job adverts or employer branding notices.

8. Make a policy of 1st round interviewing by video

Candidates who are currently employed may struggle to find opportunities to attend a face to face interview so give candidates the option of 1st round video interviewing. This should be reflected in the job advert. You may attract candidates who would not have previously applied.

9. Interviewing outside of working hours or weekends

Give candidates the option of interviewing during evenings or weekends. This should be reflected in the job advert. Again, this may attract candidates who would not have previously applied, especially those who are currently employed.

10. CEO Calls/Visit

If you are struggling to close on good candidates, try and involve your CEO in the later stages of the interview/deal closing process, be that a call or a visit. Candidates are always impressed when they hear from a CEO or other senior executive.

11. Take your interviews on the road

Offer to conduct interviews at private locations near your top candidates’ homes or offices to make it more convenient for them to attend interviews. This would typically focus more around senior or mission critical roles and could remove a barrier to recruitment.

12. Critical Yes Factors

Ask all new hires what were the critical factors that made them apply and accept the job. Make sure these messages are clearly promoted in your marketing collateral and interview processes.

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