FieldThe competition for top talent has grown fiercer within the last two years, according to more than 80 percent of the 520 organizations surveyed by CIPD for its “2015 Resource and Talent Planning” report. Not only that, but also roughly 75 percent of organizations are on what seems like an endless search for specialized talent to fill niche roles.

Finding the right talent requires much, much more than passively posting job openings — even if you post on several different sites. When targeted properly, specialized talent can actually be found relatively quickly.

Recruiters, you have to be the shark; you have to catch top talent before others do.

The best candidates aren’t hovering over job boards, waiting for the right job to pop up — they’re often leveraging their relationships and out networking.

With this in mind, here are some unique sources to look at for your next hire:

1. Meetups

Meetup is an online resource for people who want to plan to do something together locally. It’s also a great resource for finding a pool of great job candidates with the interests and skills you seek. Search for keywords that describe your ideal candidate, like “finance” or “tech” and see what kind of groups are active in your area. There may also be meetups specifically for professionals to network and look for jobs, where you can find more active job seekers.

2. Twitter

Follow industry-specific Twitter accounts. For example, if you’re recruiting for IT, look at @it_rec or @tmj_itjobs. Accounts like these were created to help connect job seekers with employers in that specific industry. Vet candidates who respond to job openings and reach out to those who you’d like to meet.

TwitterJoin some of the the best recruitment Twitter chats like #NextChat and #HRtrends. Don’t limit yourself to those, though: also look at industry-specific Twitter chats, even if all the parties involved aren’t necessarily searching for new jobs. For example, if you’re recruiting for marketing and public relations positions, check out #BlogChat or #BrandChat.

3. Online Forums and Blog Communities

If you’re recruiting for a position that requires specific technical skills, like a Web developer, check out online forums like Dream.In.Code, where developers discuss issues and offer assistance to one another.

If you’re looking for an excellent communicator with a persuasive edge, search specific topics related to the position on online blog communities like Medium and Triberr to find an author who might be the perfect fit. If all else fails, it might be worth taking a look at Reddit’s For Hire section.

Since the candidates you meet online may not live near you or the company headquarters, you’ll need a tool to help you get to know them virtually. Schedule either a real-time video meeting or a one-way video interview that the candidate can record on their own time, if schedules don’t align.

4. Industry Events

Where better to source great talent than a gathering of industry gurus eager to show off their ideas? Research industry-related events and compose a calendar of the ones where you might find your perfect candidate..

For tech positions, look at Web Summit or SXSW.

E3For positions in environmental science or biology, look at the Sea, Earth, and Space Summit hosted in Houston, TX, this October.

Find plenty of options in the tech, scientific, or medical fields by searching the Global Events List.

5. Virtual Hackathons

If you’re really crunched for time and traveling isn’t an option, host a virtual hackathon. Hackathons give potential candidates an opportunity to show what they’re capable of and the lengths to which they’re willing to go for success. Plus, the virtual aspect will allow you to broaden your talent pool outside of your locale.

Present a “problem” similar to one the person in the position may encounter and ask followers on social media to create a solution. Set guidelines and a deadline, then see what your participants come up with.

Ask participants to present their solutions in a 60-second introduction video. That gives them just enough time to “wow” you. Then, reach out to candidates you’d like to pursue for a video interview and get to know them a little better.

Being a proactive recruiter is a must in the midst of a skills dearth. The market isn’t what it used to be, and a post on a job board alone isn’t likely to attract candidates with the perfect skill sets. Instead of waiting for top talent to come to you, use online resources and tools to widen your reach and find the people you need when you need them.

What unique places have you found some great talent? Share in the comments below!

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