4 Creative Ways to Find and Engage With Job Candidates

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ShoesAs a recruiter, your job will challenge you to think creatively when it comes to finding candidates, especially discreet job seekers who don’t spend their days lurking on the Internet. The job boards may well be helpful for finding active candidates, but there is just so much information to sift through (on both the recruiters’ and candidates’ sides) that whittling the options down to only the best can be a major hurdle.

So, how can you give yourself the upper hand? I’ve learned a few techniques that have helped me to think outside the box and connect with those hard-to-find job candidates.

A Passive Candidate Today Could Mean a New Hire Tomorrow

Passive candidates are excellent resources, and few recruiters spend time working with them outside of immediately available opportunities. I’ve found that, if I balance my time between talking with candidates for positions I have right now and talking with candidates who could be good fits for clients in the future, then my overall results in the long term are much better.

Don’t Discount the Random People You Meet in Passing

I don’t know about you, but I’m always enthusiastic to introduce myself as a software and cyber recruiter when I meet new people. I love my work! Sometimes I even end up chatting with real-life tech professionals.

The lesson here is to tell people who you are and what you do. If you’re truly passionate about your job as a recruiter, then that passion will shine through in your conversations. I once met a great .NET developer while I was volunteering at a local event; I ended up submitting that person to a client a few months later! It just goes to show that you never know who you will chat with in a line at the grocery store, at a charity event, or in your workout class.

IslandForums Are Friendly (for the Most Part)

Forums have been around at least as long as the Internet (not that I remember much about what life before the World Wide Web was like!). There are forums out there on just about every topic you can imagine, so why not check out ones that discuss topics related to the jobs for which you recruit? You may just be able to network the perfect candidate through this, pardon the pun, forum.

The key to successful forum participation is trustworthiness. Be sure to read the rules of engagement before jumping in. Participate authentically and disclose who you are and your purpose for being part of the community before asking anything of anyone.

One of my newfound favorite forum-style communities is Reddit. While I’ve been using Reddit for my own entertainment and as an educational tool for years, I’ve recently been trying to use it for recruiting purposes. So far, it’s garnered me two well-qualified submittals.

Regularly Step Out and Meet New People

Getting involved in a networking group based on your recruiting focus can open up a lot of doors. Not only will you meet professionals working in that field and learn more about the subject, but you will also begin building your own personal network to source from for future job requirements.

While most events are likely to be held after work hours, you may find your boss has no problem letting you to skip out of the office for an hour or so in order to connect with potential job candidates. The time away from the office and your evenings is, I’d say, well worth it. I’m a firm believer that face-to-face engagement helps recruiters become subject matter experts and known contributors to their industry communities, leading to fruitful symbiotic relationships.

Get Social on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter

SocialEngaging your candidates on social media can be a very powerful way to source. According to the 2015 Jobvite “Recruiter Nation” survey, candidates are even being engaged on YouTube and Snapchat these days! The survey shows that only four percent (4 percent) of recruiters don’t use social media. There are 4 percent who “aren’t sure,” but the 92 percent of recruiters who do use social media are seeing excellent results.

One of my preferred methods for connecting with talent online is by joining Facebook groups dedicated to topics that are relevant to the industries for which I am recruiting. Search for groups of university alumni, industry professionals, and local professionals working in relevant fields.

Bottom line: in my first six months as a millennial who is a recruiter, I’ve learned that you can find candidates in many unexpected ways; just keep your eyes peeled and always think about new ways to connect with potential candidates!

Read more in Sourcing

Evelyn Xu wears many hats: recent graduate, millennial, and novice recruiter. She recently started full-time at Scope Group, a boutique recruiting firm based in Arlington, Virginia. Some might say that Evelyn has never met a stranger; she is unabashedly passionate about building relationships with candidates and others in the community.
Evelyn earned her Bachelor of Science in Family Science and Human Development at University of Maryland, College Park. As a Peer Career Educator, she spent three years working one-on-one with UMD students to prepare them for the real world.

Evelyn aspires to become a leading recruiter in software and cyber talent in the DC metro area. Follow along with her journey as a novice, millennial recruiter here and @EvelynXu15.