JOB SEARCH / NOV. 22, 2014
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Top 10 Strategies US Companies Use to Hunt for Job-Seekers

There’s always a lot of buzz among job seekers about the best way to find opportunities and to get your resume seen by the right people. But did you ever wonder about what your target employers are talking about? Job postings and referrals are still solid strategies that result in a lot of excellent hires, but some really innovative companies are getting creative. Here are 10 strategies that are generating a lot of buzz in the business community.  

#1 Social media

Social media may not be exactly “innovative” anymore, but a lot of recruiters are using it in innovative ways. These recruiters are going beyond LinkedIn and reaching out to candidates through sites like Pinterest, YouTube, and Vine. And they’re not just posting; they’re encouraging interaction.

#2 Open houses

Open houses are kind of like reverse job fairs. They tend to attract more motivated candidates, because everyone who shows up will have at least a passing interest in joining the hosting company, whereas job fair participants are just looking for any good match. In addition, open houses give employers the chance to see candidates interact socially. (So, if you ever go to one of these, be aware that you’re probably being watched!)

#3 Content presentations

Content presentations are a spinoff of content marketing. Employers using this strategy host presentations or seminars on topics relevant to the job(s) for which they’re hiring. It brings potential recruits right to their door, and, as with open houses, gives them a chance to see how attendees interact with each other and with current employees.

#4 Secret shoppers

Retailers are beginning to turn to “secret shoppers” to find talent. Current employees go undercover and visit local establishments, both making purchases and bringing back returns. They watch for customer service and selling skills, which are important across all industries, and they are more than happy to train recruits who have them in abundance.

#5 Competitor poaching

Some companies take poaching to a whole new level. One company, for instance, bought advertising on the bags used in restaurants frequented by their competitors’ employees. Another company wrapped an RV with their own company’s advertising and set up camp on a competitors’ parking lot so they could catch people leaving for lunch. 

#6 Incentives

Nothing is quite as powerful as knowing you’re wanted. One video game maker raised the bar on incentives when it sent each of 100 specifically-targeted programmers an engraved iPod…that just happened to contain a recorded invitation from the CEO. Out of the 100 targeted programmers, 90 responded, and three left existing jobs to come on board.

#7 Challenges

Challenges can be a stroke of genius when it comes to recruiting top talent. For one thing, cleverly-designed challenges can stir up a lot of interest as people in the targeted field share it with one another. And, if it’s designed to highlight the skills the job in question requires, it works as a screening test. One company won’t even accept a resume from a programmer who can’t hack into its system.  Another company posted monthly programming challenges and even offered cash rewards for the correct solutions. This strategy is great for finding extremely talented individuals who don’t fit the typical mold (like having a certain college degree).

#8 Catchy advertising

Advertising is everywhere…so much so that it can be tough to attract any sustained attention. One company decided to beat the odds by buying ad time in theaters. Movie-goers were treated to a video of the company’s employees showing off random, whacky skills that had nothing to do with their jobs. Because the clips were so random, people immediately visited the company’s web site to see what they did.

#9 Apps

There really is an app for everything. Some companies have created apps that highlight their business and culture…and just happen to have a link to open positions.

#10 Gamification

In what just may be the most innovative strategy yet, some companies are designing games that not only generate interest in the company, but actually highlight the skills they’re looking for. One hospitality company, for instance, created a “my hotel” game, where users run their own hotels. The game includes a “try it for real” button that takes users to the job listings. Another company lets users be virtual employees, trying out the tasks that are usually assigned to that position.


When we hear so much about the economy being bad and the employment rate being high, it’s easy to forget that some companies really stretch the envelope when it comes to finding recruits. But, since the top talent is usually employed and not actively job-hunting, techniques like these give companies an edge in finding people who may not otherwise be interested. 


Image: iStock

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