10 Creative Recruiting Strategies

people working together at the office

The best job advert gets the best jobseekers applying for a job. How creative do you think is your hiring strategy? Check these ideas to get inspired.

It looks like social recruiting is the modern form of recruiting. Socially engaged companies are more likely to attract top talent and according to the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey, a staggering percentage of 92% recruiters are using social media to hire new candidates.

The reason employers are using social media is to build brand awareness and properly engage with the vast pool of jobseekers. But how exactly do they achieve that? That’s easy. They make sure they stand out by creating attractive and innovative recruitment campaigns that any jobseeker would find difficult to resist.

See Also: Top 10 Funniest Recruitment Videos

If you are looking to hire skilled candidates, there are many ways to make your company a desirable place to work. Here are 10 creative hiring tactics that have proved effective at reaching out to top talent.

#1 Secret Job Descriptions

Many companies prefer to be discrete as far as it concerns hiring. IKEA is a prime example of the practice. In Sydney, 2011 the company added a leaflet of job descriptions inside every pack of furniture they sold. The campaign cost nothing, and the idea proved to be a big success with 4285 applications coming in and 280 resulting in new hires. For IKEA, the secret message not only proved to be intriguing for jobseekers but also reflected the company culture effectively.

#2 Making it Personal

Red 5 Studios did the unexpected. Instead of waiting for jobseekers to apply for a position, they decided to reach out to them and think outside the box. They selected 100 candidates – who were already employed and used social media to research them. After that, they sent them a personalised iPod with a message recorded from CEO Mark Kerr talking about the candidate’s work and inviting them to apply for the position. As it turned out, 90 out of 100 recipients applied and 3 got the job.

#3 Social Experiments

In an attempt to find the right candidates, the Swedish Armed Forces choose to do something out of the ordinary. Placing an anonymous black box in central Stockholm and leaving no instructions they waited to see if and how people would react to it. Every hour someone entered the room, and they could only leave the box if a total stranger was willing to take their place. The social experiment proved to be a huge success as the campaign got huge attention and received up to 9930 applications. This aimed to attract young people who looking for  a challenge and wanted to make a real difference in the world.

#4 Referrals                                

Recruiting through referrals isn’t anything new, but they continue to be effective. As a Jobvite survey confirms, 78 percent of recruiters find their best quality candidates through referrals, which proves this may be the best recruitment approach. Letting your employees know that you are looking for new candidates can really pay off. Offer them some good incentives e.g. money, a fancy dinner, extra vacation time, a trip to Hawaii or anything else you can think your employees want, just make sure you are being creative about it. 

#5 Challenging Candidates

Advertising company OgilvyOne launched a clever recruitment campaign to find ‘The World’s Greatest Salesperson’. Sharing a YouTube video on social media, they were calling out to applicants challenging them to ‘close the deal’ with the company by selling a brick.

The top contestants were given the chance to participate at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and the winner got a three-month paid fellowship with the agency. The idea was to spark the interest of people to apply as well as giving them an opportunity to prove their skills.

#6 Social Media Competitions

Mastercard Canada had the brilliant idea to create a competition on social media. Appealing to college students, they used the hashtag #internswanted giving them a chance to compete for an internship. The applicants who matched the job profile submitted their ideas to help the company create a ‘cashless future’ and were judged by the amount of ‘likes’ and comments their ideas recieved. Up to 532 contestants stood out and the campaign continued for additional hires.

#7 In-Game Job Recruitment

When Danish company Uncle Grey was looking to recruit Front-End developers, they decided to abandon any traditional form of recruiting altogether. A sponsorship deal with top players of the online game ‘Fortress 2’ promoted the company distributing posters and the recruitment page URL. This helped the company get more than fifty applications and led them to the ideal candidate. This showed the company to be proactive enough to go directly to the source, instead of waiting for applicants to apply through a job posting.

#8 Puzzles

It’s well-known that Google only wants to hire the best of the best, and this is clear through their recruitment strategies. In 2004, they put up a confusing billboard mathematical puzzle for passengers to see as they drove by. Those who were clever enough to solve it and got the answer of ‘’ got another challenge and upon completion there was a message that said:


“Nice work. Well done. Mazel tov. You’ve made it to Google Labs and we’re glad you’re here. One thing we learned while building Google is that it’s easier to find what you’re looking for if it comes looking for you. What we’re looking for are the best engineers in the world. And here you are.”

job search
job search

The campaign allowed Google to gain access to a group of jobseekers who were motivated, enthusiastic and great problem-solvers.

#9 Historical Examples

A great and easy way to attract job seekers is showing them something they are already familiar with. Since most people must have come across the image of ‘the famous finger’ from Lord Kitchener’s appeal to Britons, this can be used as an excellent recruiting tool. During WWI, this advert was created as part of a poster campaign that helped bring the army 1 million new recruits.

#10 Reality Shows

Now this has to be unique. When MGM Grand was looking for a new head chef, they decided to look internally find one while running their own version of the popular reality show ‘Iron Chef’. Candidates coming from a range of employment backgrounds were given a secret ingredient and instructed to put together a four-course meal in just an hour. The person who got the job was a 23-year-old sous chef who was working at a 24hour coffee shop and managed to increase restaurant sales by 400 percent. Quite impressive right?

See Also: Best Social Media Platforms for Recruiting

There are lots of ways you can make creative recruiting work for you. Whether it’s a competition, secret message, game or even a puzzle you can use it gain access to a pool of talented jobseekers.

Which approach would you choose? Let me know in the comments section below…