4 Clever, Nontraditional Ways To Source Talented Job Seekers

4 Clever, Nontraditional Ways To Source Talented Job Seekers

Your company is hungry for new talent. And about 33% of workers—equating to millions of people—are hungry for new jobs.

It sounds like the perfect win-win situation. So why are your recruitment efforts producing dismal returns?

One major problem may be that you’re not putting your organization in front of interested candidates. It’s a little like looking for Bigfoot in the middle of New York City. If he exists, you won’t find him frolicking in Central Park. You have to take your search to shadowy places where he’s most likely to hang out with his cryptid buddies.

All joking aside, you can’t expect to fill your talent pipeline the way you once did. Today’s market is changing, so you have to get innovative and change with it. Below are four methods to uncover new streams of potential applicants eager to wow you during an interview.

1. Deemphasize the need for recruits to serve up a college degree.

Unless a role absolutely requires a higher degree, reconsider making a college education mandatory for every position. Many talented people have never taken the campus route, whether by choice or by circumstance. Yet that doesn’t mean they can’t become your highest performers.

Jeff Mazur, executive director for LaunchCode and an expert in scalable 21st-century workforce development solutions, is a firm supporter of looking beyond formal education when searching for new hires. As he writes in Harvard Business Review, college dropout rates are high because of pandemic-related issues.

“Plainly put, not having a college degree should not diminish your chances of securing a good job,” he says, adding that many employers are starting to acknowledge this reality. “When it comes to finding the right candidates, recruiters are now looking at talent pipelines outside of college pathways. For jobseekers without degrees, this means more opportunities, better pay, and loftier benefits than ever before.”

Don’t forget that once you bring someone into your company, you can help train them, too. Offering tuition assistance or on-the-job upskilling and reskilling can make you more attractive to candidates who would have liked to attend school but couldn’t. Best of all, investing in the education of your team members will ensure that you don’t fall behind competitively.

2. Toss out nets in untapped, uncharted waters.

Chances are strong that the same-old, same-old job boards just aren’t producing the same quantity or quality of applicants as they once did. Rather than lamenting this fact, move on. Look beyond the “obvious” places to find and attract people.

There’s no single way to get creative. You could try hosting an online multi-week boot camp and see whether any of your students seem like possible hires. Or you could partner with local schools to get older teens excited about your brand and business. To see how this can work, take a look at Boeing’s success.

Boeing has joined forces with eight historically Black colleges and universities to introduce young minds to the engineering world. Students involved in this project have the opportunity to learn from Boeing’s professional team. Simultaneously, Boeing gets a boost by shifting its entry-level talent strategy. Though this type of recruitment process takes time, it presents the chance to build deep, supportive bonds between the student and the employer.


You may not want to emulate Boeing. Nevertheless, use its successful, imaginative recruiting to springboard brainstorms with your hiring managers. Don’t forget to consider making certain positions remote if you can. This will allow you to appeal to job hunters from more diverse geographic locations.

3. Rebrand your internships and “returnships.”

Newer employees and those seeking to switch industries frequently look for internships. Now may be the right moment to make your internships more robust. After all, the more intriguing, challenging, and rewarding your internships, the more intern applicants you’re likely to get. And those interns could turn into employees down the road, so long as your internship offers value.

For example, could you give your interns increasing amounts of authority within well-defined parameters? Doing so enables you to gauge their capabilities under a wide variety of circumstances as well as identify hidden skill sets. Similarly, could you sweeten your internship with one-on-one executive coaching and other perks? The sky’s the limit when it comes to reinventing your internship game.

As you’re refreshing and reenergizing your internship program, remember to consider related initiatives like “returnships.” If you’re new to the “returnship” phenomenon, it’s a practice that’s happening as employees who left the workplace during the pandemic are coming back. A Today.com video shows that women are particularly interested in “returnships.”

Remember that any of your previous employees who left before or during the Great Resignation may be open to the returnship treatment, too. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that about 4.5% of all workers fell into the “boomerang employee” category in 2021. In other words, some people are finding out that what looked like greener pastures may be less attractive than they assumed and are looking to return to their old industries.

4. Bake transparency into your end-to-end hiring journey.

Transparency is a huge seller right now because employees are tired of feeling like they have to make a decision without all the answers. With that in mind, consider all the ways that you could be more transparent with candidates as they move through your recruitment funnel.

Take the issue of pay, for one. According to research from CNBC, approximately one-third of companies are transparent about salaries. That’s a small percentage considering that more job applicants want to know about pay scales, fair treatment, and competitive wages.

Pay isn’t the only place you can be more open and candid, though. Talk about what flexibility means in your organization, as the definition might not be the same for everyone. For some workers, flexibility is being able to work from anywhere, anytime. For other workers, flexibility means clocking in and out at different times each week with advance notice.

Unsure where your team is being less than transparent during your hiring? Take a walk through your recruitment pipeline from the viewpoint of a candidate. Are there places meriting greater explanation, right down to your job description? Being honest and upfront from the first impression will help forge trust from the beginning.

People want to work, that’s for sure. However, if they don’t know you’re looking for them, they can’t impress you with their experience, enthusiasm, or aptitudes. Therefore, make sure you’re not just visiting the same pond to fill your pipeline.


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