Star search: 10 unique recruitment ideas you should try

Star search: 10 unique recruitment ideas you should try

It may be time to try some unique recruiting ideas if you’re getting more misses than hits. There are pros and cons for every recruitment tool; and other factors, like low unemployment, can also contribute to lackluster results.

Popular standard recruitment tools:

  • Craigslist
  • Employee referral incentives
  • Family
  • Job fairs
  • LinkedIn
  • Newspaper classified listings
  • Online job boards
  • Recruiting agencies
  • Social media accounts
  • Temp agencies

One of the pros of online recruitment tools is the easy access to a large pool of job seekers. But that can also be a con. You may have to wade through a lot of applicants to find a few strong swimmers with the skills and experience you desire.

If you’re a nervous Nellie about pulling your job listings—don’t; just add a couple of these unique recruitment ideas to what you’re currently doing. These ideas target a smaller base of candidates. And, some of the ideas require you to get out of the office occasionally—which might be a good idea, especially on a Friday afternoon!

Unique Recruitment Ideas – Ready, Set, Go!

Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)

Human resources professionals know the “human” part of their jobs comes with some inconvenient truths like the complex issues of employees who have the chemical disease of alcoholism. A recent study by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that nearly one in 10 full-time workers in the United States has had a recent substance abuse problem. Plus, between 2008 and 2012, analysis gathered from more than 111,500 adults with full-time jobs revealed 9.5 percent of them had an alcohol or illicit-drug disorder in the previous year.

Don’t let these sobering facts discourage you. People across the employee spectrum, from CEOs to interns attend A.A. meetings. Yes, some of them are unemployed because of alcoholism related circumstances. Often, once they are clean and sober, it can be a challenge for them to find work because of their past missteps. If you’re interested in being their do-over employer, follow these steps.

  • Revisit your company’s drug and alcohol policy to see if, knowingly, hiring someone who has a history of alcoholism/substance abuse is a practical risk.
  • Find A.A. groups online, and also contact the Salvation Army and other social service organizations to see if they are affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Ask A.A. facilitators if you can speak at an open meeting about your company and its staffing needs. (Nonmembers are allowed in open meetings.) Meetings are often held in community centers, churches, libraries, etc.
  • Ask facilitators to distribute your business cards, job listing flyers, and/or company website info.

Chamber of Commerce

Membership has its privileges! Free lunch meetings, professional networking, and opportunities to promote your company and its hiring needs are some of the benefits of joining the Chamber of Commerce. Use these tips to get the most benefits from your local Chamber of Commerce membership.

  •  Join at the highest membership level to have access to all member resources.
  •  Participate (beyond the free lunch meetings). Be a panel member, volunteer to assist with Chamber events, and use every open forum to share news about your company’s mission and its current hiring needs.
  •  Use the Chamber’s member communication tools, (monthly member bulletin, website, and social media accounts) to publicize job openings and hiring announcements.

Church bulletins

By the next Sabbath, a short blurb about your job openings could be in the bulletins of several places of worship in your area. For a minimal donation, you may get a couple of lines in the church bulletin and even a mention from the pulpit. And unlike a generic flyer, parishioners often keep church bulletins because they include religious passages, hymns, etc. for future spiritual contemplation.  Connect with local clergy and their parishioners with these steps:

  • Contact the business office of churches and other places of worship closest to your business first, and then expand from there.
  • Ask them what the submission deadline is for their Sunday bulletin printing schedule.
  • Get permission to post flyers of job listings on their church bulletin board and kiosk.

Door hangers

If transportation options to your company are limited, target potential employees near your business with door hangers. Here’s how you can attract local talent with these eye-catching advertisements:

  • Include your company bio/logo, street address/website address, human resources contact information, and a generic hiring statement:  “We welcome employment queries year round. Call us today!”
  • Hang them on the doors of nearby homes and apartment buildings that allow public access to each unit’s door.

Greek letter organizations

Many college Greek Letter organizations (GLO) have local undergraduate and alumni chapters. At the undergrad level there are recruitment opportunities for interns and future hires; at the alumni level opportunities abound to recruit experienced candidates in a variety of fields. Active GLO members often have large professional and social networks; which makes them a great source of referrals.  Here’s how to speak Greek to fraternities and sororities:

  • Contact college Panhellenic Associations for information about their undergraduate GLOs.
  • Contact the national headquarters of GLOs via their websites for information about alumni and graduate level chapters in your area.
  • Use contact info to ask chapter presidents for permission to present your company’s info and job openings to their members.
  • Partner with GLOs on their scholarship fundraisers and other community service projects to foster an ongoing job referral network with members of the organization.

HR meet and greet socials

The social network begins at home. Ask employees to invite one person (family member, friend, former coworker, etc.) who is looking for a new job opportunity to “socialize” with the HR staff and hiring managers. Break the social norms of recruiting with these meet and greet steps:

  • Prepare a flyer or invitation for guests that includes the purpose of the social (“We’re staffing up for the holiday season.”); and other details such as, to bring copies of their resumes.
  • Be clear with employees that only invited guests and hiring personnel will participate.
  • Prepare an agenda that includes refreshments, introductions, company mission, and your staffing objectives.


Birds of a feather connect on The Meetup website is a tool for meeting other people with shared personal and professional interests. Meetup member accounts are free, but there is an organizer subscription fee. Here’s how to meet prospective hires on Meetup:

  •  Peruse the Meetup site to see if there are other groups similar to the group you want to establish for your recruiting purposes.
  • Read the Meetup recruiting blog for the latest info and guidelines.
  • Be clear in your description of the group and its purpose.

Open houses

Welcome invited guests, local businesses, and the media to a company open house. This type of event allows for informal networking with potential employees and brings awareness to your business.  Put out the open house welcome mat with these tips:

  • Create an open house committee to handle the details of refreshments, invitations, entertainment, decorating, and the HR agenda (company mission, staff introductions, acknowledgment of donors other notable guests, etc.).
  • Invite previous job candidates (who you would consider for future openings); encourage employees to invite guests who are seeking employment opportunities; and invite the local media to, hopefully, get some free press coverage.

Senior centers

Second acts! Senior centers are filled with experienced, disciplined, and active people who retired early—generally before the age of 65. Many of whom are job hunting again because of financial necessity, boredom, or the desire for a second career! Here’s how to let seniors know you may have a second career for them:

  • Contact City Hall about connecting with senior centers in your area.
  • Ask senior center managers if you can do a presentation to members about your company and your job openings.
  • Send job flyers to senior centers to post on their bulletin boards.

Town hall meetings

Government legislatures have town hall meetings to communicate with the people they represent. The meetings often include guest speakers from government agencies, business people, and civil servants. These meetings are ideal for sharing information about your company’s community involvement. Follow these steps to represent your company’s mission and hiring needs at town hall meetings:

  • Contact your local government representative and ask them to provide you with a calendar of their town hall meetings.
  • Ask if you can be included on their roster of speakers for the purpose of sharing your company’s employment opportunities.
  • Ask if your job flyers can be placed alongside other handouts for attendees at the meetings.

Wash, rinse, repeat

When planning your recruitment strategy, consider the type of business/personnel you’re recruiting for, your ongoing staffing needs (high/low rate of turnover), and recruiting advertising budget (if you’re lucky enough to have one). More importantly, even when you have a pulse in every position–continue to recruit!

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