Six Cost-Effective Recruiting Ideas: Attracting the Best Job Candidates on a Budget

By Jeremy Eskenazi

Recruiting can be challenging in any economy. When times are good, top candidates have many options, and when times are bad, employed people don’t want to make a move. As with any challenge, it’s important to tackle it strategically, and recruiting is no different. When it comes to acquiring talent, having your sourcing strategy and process in place should happen before you need to hire someone.

You may wonder why you would need to know your search strategy before you need candidates. With the market quickly fluctuating, it’s important to know where to look and what type of talent you will be looking for. This is because as much as you want to snap your fingers and have amazing candidates appear, it often takes a lot longer.

Once your talent acquisition strategy is in place, you can think about where you would find the kind of talent your business needs to continue to be successful. To help you move forward, here are six low-cost and no-cost sourcing channels to consider as part of a recruiting strategy:

1. Referrals

Employee referrals are the number one source of candidates by far. And they’re usually rated the best quality source. Employee referral programs don’t always have to have a monetary reward, though many do. The best programs focus on recognition and simplicity.

Recognizing employees for their referral quickly is key. Instead of monetary rewards, think about other less costly rewards that focus on the recognition. Try not to put too many barriers on participation. Also be sure to have a process for recognizing referrals immediately, and follow up with them to ensure success. If you pay a reward, consider paying it immediately upon hire, and investigate ways to pay, such as with branded debit cards or at check ceremonies.

2. Job Boards

Job boards are great for attracting active candidates. Ensure that your team’s postings are well written from a candidate’s “what’s in it for me” perspective. Don’t use company acronyms and slang. Use the job board’s search system to discover and then borrow from great job postings. Make sure your posting is easily findable and refreshed regularly. 

Resume databases are quite expensive. Because of this, they aren’t an option if you’re focusing on low-cost resources. However, there are some other alternatives to this option such as free or niche job boards.

3. Social Networking

Social networks provide a great opportunity to find passive candidates who may not be applying to your job postings. Using social networks only help your recruiters find targets to contact, but you still must call or contact these people. Keep this in mind when planning your recruitment strategy. Since you have limited time, focus on the best resources:

LinkedIn: First, make sure your team members are easy to find on LinkedIn. Their profiles should be complete and public. Change the settings in LinkedIn to ensure that they are searchable by search engines. There are places on profiles to include links to websites for your company and other information. Your team should thoughtfully ask and answer questions in LinkedIn answers to be more findable.

Use LinkedIn Groups to join and start groups; you can post jobs there for free. Invite people who can expand your network to find the type of people you want. You can use these LinkedIn sources to build a list to call. Or you can email them directly, outside of LinkedIn. LinkedIn InMail has limits and is more expensive.

Facebook: Facebook still targets a slightly younger audience. It’s harder to find sources on Facebook, but your team can use regular searches to find their co-workers, classmates, and others to get beyond their own network. Search for friends on Facebook or leverage it to find candidates to join Facebook pages that are appropriate to you and your jobs. Facebook company pages are also great ways to attract candidates.

Twitter and Instagram: It’s even harder to find people on these platforms, but a lot of posts are public and searchable. Use these sites to broadcast your jobs to relevant people or talk about your company’s culture. Post video job descriptions, starring employees or your CEO.

4. Blogs

Search relevant online blogs for subject matter experts and sources of candidate referrals. Review the About Me section. Also look at their blogroll (a list of links to other sites) to find others who share the same interest. Discussion groups are great places to search too—you can simply review their content and decide if you want to pursue them.

5. Internet Search

Searching for candidates online is an even more specialized skill—and one that is free, provided the recruiter has the skill to do it well. Great resources are available to learn how to do this even more effectively. Remember, however, that the lowest-cost solution may not always be the best resource to save money, as it may end up taking an unskilled person too much time to complete the task.

6. Resume Mining Services

Instead of buying expensive resume database access, consider using a resume mining service. These services offer a low-cost solution on a per-job basis or in packages of jobs. The work they do is simple: they scour internet online resume databases for actual resumes and provide them to you, usually overnight. Most services can offer an additional resource to do quick telephone screens on the resumes submitted.

Sourcing can be stressful, but with a game plan and a little creativity, you can find the best talent with little or even no budget. Good luck with your sourcing efforts.

Jeremy Eskenazi is an internationally recognized speaker, author of RecruitConsult! Leadership, and founder of Riviera Advisors, a boutique recruitment/talent acquisition management and optimization consulting firm. Jeremy is not a recruiter, but a specialized training and consulting professional, helping global HR leaders transform how they attract top talent at some of the world’s most recognized companies.

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