Making A Deal

5 Secret Recruiting Tips from HR & Recruiting Pros

Are you tired of toughing it out during a recruitment lull? “Work smarter, not harder,” only solves so many problems when you’re staring down a list of open positions and wondering what else you can do to find and engage candidates who are qualified for the role.

If you’ve exhausted all of your go-to recruitment techniques or you just need some fresh new ideas, then today’s blog post is for you. Read on to learn about five unconventional recruiting tips from recruiting and HR pros who have invested their entire careers in finding, interviewing and hiring the right candidate for the job.

1. Don’t Limit Your Search to Candidates With Similar Work Histories

While there are many situations in which you might want to screen candidates to make sure that their previous experience is similar to the role you’re hiring for, there are just as many situations in which that may not be the best approach. Mikaela Kiner, CEO & Founder of uniquelyHR, often focuses her search on raw smarts and potential rather than line-by-line overlapping work history.

“Rather than asking only if the candidate has done similar work in the past, I use scenario-based questions to determine whether he or she can do what’s needed,” says Kiner. “A candidate who’s intelligent, driven and good at problem-solving often has far more potential versus someone who meets the basic requirements of the job.”

[Related: Recruiting Budget Template]

2. Ask Candidates What They Don’t Want

Brianna Rooney, founder of software engineer recruiting company, Techees finds that asking candidates about what they want doesn’t always get to the bottom of a good position for them would look like. Instead, she invites deeper conversation by asking what they don’t want.

“By asking this question, I’m able to place people with jobs or companies they never even thought they’d like because you never know what you don’t know until you know it,” says Rooney. “People pigeonhole themselves into thinking they want something in particular and don’t open their eyes to other possibilities until they look at it in a different way.”

3. Cut Through the Hype With Personal Questions

Candidates often approach an interview as an opportunity to hype up their accomplishments and show what a great job they’d do if they landed the job. But this approach can lead to an impersonal and sometimes fake social interaction. Dave Lopes, Director of Recruiting at Badger Maps, breaks through the veneer to see who’s really underneath the resume and the accomplishments by asking more personal questions at the start of the interview.

“Recruiting requires strong communication and listening skills, but most importantly an ability to gauge potential when candidates are (usually) providing us with a facade,” says Lopes. “I always ask the question, ‘What makes you happy?’ ‘What are you passionate about?’ as an icebreaker to give us insight into who the candidate really is.”

4. Consider Non-Ivy League Candidates

Hiring managers and recruiters want to bring in the best of the best, but Lopes thinks restricting searches to graduates of Ivy League and upper echelon schools can prevent companies from building a strong and diverse culture.

“Yes, Stanford has an excellent MBA program, but the curriculum is strikingly similar to the MBA program at CSU East Bay, where the student body is rich in diversity and reflects the community,” says Lopes. “Try to remember that there are thousands of highly qualified people who may have taken a different path towards education or experience. Most millennials aren’t fortunate enough to go to Stanford or UC Berkeley, but they are just as ready, qualified and eager as their counterparts.”

[Related: Facebook’s Head of Diversity: There Should Be a Diverse Candidate for Every Open Role]

5. Hire With the Whole Company in Mind

Tammy Perkins, Chief People Officer at Fjuri, says even though you’re hiring one position at a time, you need to hire with the whole company in mind. It may be easy to think of your list of open positions as a series of unrelated checkboxes on a to-do list, but in reality, they’re deeply interconnected.

“Each hire and promotion impacts the culture and business results and acts as a magnet for other talent,” says Perkins. “Look for candidates who have high performance and high potential capabilities to help you achieve future growth – not just industry veterans or MBAs, but talent with drive, scrappiness, grit and resilience. Ultimately you want to have a mix of different high performers and high potentials who will scale with your company because inevitably what you’re doing today will continue to evolve in the future.”

Learn More & Download:

How to Recruit the Informed Candidate

A guide to attracting, recruiting and hiring informed candidates on Glassdoor