The 20 Best Recruitment Strategies to Attract Top Talent

Christopher Thoma
Christopher Thoma

Head of Media & Marketing

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

selecting résumés from the best recruitment strategy

The labor market appears to be flourishing fast across the globe, as countries recover from the effects of COVID-19. Job vacancies in the UK have reached another record high of 1.3 million, while the picture is more varied across EU member states. In the USA, vacancies rose to 10.9 million in December 2021.

For recruiters, this means that the recruitment market has become a very competitive place. I can speak from first-hand experience here having hired numerous people over the last few years.

Any organization wanting to gain a competitive advantage and distinguish itself needs strategies that are effective in hiring the best candidates. In this article, we will look at some original approaches.

1. Create your employee value proposition

An employee value proposition is principally the reason why employees want to work for your organization. It highlights the characteristics that describe the “employee experience”.

To create your EVP, include details of your compensation and benefits package. Prospective hires also want to know about other aspects of your workplace, such as development opportunities, interesting and varied work, employee empowerment, and employee wellbeing, so make sure you include these too. Details about your organization’s culture and values, such as diversity and inclusion, green credentials, and positive management styles need to be highlighted too.

Publish your EVP on your website’s career page, post it to social media, and place a link to it in your job adverts and candidate packs.

2. Develop your employer branding

Many people think that the employer brand is the same thing as the organization’s marketing brand, but they are very different. Employer branding is about what candidates think about the prospect of working at your organization. It’s your reputation in the job marketplace. In fact, 75% of jobseekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying, according to data compiled by LinkedIn (PDF).

Employee branding is closely linked to the EVP. It’s about making sure you embed consistent messaging across the channels you use for recruitment, and signals to prospective employees that your organization would be a good employer and a great place to work.

On that note, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of your marketing team to align your employer and corporate brands.

3. Publish articles and insights

More research by LinkedIn (PDF) shows that 70% of the world’s talent is passive, waiting to be enticed by a better job opportunity. Becoming visible to these passive candidates through thought-provoking and motivating articles about innovations or the latest thinking in your industry might just stir the passive into action.

Sites such as LinkedIn, Medium and Beam offer the opportunity to reach a global audience to engage with. Your current workforce knows your business and industry sector, so involve them as article contributors.

4. Run an advertorial

An advertorial is an advertisement in the form of editorial content.

View your advertorial like you are a journalist. Create an interesting story about your workplace, one that highlights why your organization is a great place to work. You could, for example, describe your work–life balance practice and how you achieved it. Include quotes from your workforce about how this benefits them.

As a recruitment strategy, instead of directly advertising vacancies, you can generate an awareness of your employer brand's voice. Don’t forget to include a link to your careers page on your website, and choose industry- and role-specific publications so that you are targeting the right audience.

5. Set up an employee referral program

Employee referral programs can be a great incentive for your current workforce and can help organizations find the talent they need quickly. It involves sourcing candidates via recommendations from existing employees or people in your professional network.

For employee referrals, it’s always a good idea to formally set up standard procedures to communicate vacancies to your workforce and to take referrals. You may need to set a budget as, traditionally, they involve a reward for the referral, such as a bonus, vouchers or extra time off.

ERPs have the benefit that your employees know your organization and whether the suitably qualified person they are referring will fit with the culture.

6. Employ gamification

Gamification is now a buzzword across almost every industry. It involves the application of gaming science and behavioral psychology to incentivize people to behave in a certain way, whether they’re jobseekers, employees or customers.

In recruitment, gamification is the strategic attempt to recreate job-like experiences and scenarios in the form of a gameplay environment to motivate and engage users; ultimately, those who perform best are likely to be interviewed and hired.

If you’re considering using this strategy, there are crucial questions you should ask yourself, including:

  • What type of game will this be?
  • What does success look like for recruitment?
  • How will we align it with the job skills and knowledge needed?
  • How will we measure results?

7. Get social

According to Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation survey, 92% of recruiters use social media to find high-quality candidates. A large part of people’s lives plays out on social media, and this is not just their social lives, but also when looking for new job opportunities via online recruiting channels.

On social media, one size does not fit all, and content that might work for Instagram won’t necessarily translate to LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook. Identify where your target audience visits and tailor your content accordingly.

You can incentivize your workforce to post job opportunities to their social networks too. Make sure that you use analytics to track engagement data to identify the most successful channels.

8. Film a recruitment video

Employee-generated videos can engage and attract the best talent when used as a recruitment marketing strategy. Videos can make it easy for your current workforce to tell their unique stories about working for your organization in a personal way, helping you to showcase the individuals that make your company a great place to work. They also help you to build a strong employer brand.

A good recruitment video is clear, concise and straight to the point, and introduces the organization, its culture, employees and value to prospective candidates. The video aims to help candidates to understand what your company does and how they’d fit in.

Post the video to social media and on your website’s career page. You could also include a comments section to engage viewers.

9. Use virtual reality

Leading on from recruitment videos, one of the hottest trends in the tech world right now is the use of virtual reality. VR recruitment is a way of utilizing virtual reality to attract potential applicants to join an organization.

Design simulated office tours to show off your workplace environment. Give candidates a more realistic and immersive insight into the role and the people they will work with.

Use links to your VR in job adverts and social media, on your careers page, and in any responses to applicants. This recruiting strategy will boost your talent sourcing as people will share the link. It will help to elevate your employer brand as an organization that stands out from the rest in a crowded job market.

10. Start an employee testimonial podcast

Podcasts have gained enormous popularity. Listeners want to hear experiences from “real” people, so what better way to publicize what a great place your organization is to work for than to have your employees tell people?

Podcasts (between 10 and 20 minutes in length) where an employee or groups of employees talk about their own experiences at work, perhaps even including an interactive Q&A section, can promote your organization far more effectively than a carefully worded advert.

11. Revamp the recruitment process

Most organizations that advertise vacancies often receive a high volume of responses, and not all are good quality. Sifting these can waste valuable time and resources. So, renovating the recruitment process to include relevant skills tests at the application stage can automate the sifting stage to produce only the most adept candidates.

Candidates have an opportunity to showcase their talents, and this strategy also has the added benefit of providing unsuccessful candidates with automated feedback on their test results.

12. Treat your candidates as you would your customers

Most companies provide their customers with handy guides on things like engaging with the business, placing an order and comprehensive FAQs. Why not do the same for your potential employees?

Supplying guides on how to structure their applications and tips for interviews, for example, will not only help the candidates but also show them that you care about your employees. It will also save you time in the long run as, if they follow your guides, you will get quality applications.

13. Host industry events

These don’t need to be sizeable events; you could even host a regular online round table. The aim would be to get to know key personnel and thinkers in your industry, and they will get to know you and your organization.

Not only can this open up a new stream of potential talent for your company, but it will also help to promote your employer brand.

14. Do the milk round

This has nothing to do with delivering milk. This classic recruitment strategy has been reassuringly proven over many years. The idea is to enable university students to meet some of the people working for your company, to hear about the opportunities available, and find out about development programs that you offer.

More recently, milk rounds have been taken online, which has the advantage of targeting more universities both at home and abroad. Hiring graduate talent from the source is a great way to grow your own talent.

15. Offer apprenticeships

This is another way to grow your own talent. Nowadays, apprenticeships are offered for a vast range of areas, including human resources, project management, technology and marketing.

Most people will have more than one career in their working lives, and apprenticeships are a great way to retrain people who have transferable skillsets.

16. Create your own talent pool

By setting up a careers page on your organization’s website, you can invite prospective employees to register their interest in working for you.

To keep their interest when there are no vacancies, send regular newsletters, job alerts or links to your company’s blog. This database can be an invaluable recruitment tool.

17. Keep in touch with past employees

Just because someone has left your company, it doesn’t mean that they might not be interested in returning for the right role.

If that person left you on good terms, perhaps to develop their career, they might just consider returning when a more senior position arises. You not only get a candidate that knows your organization but also the additional skills and experience they have acquired along the way.

18. Invest in headhunting

When you think of headhunting, you may think headhunting consultants, and they are a very useful resource. However, many organizations headhunt using networking sites such as LinkedIn.

Members can direct-message potential talent to alert them about openings in their organizations, having examined the candidate’s published profile.

19. Run a TV advertising campaign

Any organization that has multiple vacancies to fill may find running a TV advertising campaign a productive recruitment strategy.

Showcasing your company as a fast-paced, growth industry with a great range of opportunities for employees will send a message that you are an employer of choice.

20. Run an open assessment center

Face-to-face or online open assessment centers can provide prospective candidates an opportunity to experience activities they may encounter in your workplace without the commitment of making a formal application. And they can be fun.

Your company benefits from being able to see how the candidates work together and perform as individuals before inviting them to interview.

Final thoughts

Recruiting is complex and ever-changing. Despite the pandemic, the job market is particularly buoyant and highly competitive for employers. Technology is playing an increasing role in recruitment methods, and not only for larger employers. It is now accessible to everyone at minimal costs; it just takes a little creativity and imagination to utilize effectively. We have highlighted a selection of these strategies in this article, as well as some tried-and-tested approaches that are still successful.

Identifying and selecting the right recruitment strategies for your organization can help you attract the best applicants to your positions. Whichever strategy or strategies you use, be sure to collect data on their effectiveness. You will want to evaluate and calculate the return on your investment!

Does your company employ any other recruitment strategies that we haven’t covered here? What are they, and how successful have they proved in attracting top talent? Let me know in the comments section below.