10 Recruiting Methods to Widen Your Talent Pool

Ever since the high unemployment rates of the Great Recession, the tides have been gradually turning to favor job seekers. Today, the United States job market is thriving, bringing low unemployment and many perks for candidates.

While a good sign of the overall economy, the flip in the job market has also brought along several challenges for companies. Employers have had to change the way they approach hiring to stay competitive.

What a low unemployment rate means for hiring managers

Employers are now reporting that many candidates are “ghosting” interviews and their first days of work. In other words, candidates are failing to show up to work or follow up with their recruiters at all and without a word in advance. While those applying for management-level positions are less likely to ghost, the trend is happening across all levels of positions. The normal expectation is that employers ghost candidates due to the sheer volume of applications, but the tables have certainly turned.

Companies are taking action and changing up their recruiting tactics to attract candidates and retain talent. High salaries, relaxed dress code, and remote work options are all common work perks that employers have been using to lure candidates through the door. With stiff competition between companies, these differentiating factors help boost a company’s appeal.

An additional retention tactic is creating jobs that hold a long-term future in the company and communicating this to both current and future employees. The strategic value of HR makes it an integral part of a business’ strategic planning process. Hiring managers need to proactively hire for positions that will help the company achieve its future goals. By having a long-term plan in place, candidates can more easily envision their role in the company and a stable future. Expanding recruiting tactics ensures that HR is filling these critical positions with the appropriate talent that might have been off the radar before.

10 recruiting methods to up your hiring game

Maybe your company has a tried and true method to hiring that it’s been using for years. Your company may also need a more diverse talent pool for a company refresh. Whatever the situation, any hiring manager will benefit from trying a new approach to talent acquisition.

Here are 10 recruiting methods to try to tap into some unexplored talent territory.

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn specifically is the most powerful tool for recruiting among all the social media platforms. While a LinkedIn company profile should be groomed and managed for any curious candidates, the true recruiting power is in LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities. With an upgraded subscription, recruiters can search for any number of candidate characteristics, such as education, current and former positions, and company. You can then reach out directly with a message or foster relationships by connecting.

2. Social media

Apart from LinkedIn, social media channels like Instagram and Twitter serve as vehicles for employer branding. When candidates visit a company’s social media profile, they can gauge important aspects like company values, culture, and what to expect on the job. Especially in a tight labor market, creating an attractive brand through social media is a must. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a survey on how often employers used social media for recruiting. It found that from 2008 to 2013, the percentage of companies using social for hiring purposes went up from 34 to 77 percent. If you’re not using it, you’re in the minority and losing out.

3. College career fairs

Recruiting events at colleges allow you to target a specific region or industry. They are also ideal for hiring for internships and entry-level positions that require a higher education degree at the very least. While you can add this qualification information to job descriptions, career fairs allow you to zero in on the target audience directly. You don’t have to be a large corporation to succeed, either. What matters is that you convey an impression of quality and professionalism for these job fairs to be beneficial to your hiring goals.

4. Alumni mixers

Continuing to work with universities and colleges, alumni events build on prior university relationships but target a different group of candidates. While some schools may also offer alumni-specific career fairs, many will also host networking mixers where alumni can mingle and meet new professionals. These events provide a friendlier and more laid-back environment to have one-on-one conversations with both active and passive candidates.

5. Networking events

Networking events come in all flavors, serving a range of industries and demographics. Look into local chambers of commerce and career development groups that hold regular networking mixers. Like alumni mixers, these kinds of events may require a longer-term commitment to build trust and relationships with other attendees. In the end, you’ll build a very established and loyal network of professionals that will have you top of mind when seeking out job opportunities for themselves or others.

6. Local associations

Local associations and industry organizations are incredibly plugged into the local scene and have the most up-to-date information. Apart from serving as a tool for recruiting purposes, these organizations are able to provide tips on hiring trends across the industry, so you can avoid hiring risks. What are the most innovative technologies that professionals in the field should know? What are competing companies doing to innovate their hiring solutions?

7. Industry conferences

Conferences range from open floor expos to highly formatted talks and workshops. These are especially great locations to recruit for specific industries or job positions that require hard-to-find skills. The benefit of industry conferences is going straight to the talent source, rather than waiting for active job seekers to find your job postings online.

8. Employee referrals

Consider tapping into the social networks of A-players in your company. They may know quite a few professionals from their education, previous jobs, or personal network that are looking for new jobs. Employee referral programs incentive current employees to always have their own network top of mind when a new position becomes available. Once you have a referral candidate through the door, your hiring processes are then able to screen for adequate qualifications, so a level of quality is still maintained.

9. Search firm

Recruiting agencies, staffing firms, and personnel services allow companies to outsource their specific hiring needs to save time and money. Companies are then able to focus their time on running the day-to-day functions. Search firms also take a deeper dive into professional networks that are otherwise unavailable to many companies. Looking beyond a resume, they humanize hiring by preferring to build personalized relationships with many candidates that may not initially be actively looking for new employment.

10. Look internally

Of course, depending on the company size, the most logical place to look to fill job openings is within the company itself. Hiring internally actually saves companies costs and time, which also accounts for spared training periods and transitions. Current employees are already familiar with company culture, operating models, and policies. Additionally, star employees who may otherwise consider leaving for career growth will re-find their purpose and motivation by staying with the company in a different role.


A wider talent pool means more opportunities to hire diverse candidates. It’s been proven time and time again that companies with diverse workforces benefit from higher returns, increased productivity, and creativity. In a job seekers’ market, especially, it’s necessary for companies to step up their hiring processes and rethink the recruiting strategies that are no longer effective. Periodically try out new recruiting methods to ensure your workforce is top of the line.

Brett Farmiloe

Brett Farmiloe

Brett is a co-founder of a leadership search firm, Y Scouts, based in Arizona, USA. He's also CEO of a digital marketing agency and contributes a monthly column to Forbes, SHRM, Inc.com, and Huffington Post. Follow Y Scouts on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Brett Farmiloe

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