Creative recruiting: definition and how to implement it

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 August 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Recruitment is a valuable tool in hiring high-value employees suitable for a company's specific roles. Utilising the proper techniques helps attract the attention of talent outside of traditional approaches, providing an opportunity to find qualified candidates. Creative recruitment is one strategy that businesses use to advertise roles and encourage applications, utilising a range of mediums and platforms to generate excitement. In this article, we define creative recruiting, look at how to design a recruitment strategy and provide examples to consider.

What are creative recruiting strategies?

Creative recruiting strategies are ideas for hiring processes that fall outside of typical methods that many companies and recruitment agencies use. This kind of recruitment is a tool that recruiters often use to provide their clients with access to a broader pool of talent for unique or high-value roles. For example, a standard recruitment process may involve listing vacancies on a website to encourage applicants, while a creative approach may have you using social media advertising and unique campaigns to attract attention.

The specifics of creative recruiting vary depending on the audience and target job market of a vacancy. For example, recruitment for a graphic design position may involve different methods of finding qualified candidates than a company hiring for a CEO. Tailoring recruitment practices to the demographic of a role helps to connect with interested people and focus on the specific type of candidate that suits the responsibilities and specialisation of the job.

Related: 6 stages of an effective recruitment process

How to design a creative recruitment strategy

Creating an effective recruitment strategy requires good insight into your target industry and knowledge of the type of person you'd like to apply. Using this information to create a tailored plan for each position is valuable in connecting with strong candidates that are partly pre-qualified for the job before they begin the application process. Here are the steps you could take to design a creative recruitment strategy:

1. Consider the target audience

Thinking about the persona of the person you'd like to recruit is a valuable first step to understanding how to recruit for that role effectively. Consider the specific traits, knowledge and approach you'd like the person to have. For example, in a software development role, you may want someone passionate about development, has expertise in numerous coding languages and works well as part of a team in a fast-paced environment. Deciding the kind of person you'd like to hire up-front helps determine how to advertise to that audience effectively.

Related: Guide: External recruitment advantages and disadvantages

2. Look at the behaviour of your target market

Once you've defined your target market, you can examine the behaviour, attitudes and approaches that persona has in their lifestyle. For example, if your target audience is more likely to be found on a specific social media platform and is often posting or interacting with content on specific channels, this is the ideal way to target your recruitment. Behaviour is a valuable indicator that lets you focus your recruitment on methods that are more likely to be successful with a specific audience instead of within the general job market.

3. Create marketing materials for recruitment

Treating recruitment as a marketing activity is a valuable way to help your business stand out from competitors and attract high-value clients to roles. For example, having a solid and recognisable brand image that potential applicants recognise helps encourage people to apply for jobs. Targeting your marketing to the style and feel that suits your audience is also valuable. For example, recruitment materials for a start-up robotics company would differ from the style of marketing a multinational bank uses when hiring.

Related: What is recruitment marketing? (With benefits and stages)

4. Trial different recruitment options

Trialling different recruitment methods is a valuable way to understand what works within a particular industry. For example, posting advertisements on various social media platforms asking candidates to get in touch about potential vacancies can provide important insight into which option yields the ideal results. Comparing email marketing, social media, direct recruitment and website recruitment is helpful in understanding which connects to your target persona for the job.

Related: Hiring manager vs. recruiter: roles, differences and FAQs

5. Re-engage with past candidates

If you have existing candidates from previous roles, adjusting your recruitment strategy to include them may be a valuable way to get creative with recruiting. For example, allocating a budget to advertising a new job to an existing audience over emails or by post is helpful for re-gaining candidates already pre-qualified from previous interviews. The benefit of past candidates is they already know your industry and continuing positive connections with past applicants can help to continue those relationships into the workplace.

6. Focus on experience and benefits over practicalities

Ensuring your business is an exciting option within your industry for prospective employees requires a more significant focus on benefits and experiences over the practicalities of the role. While job and company websites list the full description of a job, featuring a brief overview of what applicants get out of working for the business is valuable in attracting positive attention. For example, creating recruitment materials that focus on how you help new employees grow, develop and move into new roles is a valuable introduction to selling your company to candidates compared to a general description of roles and duties.

Related: 11 effective recruitment strategies for attracting top talent

7. Encourage employee referrals

Employee referrals are valuable ways to gain recruits through word of mouth, a powerful marketing tool sales strategies often use to encourage customers to purchase products. In recruitment, word of mouth means candidates generally have an idea of the benefits and positives of your company from a friend, family member or acquaintance who is referring them to the role. As an alternative strategy, employee referrals incentivise existing employees to promote the brand while encouraging more qualified candidates to apply for relevant positions.

8. Get involved in your target industry

Being active and involved in your target industry is valuable for increasing brand visibility and connecting with potential individual hires. For example, a software development company could sponsor a coding boot camp, placing their brand and logo all over the competition to encourage attendees to learn more about the business. In the case of events and competitions, sponsorship can also provide the opportunity to headhunt skilled individuals, such as the winner of an animation competition, based on their displayed skills and knowledge.

9. Switch up your application process

Depending on your specific industry, traditional application processes may be unsuitable for potential employees. For example, businesses looking to hire older teenagers or young adults may have less success with more conventional recruitment that requires filling out online forms for five to ten minutes or longer. Instead, switching up the application process with UX-focused features, such as ratings, sliding bars and interactive components, is valuable for maintaining the attention of applicants to complete the submission process.

Related: 10 common recruitment challenges for HR professionals

Examples of creative recruitment

Creative recruitment applications vary depending on the target audience, industry or specialisation of the role. For example, a job in a modern IT company may be successful with different recruitment practices than a marketing agency. Some examples of creative recruitment strategies include:

Social media marketing campaigns

Social media marketing is valuable for recruiting younger audiences or technology-focused specialists. For example, a social media management company may advertise vacancies through their existing social media channels to connect with other specialists and create advertisements targeted to a particular demographic to seek candidates. Different social media platforms are popular with varied ages and demographics, providing opportunities to find a wide range of potential applicants.

Related: A guide to talent sourcing: definition and key strategies

Content and article campaigns

Content and article campaigns use brand activities and internal expertise to appeal to potential hires. For example, a company may create content for submission to a trade publication or post on a blog or professional social media channel to draw attention to their expertise. This recruitment method is valuable for high-level roles, where companies may headhunt professionals with the same values, focus and interests. For example, an article about DevOps techniques for application development could include contact details to enquire about vacancies within a development company.

Specialised recruitment website design

Designing a recruitment website is an effective option for larger businesses, such as franchise companies, that may recruit hundreds of candidates at once. A personality recruitment website designed for a target demographic and providing an interactive example of the company brand is valuable for attracting positive attention. For instance, a fast food franchise could launch a specialist website for job applications that includes a quick quiz or the ability to provide a video statement on your mobile phone to capture an appropriate audience.

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