Best practices

7 Unexpected Places to Find Great Hires

calendar icon 17th September 2021
book icon about 6 min read
7 Unexpected Places to Find Great Hires

Employees are the heart of any business. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s crucial to get your hiring process right. Luckily, there are now plenty of ways to find great hires, from online job boards to LinkedIn.

That said, competition is tough nowadays. The job market is saturated with other recruiters gunning for the same talent, so if you want to hire via traditional channels, you’re going to have to work twice as hard to get the high-quality candidates that you want.

If you need to find top candidates without dealing with too much competition, you need to be a bit resourceful. In this article, we’re going to discuss 7 unexpected places to find great hires.

1. Within Your Office

Employee referrals are still an underappreciated way of finding new hires. If you don’t have an employee referral program yet, then you should definitely consider it now. 

A great employee referral program can shorten time-to-hire, reduce costs, and even increase retention, among other positive benefits.

This kind of program relies on two key points. 

One, that your current employees are already immersed in the company culture, making them familiar with who else can fit in and why. 

And two, that they know a trusted person in their network who’s currently open to a new opportunity.

This isn’t just beneficial to your recruitment process, but to your relationship with your employees as well. An employee referral program can make your team feel more valued and heard, especially if you have great incentives in place. This helps boost their morale and improve your brand’s reputation in the process. 

Remember, if your employees love working for you, they’ll be walking advertisements of how good your company is, further encouraging top talent to apply to your job vacancies. It’s a never-ending positivity cycle that brings nothing but good things to your company.

2. Among Your Customers

If you want people who are already familiar with your brand and industry, looking towards your customers makes a lot of sense.

Think about it. They already know your company, they know your products and services, and they already trust you. They might even have a unique perspective that comes from their experience of being a customer.

While being loyal to a business doesn’t automatically mean that they would make great employees, you can assess their career potential during the interview stage.

3. In Places Where They Already Work (Not Just Competitors)

Although qualifications are a great indicator of an applicant’s potential, they’re still just indicators, not the end-all-be-all of hiring. In reality, a candidate might tick all the boxes in your job vacancy but still perform poorly once they’re in the actual position.

Meanwhile, a candidate with street smarts and the right characteristics might be perfect for the job, but they might not even think of applying if they lack the qualifications.

The best way to remedy this would be to source from places where the characteristics you want are often found. For instance, if you’re looking to fill some customer-facing positions in your new restaurant, you may want to look for retail workers who already exhibit your ideal characteristics.

4. In Online Communities

Reddit is what you think of when you want to take a break from work – not use it for work. What others may not know, however, is that it can generate great engagement.

Reddit, Quora, and other platforms that divide users based on interest is an easy, painless way to find people with the interests and skills that you need for the job.

It may not be LinkedIn – but it doesn’t have to be. Online community platforms can get the word out even to those who are not actively looking but might appreciate the opportunity.

It also doesn’t hurt that there are thousands of them around. One way to do this is to search for the position you need plus the words “online community.” For instance, if you’re looking for a new security analyst, simply search “security analyst online community.” You might be surprised at the breadth of the results.

Plus, if the job you’re looking for can be done remotely, these platforms can give you international engagement. 

5. During Competitions

Another unexpected place to find great candidates is industry or skill-related competitions.

For example, you can scout lots of great engineering or IT talent in competitions for coding or hacking. If they’re competing to win, you know that they’re driven and ambitious, which are great characteristics to have in any employee.

6. During Social Events

And no, we don’t mean job fairs. Although job fairs are a great way to build general awareness for your brand and maybe even hire for entry-level positions, there’s just too much competition for too little potential gain.

If you’re looking for a great candidate to fill an important position, industry events are a great place to spread your net. Examples include conferences, training, and local meet-ups.

Conferences

Events like these are a great way to expand your network. When you’re in an industry-related conference, you’re assured that the people there are involved and care about your industry.

More than that, being in a conference could also mean that they seek out opportunities to boost their qualifications. Employees generally want to improve for two reasons: to ask for a raise/promotion or to transfer jobs. There’s a high probability that you’ll find someone at the conference who’s looking for other job opportunities.

And it doesn’t have to be strictly about the specific industry you’re hiring for, as well. If you’re looking for applicants for an HR job, you shouldn’t just limit yourself to HR-related conferences. You can also check out conferences for IT team leads, retail managers or other jobs that deal with hiring a lot.

Training and Workshops

Training events are similar to conferences in that people go to these events to improve their qualifications. The only difference is that a training event is more targeted towards specific skills, whereas conferences are built around a market or industry.

It can be easier to source potential hires at a training event because you know exactly what they’re there for. For instance, attendees at a statistical tool workshop are likely great candidates for data analyst positions.

Local Meetups

Social events don’t always mean formal events. You can find informal meetups and social events for a wide range of groups in your area, whether it’s for hobbyists, professionals, or anything in between. These are great places to expand your network, especially if you go to one related to the industry or skill you’re looking for.

You can find local meetups in your area through websites such as Meetup and Eventbrite.

7. In Volunteer Events

Great candidates aren’t always busy chasing after their dream at a regular job. Often, they’re doing important, unnoticed work in their communities and beyond.

Volunteers often make for great employees. Volunteerism itself strongly suggests great personal values that you’d want to find in any employee: strong drive, selflessness, and industry skills.

More than that, community service often brings people together, and you can easily strike relationships with strangers that come from widely different backgrounds.

Engaging with volunteer groups can also help you increase positive brand awareness and make genuine connections at the same time. 

Finding Great Hires in Unexpected Places

If you want what nobody else has, find it where nobody else is looking.

As a recruiter, it’s your job to find the best hire possible. Unfortunately, sometimes, the best hires aren’t in the typical job markets. Sometimes, they’re not even looking for a job at all. It’s your job to seek these gems out.

Being creative with your recruitment efforts shouldn’t be your only plan – but exploring unconventional channels can augment your hiring efforts when done the right way. With everything that we discussed, now you know where to find great hires in unexpected places.