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Advice for Employers and Recruiters

18 strategies to recruit the top talent

Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
March 12, 2024

Recruiting the best students, recent graduates, early career, and other talent into an organization isn’t just an investment in human capital; it’s a strategic move that sets the stage for future success. In today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment, attracting top talent is more than just filling vacancies. It’s about bringing in fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and the drive that propels an organization forward.

Innovation and Competitive Edge: Students, recent graduates, and other top talent, fresh from academic institutions or early in their careers, often come with a wealth of innovative ideas and the latest knowledge in their fields. This infusion of new perspectives is crucial for staying ahead in a competitive market. They challenge the status quo, fostering an environment where creativity and innovation thrive.

Adaptability and Tech-Savviness: The younger generation of workers has grown up in a digital world, making them inherently tech-savvy. Their ease with technology and adaptability can be a significant asset in an increasingly digital workplace. They can navigate new technologies with ease, driving digital transformation efforts and improving operational efficiencies.

Brand Reputation and Attraction: Companies known for attracting and developing top talent often find themselves as employers of choice among job seekers. This reputation makes it easier to attract not just young talent but experienced professionals as well. A strong employer brand, built on a foundation of quality hiring and positive workplace culture, resonates beyond the organization, attracting customers and clients in addition to future employees.

Long-term Growth and Succession Planning: Investing in emerging talent is essential for long-term organizational growth. These individuals represent the future leadership and innovation drivers. By bringing them in early and investing in their development, companies ensure a pipeline of skilled professionals ready to step into leadership roles. This approach to succession planning secures the organization’s future and facilitates a smoother transition as seasoned professionals retire or move on.

We recently asked 18 leaders to each share one innovative strategy they use to attract highly qualified personnel to their teams and also their thoughts for how could other businesses could apply this strategy:

  • Involve Current Team in Hiring
  • Create Talent Nurturing Programs
  • Highlight Social Responsibility
  • Offer Workcation Opportunities
  • Personalize Recruitment with AI
  • Promote Social Impact Initiatives
  • Offer Continued Education Benefits
  • Host Industry Tech Talk Series
  • Exercise Patience in Recruitment
  • Utilize Employee-Generated Content
  • Implement ‘Day in the Life’ Recruitment
  • Cultivate Purpose-Driven Culture
  • Organize Reverse Job Fairs
  • Adopt Data-Driven Recruitment
  • Showcase Company Culture and Values
  • Narrate Compelling Job Listings
  • Offer Customized Voluntary Benefits
  • Partner with Talent Collaboratively

Involve Current Team in Hiring

My top advice is to include your current team in your hiring efforts as much as you can. The strongest candidates in any industry often have their choice of places to work, and they can afford to be picky about where they apply. If you can show them that they’ll have an excellent experience as an employee of your company, that can go a long way toward encouraging them toward your organization. A first-hand account straight from an employee will do a lot more to convey this than statements about the culture made by leadership or HR. 

We involve our team members in the hiring process in multiple ways. First, we incentivize employee referrals. When we have an open role, we inform current team members that we’re hiring and encourage them to inform any colleagues they think could be a good fit. We also include employee testimonials in our employer branding materials, as well as content like video walkthroughs of the workplace, that gives candidates a look behind the scenes into how we operate as a team. Finally, we include non-HR team members in the hiring process, getting their input on the skills and traits someone needs to excel on the team and having them meet applicants during the interview process. I’m proud to say we have a very strong team at The Energists, and I believe including the employee perspective in our hiring process is a big part of this.

Jon Hill, Chairman & CEO, The Energists

Create Talent Nurturing Programs

To excel in the competitive IT market and attract top-tier talent, we have established our own nurturing programs. These talent academies are free initiatives we’ve launched to provide all students with the opportunity to thrive in an IT career. Upon completion, students gain practical skills that are applicable in any company, including ours. We exclusively recruit the top 3-5% of graduates from our academies. Companies can take it a step further by establishing their own educational programs in collaboration with colleges and universities. This approach not only delivers cutting-edge knowledge but also attracts the most talented students.

Marina Dedolko, Senior Growth Manager, SENLA

Highlight Social Responsibility

Our best proposition to attract the best talent in our industry is this: We make a meaningful impact on the environment, people, and our community. Our efforts to reduce plastic usage in homes, provide fair working conditions for our team, and run micro-financing projects in our community are our main strengths in drawing and keeping talented people on our team.

Having our B-Corp certification plays a significant role in attracting individuals who share our values in working towards a more sustainable planet. This certification matters a lot because it confirms our dedication to high standards in social and environmental impact and officially recognizes us as a company driven by purpose. Our commitment to using business as a force for good is now officially confirmed, legally bound, and verified.

For other businesses, here’s my advice: Use social responsibility as your edge in attracting skilled people. I believe that nowadays, companies should move beyond just making profits and focus more on contributing to the greater good, regardless of their industry. Integrate social responsibility into your mission, and showcase your initiatives; people who share your values will naturally be drawn to you for the philanthropy and goodness that you bring to the world. Your commitment to social and environmental impact can be a powerful tool. This marks your company as purpose-driven, which resonates with many talented professionals today.

Antoinette Jackson, Creative Director & Founder, SuperBee

Offer Workcation Opportunities

At Startup House, we have a unique approach to attracting top talent by offering a ‘Workcation’ program where employees can work remotely from exotic locations for a certain period. This not only boosts morale and productivity but also attracts highly skilled individuals looking for a flexible and exciting work environment. Other businesses can apply this strategy by incorporating remote work options, team retreats, or offering sabbaticals to keep employees engaged and motivated. Remember, happy employees are the key to a successful team!

Alex Stasiak, CEO & Founder, Startup House

Personalize Recruitment with AI

An innovative strategy we employ to attract highly qualified personnel is the implementation of a personalized and technology-driven recruitment process. We leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning algorithms to analyze candidates’ profiles and preferences, tailoring our outreach and engagement strategies accordingly. This personalized approach ensures that candidates feel valued and understood, enhancing their overall experience with our recruitment process.

To apply this strategy, businesses can invest in AI-powered recruitment platforms that go beyond traditional keyword matching. These platforms can analyze candidates’ career trajectories, skill sets, and cultural preferences, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of each applicant. Customized communication, targeted content, and personalized interactions through automated tools enhance the candidate’s journey, making them more likely to view the organization as forward-thinking and invested in their individual success.

Moreover, integrating feedback loops within the AI algorithms allows for continuous improvement based on candidates’ responses and experiences. By adopting such innovative and personalized recruitment approaches, businesses can differentiate themselves in the competitive talent landscape, attract top-tier professionals, and build a positive employer brand that resonates with the expectations and aspirations of prospective hires.

Steven Mostyn, Chief Human Resources Officer,

Promote Social Impact Initiatives

Our social impact initiatives attract candidates who are passionate about making a difference. We highlight our commitment to social responsibility during the recruitment process, appealing to individuals who want their work to contribute to the greater good. This strategy has been effective in drawing candidates with a strong sense of purpose, aligning their personal values with our corporate mission. Other businesses can apply this strategy by emphasizing their social impact programs, attracting talent motivated by more than just salary but by the chance to contribute to meaningful change.

Jim Pendergast, Senior Vice President, altLINE Sobanco

Offer Continued Education Benefits

As a team of self-proclaimed, life-long learners, we utilize our continued education program to attract professionals who are just as passionate about ongoing development. Our employees receive an annual allowance that they can allocate toward a learning opportunity of their choice, such as attending a conference, obtaining a new certification, or participating in an upskilling workshop. 

Many highly qualified candidates are laser-focused on their career growth, and sharing our learning benefits during the interview process exemplifies our commitment to helping them achieve their goals. Businesses can apply this strategy by building a continuing education program that fits their budgeting needs and sharing applicable details with prospective candidates.

By attracting employees who are devoted to their professional development, a virtuous cycle is set in motion, where teams continue to learn and grow, resulting in positive business outcomes.

Shannon Ewan, CEO, ICAgile

Host Industry Tech Talk Series

One innovative strategy I’ve implemented is creating a ‘Tech Talk Series’ hosted by our company. This involves organizing regular events where leading experts and innovators in the tech industry are invited to speak about emerging technologies, best practices, and future trends. Not only does this provide valuable learning opportunities for our current team, but it also positions our company as a thought leader in the tech space.

To attract highly qualified personnel, we leverage these events as a networking platform. We promote them not just within our company but across the industry, inviting tech professionals from various backgrounds. It’s a great way for potential candidates to see the kind of forward-thinking and continuous-learning culture we cultivate. Moreover, it gives them a chance to interact with our team in a less formal setting, allowing both sides to gauge if there’s a good fit.

Other businesses can apply this strategy by identifying what unique value they can offer to potential hires. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a tech talk series; it could be workshops, hackathons, or even collaborative projects with educational institutions. The key is to offer something that not only benefits your team but also attracts the kind of talent that is looking for companies that invest in growth, innovation, and community engagement. This approach has helped us stand out in a competitive field and can be tailored to fit different industries and company sizes.

David Shuster, Managing Director, Managed IT Experts

Exercise Patience in Recruitment

This sounds quite obvious, but the strategy in itself is to learn to be patient. If you really want a candidate, then the worst thing you can do is storm in with offers and potentially spook them. Instead, really get to know them and work out both what you can offer them and whether that aligns with their long-term career goals as a means of clear retention if they do ‘jump’ over to your side!

Wendy Makinson, HR Manager, Joloda Hydraroll

Utilize Employee-Generated Content

We harness the power of employee-generated content. It’s authentic, relatable, and showcases our culture in action. Our team shares their experiences on social platforms, providing a candid peek into life within our company. This transparency resonates with potential hires who want a genuine sense of belonging.

To apply this strategy, businesses should encourage their staff to share workplace stories. It’s about creating ‘brand ambassadors’ within your own workforce. Equip them with a good story to tell, and let their networks become your talent pipeline. It turns employees into your most credible recruiters. Plus, it’s cost-effective and deeply personal.

Remember, the key is authenticity. It’s not an ad campaign; it’s real people sharing real experiences. That’s incredibly powerful for attraction and retention. Prospective hires see the human side of your business, making them more eager to jump on board.

Casey Jones, Founder, Head of Marketing, CJ&CO

Implement ‘Day in the Life’ Recruitment

An innovative strategy I employ to attract highly qualified personnel is implementing a ‘Day in the Life’ experiential recruitment approach. Instead of relying solely on traditional interviews, we invite prospective candidates to spend a day with the team, engaging in real-life projects, and experiencing the company culture firsthand. This not only provides a more authentic preview of the work environment but also allows candidates to showcase their skills in practical scenarios. It fosters mutual understanding and ensures a cultural fit. Other businesses can apply this strategy by incorporating immersive experiences into their recruitment processes, giving candidates a tangible sense of the company’s values, work dynamics, and expectations. This approach not only attracts top talent but also aligns individuals more accurately with the organization’s ethos, leading to more successful and satisfying long-term hires.

Omer Lewinsohn, General Manager, Marketing Expert,

Cultivate Purpose-Driven Culture

More than perks or promotions, top performers seek purpose, autonomy, and impact. So, I position EchoGlobal itself as a talent magnet. Through transparent communication, whether in one-on-ones or company meetings, I ignite our team by continually clarifying and reinforcing our core mission to guide innovators to environments where they can change lives. I outline each person’s critical role in realizing that vision. By nurturing a culture of initiative through flexible policies, equitable profit-sharing, and widespread leadership opportunities, I empower employees to stretch beyond their job descriptions, rewarding mentoring, and intrapreneurship. The results speak loudly: our voluntary 12% turnover is less than half the industry average. For any scale-up seeking standout talent, I advise shaping an engaging culture that aligns individual growth with corporate success. Give your team both compass and fuel—clarify and communicate the shared mission while distributing agency, accountability, and ownership. With the twin magnets of purpose and empowerment, your company becomes a platform for top performers to amplify their impact.

Lou Reverchuk, Co-Founder and CEO, EchoGlobal

Organize Reverse Job Fairs

Instead of traditional recruitment events where companies showcase their openings, we invite potential candidates to showcase their skills and projects to us. By flipping the dynamic, we create a collaborative environment where candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise and creativity directly to our team. 

This approach not only empowers candidates but also allows us to identify individuals who align with our company values and exhibit the innovative thinking and problem-solving abilities we seek. It can be inspiring and adopted by others, as this strategy can be organized with similar events or platforms where candidates can showcase their talents, fostering a more engaging and inclusive recruitment process that emphasizes mutual respect and collaboration.

Ashwin Ramesh, CEO, Synup

Adopt Data-Driven Recruitment

By leveraging data analytics, we’ve refined our recruitment strategy to more effectively target candidates who mirror the qualities of our most successful employees. This data-driven approach helps us attract highly qualified personnel by focusing our search and messaging on the traits that predict success in our company. It’s a strategy that has significantly increased the efficiency and effectiveness of our recruitment efforts. Other businesses could benefit from this approach by using data analytics to understand the key characteristics of their best performers and tailoring their recruitment efforts to find similar candidates.

Shawn Plummer, CEO, The Annuity Expert

Showcase Company Culture and Values

In my experience, one of the most innovative strategies I’ve used to attract highly qualified personnel is to focus on company culture and values during the recruitment process. I make sure candidates understand from the very first interaction what makes our organization special—the deep commitment to innovation, teamwork, and making a difference in our industry. 

During interviews, I share specific stories and examples that bring those values to life. I’ll talk about how we empower employees at all levels to take risks and try new things, or how the team recently came together to launch a volunteer initiative supporting local schools. Candidates see we don’t just post values on the wall but live them every day.

I find this focus on culture inspires top talent to join our mission and vision. One applicant told me our interview was the first time she truly felt a company’s passion and purpose. The right people are drawn to organizations with strong identities—where they can thrive and grow. By showcasing our differentiating values, we establish the foundation to attract those high performers.

Sai Blackbyrn, CEO, Coach Foundation

Narrate Compelling Job Listings

Transforming job listings into compelling narratives, rather than conventional descriptions, has been a game-changing approach to capturing the attention of potential candidates. By infusing the essence of our company culture, mission, and standout projects into the narrative, we elevated the appeal of our openings. The emphasis on storytelling conveyed the responsibilities of the role and provided a vivid depiction of the workplace environment. Our innovative job listings have become powerful tools to attract top-tier talent, as candidates are drawn to the engaging narrative that transcends the mundane. For other businesses looking to emulate this strategy, the key lies in showcasing the distinctiveness of their work environment, ongoing projects, and growth prospects. By weaving a narrative that resonates with the aspirations of potential hires, companies can transform their job listings into compelling stories that attract and resonate with highly qualified individuals seeking meaningful and impactful career opportunities.

Jeffrey Pitrak, Marketing Account Manager, Transient Specialists

Offer Customized Voluntary Benefits

As John Crist, founder of Prestizia Insurance, part of my responsibility is to ensure we’re not just a company, but a desirable place to work. With over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, I’ve found that one effective strategy for attracting highly qualified personnel is to offer a Group Voluntary Benefits program that is as rewarding for our team as it is for the clients we serve. This strategy is not just about financial remuneration, but about creating a culture of well-being within the organization.

Customization plays a crucial role in this. Recognizing that each employee has unique needs and concerns, we tailor benefits packages to match. This approach is adopted from our practice of personalizing customer insurance solutions, applied internally to show our team that their individual needs and well-being are a priority. This strategy enhances employee satisfaction, demonstrates our investment in their well-being, and naturally attracts top talent who are looking for employers who offer more than just a paycheck.

Moreover, we’ve found that effective communication and providing educational resources about these benefits have significantly improved enrollment and appreciation of these programs. By engaging in clear, continuous dialogue and offering ongoing support, we ensure that the value of these benefits is fully understood and utilized, further boosting morale and loyalty within our team. Other businesses can apply this strategy by evaluating their employees’ needs, aligning benefits packages accordingly, and maintaining open lines of communication to ensure these benefits are valued and understood. This not only attracts highly qualified personnel but also fosters a positive work environment that encourages long-term retention.

John Crist, Managing Director, Prestizia Insurance

Partner with Talent Collaboratively

One innovative strategy I’ve found effective in attracting highly qualified personnel to my team is to collaborate and partner with individuals rather than solely hiring them to work for me. By framing the relationship as a collaboration, it fosters a sense of ownership and mutual investment in the success of the project or company. This approach appeals to top talent who value autonomy, creativity, and a sense of shared purpose. It also opens doors to individuals who may prefer freelance or flexible work arrangements but still bring valuable skills and expertise to the table. Other businesses can apply this strategy by shifting their recruitment mindset from traditional employer-employee dynamics to one of collaboration and partnership, emphasizing the opportunity for individuals to contribute their unique talents and perspectives to the organization’s mission and goals.

Ben Davis, CEO, The Gents Place

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