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10 Best Creative Recruitment Strategies to Attract Top-Tier Talent

10 Best Creative Recruitment Strategies to Attract Top-Tier Talent

10 Best Creative Recruitment Strategies to Attract Top-Tier Talent

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Recruitment is competitive with top-tier candidates exiting the job market within 10 days. With everyone vying for the creme of the crop and a global talent shortage, traditional recruitment techniques no longer cut it.

Without creative recruitment strategies to grab the attention of the best candidates, you risk your company fading into the background and dragging out the recruitment process.

By consciously thinking and acting more creatively, you automatically separate yourself from the competition, create a unique employer brand, and design irresistible job ads.

With the right methods in place, like gamification and AI, you can streamline your hiring process and drastically reduce the number of applications from potential hires who aren't a great fit.

Ready to have your pick of the crop? Here are 10 out-of-the-box recruitment strategies that'll help you move past traditional methods and towards attracting your dream candidates.

What Is Creative Recruitment?

Creative recruitment is a method to find, attract, and hire new employees through unconventional means.

With the number of unfilled job openings reaching 11.5 million, there's more competition (and pressure) to stand out and entice the best candidates than ever before.

In the past, traditional employee recruitment relied on a simple rinse and repeat process.

  • Step 1: Create a job description
  • Step 2: Upload to LinkedIn and a few select job boards
  • Step 3: Interview the top applicants

The only problem?

Everyone else is doing the same thing.

If you want to attract the best person for the job, infusing creative recruiting strategies into your process can open your company up to an untapped talent source and put you ahead of your competition.

10 Creative Recruitment Strategies

Before we jump into the best out-of-the-box recruiting strategies, remember that you don't need to implement everything on this list.

Select a few that align with your brand and then test, experiment, and analyze to find the best strategies that work for you.

1. Create Open-Source Documents

Ever heard of Github?

It's an open-source community for web developers. Devs come together from around the world to collaborate on code for open-source projects.

However, that's not all you can do with Github.

Follow Etsy's footsteps and create an open-source document detailing your competency framework.

Here, the global cross-border eCommerce company breaks down the career path for their engineers, what skills and competencies someone needs to progress through the company, and the expectations for each engineering level.

Why would you want to do this?

It's a great opportunity to show potential employees two things:

  1. What to expect from your company.
  2. How your career ladder works and whether it aligns with their career goals.

2. Leverage Social Media

With the average person spending 2 hours 27 minutes on social media every day, it's the perfect place to pattern interrupt and flex some innovative recruitment strategies.

Let's look at some companies doing just that:

  • Mark Jane, CEO of Intelex, wrote a LinkedIn article offering a $20k referral fee to whoever could introduce him to his next Chief People Officer. Two hundred shares and 120 application forms later, Mark found his dream CPO.
  • Goldman Sachs uses Spotify and Snapchat to advertise job openings to reach young talent.
  • Marriott Hotels has a dedicated careers Instagram page. The hotel giant posts regular job openings and shines a spotlight on Marriott's career stories to entice potential candidates to apply.
  • The National Public Radio's interns manage an Instagram account. It encourages other junior candidates to join the program and gives users a glimpse into what it's like working as an NPR intern.

3. Offer An Irresistible Employee Referral Bonus

Referrals are not a revolutionary idea but are you making the most out of your employee referral program?

If you're struggling to convince employees to engage, it's time to go through your process and identify how you can make it more enticing.

One of the best tactics?

A cash payout.

  • Ondeck offers $2,000 to any employee who refers a candidate that gets hired.
  • Thoughtspot shook the recruitment world in 2014 by offering a $20,000 employee referral bonus.
  • Raizlabs swaps the cash payment for a 4-day, 3-night trip to Florida Keys, Las Vegas, Maine, or a European destination.

Seems like a lot of money, right?

Well, your company is still getting a good deal when you put it in perspective.

According to Glassdoor, the average US company spends $4,000 to hire a new employee.

Then there is the time HR professionals spend manually screening resumes. On average, it takes 23 hours per hire, meaning you can save three workdays by incentivizing employees to bring in qualified candidates.

4. Use Niche Candidate Networks

What are your go-to sites for posting job ads?

If you're only using stock-standard job boards like Indeed, Facebook, or LinkedIn, it's time to switch things up.

Remember, the success of your creative recruitment strategies lies in innovation. If everyone posts open positions on the same major sites, it's too easy for your company to get lost in the noise.

Instead, brainstorm a list of other popular online communities your ideal candidates use.

Here are some examples to get the ball rolling:

  • Strike IT US used niche community boards on Reddit to source 111 hires.
  • Amazon ran a recruitment campaign on Tinder to find engineers.
  • Host a recruiting room on Clubhouse.
  • Host a Q&A session on Anchor.
  • Place an ad on a well-known industry blog.

You can add niche communities to your radar include Stack Overflow, Deviant Art, and Quora. Moreover, you can use specialized recruiting CRM software to import candidate profiles directly from platforms such as LinkedIn, saving time and expanding your talent pool with qualified candidates from this vast professional network.

5. Tap Into AI & Search Engine Tools

AI isn't only for banks, social media platforms, and Amazon.

It's a powerful tool for HR managers who want to improve the quality of their hires.

In fact, 56% of HR firms use AI for talent acquisition, and by 2023, research predicts that 77% of HR organizations will rely on AI for the hiring process.

How can AI help you?

  • Save time: AI can screen candidates before you, reducing a chunk of menial work.
  • Assess skills: Talent intelligence tools can test applicants' skills and knowledge.
  • Avoid bias: AI can analyze if an applicant's skill set matches the job spec, helping applicants be objectively shortlisted based on their capabilities and boost diversity.

The benefits of AI in recruitment don't stop there.

Take your creative hiring strategies one step further with Google.

While ranking on the first page of search results is no easy feat, you can use search techniques to attract top talent.


  • Use Google's Job Search feature: It will put your job ad in front of qualified applicants on search results and relevant websites.
  • Run PPC ads: If you have the skill set, you can try running PPC ads for specific search terms your dream applicant will use. It's similar to the job search feature, but if you know your applicants well enough, you can target specific long-tail keywords to grab their attention in places where your competition isn't hanging out.

6. Film Employee Testimonials Or Use Stories

Testimonials from your current employees are powerful social proof.

In a recent Future of Recruitment study, research showed potential candidates trust employees three times more than the CEO and other executives.

If you want to build the know, trust, and like factor as soon as someone lands on your careers page, whip out a camera and start recording short employee reviews from various departments. This process is essentially about creating impactful brand videos that shed light on your working environment and the experience of your employees, which potential recruits find more credible.

Why video?

Viewers retain 95% of a video's message compared to only 10% if reading it in text.

Use these interview questions to help your team open up and give you the sound bites that'll increase your applicant pool:

  • What is your favorite thing about working here?
  • What’s the workplace culture like?
  • How would you describe your coworkers?

However,  if your team is camera shy, create employee stories you can embed on your website and use on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram.

Here are some employee testimonial examples from other companies:

  • Harvest: The time-tracking app uses employee stories to highlight what it's like working for a remote company.
  • Automattic: Check out their playlist on YouTube featuring testimonials from their employees. The playlist has over 100,000 views and counting!
  • Hilton: The hotel giant highlights employees' career paths and achievements through its blog.

Speaking of video...

7. Create A Recruitment Video

While you have the camera out, create a recruitment video.

As mentioned earlier, viewers will retain more information making it the perfect content type to get your message across.

Head over to Mailchimp's career page, and it greets you with a high-production video of what it's like to work at the marketing automation platform. Thirty seconds in, you already know the company's vibe is quirky, fun, and creative.

At GrubHub, an online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace, the company asked employees one question for its recruitment video:

"What do you bring to the table?"

The format involves what GrubHub does best (food), shows off the workplace culture, and dives into what it's like working for the company.

Appian, a low-code automation platform, leans into pop culture with its recruitment video. Parodying the interview style of Vogue's popular YouTube series “73 Questions”, it follows employees around the office while asking questions like:

  • Where did you go for lunch?
  • What are you doing today?
  • Why Appian?

Not enough to get you to consider using video? Well, a CareerBuilder survey found that job postings with videos received 34% more applications. If you're looking to create captivating videos for your job postings, Veed could be particularly useful. This user-friendly tool allows you to effortlessly edit your videos, trim your videos, merge videos, and add subtitles to your videos, ensuring that your job posting videos are concise and impactful, ultimately attracting more potential candidates and boosting your application rates.

8. Create Thought-Leadership Content On Medium

When it comes to creative recruitment strategies, sometimes the magic lies outside the HR department.

Suggest to founders and other team members to start a blog on Medium. The blogging platform has a niche for every industry and is an excellent way to share personal stories, insights, and challenges. Moreover, exploring the potential of a guest post service can further enhance your reach and impact in the online community.

How does it help you recruit quality employees?

Think of it as a recruiting funnel. Potential active and passive candidates learn about your company through these posts and see first-hand how things work internally. This generates interest in the company and leads people to check out your careers page and send through their CV.

Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp, inadvertently used this recruitment method when he started publishing his thoughts on business and technology on Medium. His opinions helped the community while simultaneously growing his thought-leadership and creating intrigue around working for Basecamp.

9. Use "Easter Eggs"

Take a page out of Taylor Swift's book and hide "easter eggs" on your website, job ads, or inside your products.

What's an easter egg?

It's a hidden message or riddle.

You can use it to do three things:

  1. Create buzz around your brand
  2. Test an applicant’s skills
  3. Have fun

How does this work in practice?

Apple is one of the best examples of using "easter eggs" as a creative hiring tactic. In need of a curious engineer, the company created a hidden job ad on its site. Using clues, potential candidates had to solve the mystery to reach a page where they'd find out how to apply.

This unusual recruiting strategy helped Apple test applicants' skills and weed out those who weren't a good fit before HR had to read a single CV.


IKEA is another brand using the easter egg approach but slightly differently.

Inside each box were IKEA Career Instructions modeled after the IKEA assembly instructions. It targeted customers and encouraged them to apply for positions in store.

The result? The campaign brought in 4,285 job applications and 280 new hires.

10. Apply Gamification Tactics

Games are fun, hard to resist, and the perfect way to evaluate a candidate.

Using a gamified recruiting process means you can mimic game design (think clearing levels and achieving milestones), illustrate job tasks, and test skills.

While your potential employees are collecting points, you're automatically clearing space for candidates who are a good fit for a follow-up interview.

  • Unilever uses 12 games that take 20-minutes to complete. Their reasoning? It levels the playing field and helps to reduce unconscious bias among the recruiting team.
  • Taylor Wessing uses a game to test a candidate's soft skills. Cosmic Cadet (a five-level game) evaluates your innovation and problem-solving abilities.

Think Out Of The Box

Recruitment is more competitive than ever before.

If you want to attract a top-tier talent pool, you need creative recruitment strategies that will stop people mid-scroll and entice the right person to send through their application.

Take a good, hard look at your recruiting system and remove outdated methods that aren't bringing you qualified potential applicants.

Incorporate some or all of the creative recruitment tactics above,  invent your own, and take the time to analyze your results. By continually adapting your process, you'll hone in on what works best for your company, giving you the upper hand in the talent competition.


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