10 Most Unconventional Ways to Hire

Tom Tate

Meet candidates where they areBuild deeper connections. Showcase your employer brand.
 

We've all heard the cliches on how to attract and hire new talent — but what are the unique tactics that actually help you stand out?
 

Last week on Talent Experience Live, Phenom’s Tom Tate, Sr. Product Marketing Manager and Luke Carignan, Director, Enterprise Sales, explored creative hiring tactics to spark engagement. Watch the full episode below, or read on for highlights! 
 


The most important goal...
 

Before launching a new promotion plan to attract candidates, Carignan said employers need to stay focused on a clear objective. Fortunately, it's one every team can get behind.
 

“The silver bullet – and it’s super simple – is just to get people imagining what it’s like to work for your organization,” he explained. That's it
 


So what are some of the ways you can get job seekers to visualize themselves at your organization? Try these 10 unconventional approaches:


1. Use video on your career site


Adding videos to your career site may not scream “out of the box,” but it’s how you do it that helps you stand out and connect.
 


The secret to truly engaging video? Don’t overthink it, or assume that you need to invest in high-end equipment or outsource to professional videographers.
 

Instead, showcase employees who tell stories in their own words. This helps job seekers envision themselves at the company in a way that's far more effective than slick, impersonal footage. Ask employees to record stories from their mobile devices for authentic video that conveys your employer brand.


Related: Video Everywhere: Crafting User-Generated Content to Connect with Talent


Unconventional tip: Post a Q&A-style video with a hiring manager: Who would the candidate work with? What’s a typical day like? What qualities do successful candidates need?
 


2. Start a podcast


“It is alarmingly easy to start a podcast in 2021,” said Carignan, who speaks from experience – he co-hosts the Bo & Luke Show, a podcast dedicated to self-improvement. “You can record directly on your computer with the built-in microphone, if you want to.”
 

Keep in mind that a podcast doesn’t need to be a long-term commitment. Record a 6-episode series, for example, and then re-purpose it as content that helps uphold your employer brand and values.
 

Topic tips: Focus on HR/TA areas that your organization is particularly strong in. For example, if you have a thriving Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program, talk about ways that certain demographics can find better jobs.


3. Create a YouTube channel

A YouTube channel is another great way to build authenticity around your brand and help candidates “see” themselves at your organization. Let them get a sense for your work community by posting everyday moments and events like internal awards or a party for an employee. 
 


Posting on YouTube can increase your online visibility, too. “When we’re thinking about attracting talent – being magnetic, bringing them in, having them find us … YouTube is one of the most prominent search engines on the globe,” Tate pointed out. “Google owns YouTube.”
 

Great use case: Create video content for YouTube around hard-to-fill roles — search engines will elevate your site to the top on relevant search results pages!


4. Create a TikTok channel


So … where are your job seekers? Some of them are on TikTok, often for hours at a time. TikTok content is short, sweet, highly entertaining – and addictive.
 


But what might TikTok content look like for recruiters? The trick to TikTok is to think micro-short, as in 15- to 20-second long snippets of information based on what someone might be interested in related to a job. For example, sales roles might feature quick tips on how to cold call.
 

Be resourceful: You probably have some TikTok pros among your workforce. Reach out and ask employees if they’d be willing to create TikToks related to their job (e.g., an engineer who wants to share tips on AI).


5. Simplify the application process


Is your apply process waaay longer than it needs to be? From hour-long assessments to requiring candidates to include complete addresses of their last four employers, these conversion killers are common – and unnecessary, Carignan said.
 

 
Instead, limit initial application questions to the bare minimum. Carignan recommends asking for a name, email, and cell phone number, and saving the more detailed requirements for after the candidate’s been qualified via a conversation.
 

Simplifying the application process is especially important for attracting frontline or hourly workers, he pointed out: “If we look at our economy today … we’re hurting for positions where people don’t have resumes.”
 

Do-this-now tip: Test out the online application process yourself — and start streamlining it today.


Related: Why Your Job Descriptions Are Failing – And What to Do about It



6. Re-think the traditional cover letter


Cover letters. Candidates overwhelmingly hate writing them. Plus, they fail to convey “soft skills” that really tell recruiters whether the prospect would be a good cultural fit.
 

What about inviting candidates to upload a video cover letter they can record right from their phone? Video allows job seekers to use their creativity. It also provides visual cues to personality that speak volumes more than words on a page.
 

“Video allows you to bring your authentic, full self to that opportunity,” Tate noted.


Related: Did Video Kill the Cover Letter?


Pro video tip: Prompts (e.g., two to three questions) go a long way in helping candidates feel at ease when recording video cover letters.


7. Get personal with referrals


When it comes to referrals, the true incentive isn’t necessarily the swag or cash bonus, Carignan said. “People care more about helping other people and getting happiness from that.” 
 

Need to hire quickly? Carignan recommends that managers invite each team member to submit a referral. Then, reach out personally to those referred candidates – don’t put them through a “process” or a “system.” 
 

Why this is key: Having the hiring manager reach out personally as a first step gets the referred candidate personally invested.


8. Replace offer letters with video


Getting hired is a cause for celebration. Show you recognize your people by adding some human touches to this big life moment.
 

Phenom has found some unconventional ways to celebrate with new hires that really resonate. Instead of an offer letter, successful candidates receive a video featuring team members inviting them to join the company. This helps build a meaningful connection even before the candidate is officially hired. 
 

 
Level it up: Phenom also records well-wishes for a great first day from a new hire’s friends and family members. On the first day of work, the employee is surprised with a video mashup of loved one’s recorded messages – which proved memorable for both Tate and Carignan. (“I cried too. Everyone cries, Tom,” Carignan admitted.)


9. Create more moments that matter


Providing a new employee with tangibles that show you took the time to discover what they love is simple and impactful. It’s as easy as surveying new hires on their favorites (e.g., snacks, songs, morning drinks). When they arrive on the first day, send them that drink and snack; play that favorite song.
 

Bonus tip: Sending a bit of swag before the first day is another way to build excitement for the candidate. For example, Carignan loved receiving a pair of sunglasses from Phenom along with a note that read “Your future here is bright.”


10. Show some serious hospitality


Investing in the new employee’s comfort and personal needs creates loyalty right off the bat. And it’s about making little accommodations that mean the world. 
 

For example, find out if they need an ergonomic chair or keyboard; ask if they have scheduling needs around child or elder care. Displaying empathy goes a long way.
 

Food for thought: “If you do this right, the Great Resignation is not even a conversation,” Tate said.
 


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