9 inexpensive recruiting ideas to hire better and faster

Last updated:
December 14, 2020
December 23, 2021
min read
Brendan McConnell
Table of contents

Efficient recruiting is all about finding the tactics and sources that yield the best results and cost the least amount of money and effort. The goal is to find channels that yield high-quality candidates but don't break your recruiting budget each time you use them. Finding those channels helps develop some inexpensive recruiting ideas that you can try with your team.

Inexpensive hiring ideas can benefit your recruitment team and organization in a variety of ways, including:

  • Maximizing your recruitment budget.
  • Allowing you to experiment with new ideas without breaking the bank.
  • Improving cost per hire.
  • Helping to make your recruitment process leaner and more targeted to what works.

This article will share some of the most popular inexpensive recruiting ideas, and provide tips on identifying which of your tactics are providing a high return on your time and investment.

Inexpensive recruitment ideas for your team

Before adopting any of the following ideas, we recommend that you take stock of what tactics you're currently using, and analyze their cost and output. We'll dive deeper into this process later.

With that in mind, here are some popular inexpensive recruiting ideas making the rounds today.

Social media

Social media is a popular outreach tool for recruiters that allows you to connect with virtually any candidate, anywhere, at a low cost. Each channel benefits recruiters in different ways, but they all offer the opportunity to connect and interact with potential candidates online.

Twitter, for example, is a great place to search for people discussing topics related to your industry or job opening. Hashtags let you easily locate and join a conversation to share information about your company.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, is one of the world's largest professional networking sites. It's also a treasure trove for online resumes and candidate profiles. Use LinkedIn in search for candidates, reach out to them via InMail, and grow your talent pipeline.

Social media also allows for the sharing and re-sharing of information about your company and job opening. This lets you strategically spread the word about your company and cultivate a known employer brand online.

Referral programs

Employee referral programs have long been a tool of choice for recruiters that help them leverage their employee pool to find similar candidates. Referral programs typically operate on an incentive basis.

For example, companies may offer a $1000 reward to an employee if they refer a candidate who eventually becomes a new hire.

This tactic helps recruiters identify candidates who have a higher likelihood to be a good fit for the company without the hassle and cost of sourcing externally. Done well, referral programs can help to eliminate sourcing costs in favor of a much for the wallet-friendly referral reward.

Of course, referral programs are only as effective as the employees participating in them. And, they're somewhat of a self-fulfilling tactic. It's important to remind employees about the referral program actively and to encourage them to participate.

The more successful referrals and rewards that are given out at the company, the more employees that will participate.

Job fairs and networking events

Participation in local and online job fairs or networking events is a great way for recruiters to get in front of their target candidates. It's relatively inexpensive to set up a booth (or virtual booth) at many of these job fairs, and it allows your recruiters to talk face-to-face to many candidates in a single day.

We recommend that you take a look around your industry to see what events already exist. Pick and choose which ones you'd like to participate in and then measure your effort's results.

Employer branding

Employer branding is a fantastic, long-term tactic for creating organic interest in your company. By incrementally building content and platforms that showcase who you are as an employer and company, you will be able to create a continuous stream of inbound applicants who want to be a part of your culture.

Leverage in-house resources on your marketing team, if available, to create various types of content about your company as an employer. This could include:

  • Blog posts
  • Branding videos
  • Employee testimonials
  • Careers pages
  • Social media campaigns

Over time, these tactics will help to build an inbound recruitment platform that draws like-minded candidates to you. Employer branding has a low upfront cost (assuming everything can be done in-house) but involves a lot of effort from the team to ensure long term success.

Talent pipelines

Like employer branding, talent pipelines can take some time to develop. Once in place, however, they provide sustainable and long-term access to qualified candidates when needed.

Building talent pipelines takes active networking and outreach by your recruiters. Being active within your industry and leveraging existing contacts is a great way to build a pipeline of talented candidates incrementally.

Talent pipelines let recruiters "go to the well" every time a new requisition is created, rather than source net new applicants every time. This ability to leverage existing contacts lets recruiters eliminate the costs associated with sourcing for each new job opening.

Boomerang employees and alumni

Former employees often make great candidates for new job openings if your company is willing to give them a second look. This is especially true if those former employees left your company on good terms for positive advancement opportunities in their careers.

Staying in contact with your alumni network will give recruiters easy access to candidates they know to be a cultural-fit and high performers. The bonus with this technique is that the former employees already know how your company operates (so there's a much shorter onboarding process), and they've likely learned new skills in their time since they left the company.

Industry groups, forums, and chat rooms

Connecting with your target candidates is all about finding where they like to congregate, and meeting them there. Most industries will have publications, groups, forums, or chat rooms where engaged professionals will gather to chat about their work and potential job opportunities.

For recruiters, these channels provide a great opportunity to start conversations with target candidates. Locate these platforms, and share information about your company and job opening. Be prepared to answer questions about both.

Company events

If your company tends to hold a lot of events, networking meetings, or conferences, then these are all great, cost-effective recruiting opportunities. Showing candidates what your company is all about is one of the best ways for you, and them, to screen for cultural fit and interest.

If you regularly hold these types of events, then we recommend sending out an invitation to your candidate pool. Use these events as an opportunity to chat with candidates is an informal setting without the associated cost of staging your own job or networking fair.

Boolean search

Last but not least, using strategic search techniques on Google, or even your own ATS can help you uncover high-quality candidates who fit the exact job requirements you're looking for.

Boolean search lets you use a series of metacharacters to specify very specific search parameters. When used on search engines like Google, these search strings will often display resumes or LinkedIn profiles of current professionals who fit your profile. This allows you to manually search for and identify potential candidates and pipeline contacts without the cost of a job board or paid campaign.

Now that we've covered some common inexpensive hiring ideas let's dig into how to identify your most cost-effective tactics.

How to find what hiring tactics are inexpensive and effective

When auditing your recruiting tactics and channels, your HR tech stack is your best friend. Most modern Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), for example, contain analytics modules that will help you identify the best and worst hiring sources and tactics.

Before adopting any of the above inexpensive recruiting ideas, we recommend that you audit your existing recruitment and sourcing tactics.

Your audit should answer the following questions:

  • What recruiting sources and tactics are we currently using?
  • How much did each of them cost us last year? Bonus points for monetary and human resource costs.
  • How many candidates did each source and tactics bring in?
  • How many of those candidates were hired?
  • What is the long term retention rate of new hires from each source and tactic?

The goal here is to identify which tactics and channels you currently use, how many candidates they bring in, and the short- and long-term results from your investment.

Once you have that information, focus your attention on the tactic with low costs and high pay off. Or, higher cost and high payoff. If you're missing some of the inexpensive hiring tactics mentioned in this article, we encourage you to try them out and monitor the results.

Your goal should be to ensure that you're maximizing your return on investment by using only the channels and tactics that yield the best long-term results.

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