17 Recruiting Strategies To Hire Top Talent In 2024

Written by Neelie Verlinden

Having top talent on board is crucial for the long-term success of any business. Effective recruiting strategies help you source, attract, identify, hire, and retain talented professionals who contribute to your organization’s goals. We’ve rounded up 17 of the best recruiting strategies so that you can build the team your company needs to thrive. Let’s start!

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1. Tap into the hidden workforce

The hidden workforce, also referred to as the ‘forgotten’ workforce, represents between 14-17% of US workers and includes people like:

  • Retirees who want to (continue) work
  • Caregivers
  • Neurodiverse individuals
  • People with long-term health problems 
  • Ex-inmates
  • People without a degree

Our AIHR HR trends for 2024 explains why HR will start actively harnessing the potential of the hidden workforce. There are two main reasons for this: 

  1. It makes business sense. The chronic labor shortage in the West is at a 17-year high, with 77% of employers reporting difficultyfilling roles. There is a first-mover advantage as only 33% of organizations are currently looking at new talent pools.
  2. It merges business utility and inclusion. Beyond addressing labor shortages, tapping into the hidden workforce also aligns with broader societal movements toward inclusivity and social responsibility.

To access the forgotten workforce, HR must remove some of the barriers the people in this group often face. For example, 38% of candidates for hourly jobs don’t hear back from an employer when they apply.

Implementing this recruiting strategy can involve:

  • Adopting skill-based hiring and recognizing transferable skills over prior experience and qualifications 
  • Creating inclusive job ads
  • Simplifying access to reskilling and upskilling opportunities for all employees.

2. Design an effective employee referral program

Using an employee referral program as (a part of) your recruitment strategy has plenty of benefits, including: 

  • It accelerates the hiring process62% of organizations with employee referral programs have reduced their average time to fill
  • It increases the chances of culture fit. Employees will only refer people they know will have similar values and work styles.
  • It lowers the recruitment costs84% of companies consider employee referrals the most cost-effective sourcing strategy.
  • It decreases the overall turnover. By 15%, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Also, referred employees stay at an organization 70% longer than employees from other sources.
  • It increases employee engagement. An employee referral program can boost engagement from both referred and current employees, as they will be more invested in the company’s recruitment efforts. 

Creating an effective referral program doesn’t have to be overly complicated or expensive. Just make sure your program includes the following elements: 

  • Incentives. This can be cash (which usually works best), but extra holidays or other perks also work. You can ask employees what they prefer if you have the option.
  • Keep it simple. Ensure that your referral program is easy to understand and use. 
  • Feedback. Keep employees who’ve referred someone up-to-date about the status of their referral.
  • Recognize and celebrate. Think of a good way to celebrate employees who’ve successfully referred someone to give them the recognition they deserve. This doesn’t have to be complicated; a mention in your internal company newsletter can be enough.

“Keep a laser tight focus on employee engagement and leverage your current team as your best advocates for referral based recruiting.

The more your employees feel connected to your company and their purpose, the louder they’ll be when it comes time to promote hiring opportunities with their network.”

– Charlie Saffro, CEO at CS Recruiting

3. Prioritize internal mobility and talent access

If companies want to stay competitive, they cannot just rely on acquiring talent to fill gaps. While this will remain important, they’ll also need to focus on identifying, unlocking, and nurturing the potential from within.

Two main pillars play a role here: 

  • Evolving talent strategies. This involves the emergence of internal talent pools and a re-evaluation of traditional career pathing. Companies will move away from classic career ladders and adopt a career lattice approach to promote horizontal and diagonal career moves.
  • Enabling true internal mobilityThis should go beyond simply moving employees internally and aim to create access to skills that the organization needs. Using data and technology like internal talent marketplaces, companies can link their mobility practices to workforce planning, proactively pool and access talent, and deploy skills where they add the most value.

READ MOREWhat Is Internal Recruitment? 7 Internal Recruitment Methods (+ Examples)

4. Work on your employer branding and employee value proposition

Your employer brand is the face your company shows the outside world as a potential employer. It’s the sum of all the different things people think when someone asks them what it would be like to work for company X or Y. 

Employer branding and employee value proposition (EVP) go hand in hand. Your EVP is the promise you make as an employer to your employees in return for their commitment. It’s the sum of all the benefits and rewards employees receive from their organization.

strong employer brand reflects your EVP and helps you recruit candidates. A well-known brand means applicants will find you easily and apply naturally. This, in turn, leads to lower recruiting costs. In fact, companies with a strong employer brand see a 43% decrease in hiring costs.

In a similar fashion, a robust EVP makes your employees proud to work for your company – and more likely to talk positively about you. This can result in more referrals and more good publicity for your organization as an employer.

Recruiting strategies to hire top talent include tapping into the hidden workforce and working on employer branding.

5. Use recruitment data to make decisions

You can use the best recruiting strategies in the world, if you don’t measure what you’re doing, you will never learn if they bring the desired results. Recruiting metrics help you evaluate your recruiting process and whether you’re hiring the right people. That allows you to iterate and optimize your strategies based on data.

Some metrics to keep track of include: 

6. Improve your company’s online (and offline) presence

Your company’s online and offline presence is a snapshot of your brand identity, values, and the quality of services or products you offer. It’s what makes the first impression on your potential candidates and sets the tone for their expectations.

Your online and offline presence comprises channels like your career page, social media accounts, employer review sites, email campaigns, recruitment events, referral programs, and community engagement.

Coherent online and offline presence builds credibility in the eyes of your audience and reflects your professionalism.

Here are some ideas for improving your company’s visibility: 

  • Use employee testimonialsTestimonials can come in the form of a video, but they can also be written with accompanying pictures. You can add them to your careers page and use them on social media. 
  • Add Recruitment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). A great way to tackle some of the questions and concerns that candidates often have is by simply adding a hiring process FAQ section to your website.
  • Ask employees to share content. People tend to trust information more when it comes from real people instead of companies. When employees share their company’s content, it increases the views of those posts and engagement up to eight times.
  • Advertise jobs to customers. For instance:
    • Adding a note on your website or app 
    • Including job openings in your email newsletter 
    • Printing them on to-go coffee cups, paper bags, napkins, etc. 

7. Develop a recruitment marketing strategy

Akin to marketing your products or services to your potential customers, recruitment marketing means using various marketing tactics to get your organization and job openings in front of your potential candidates.

Recruitment marketing involves activities like:

  • Leveraging programmatic job advertising to attract your highly qualified candidates to your vacancies
  • Sharing your employees’ experiences through social media channels, blogs, podcasts, and videos, painting a vivid picture of life at your organization
  • Organizing and attending recruitment events like virtual job fairs, hackathons, and informal lunch-and-learn sessions.

Using recruitment marketing tactics can have a significant impact on the success of your recruitment process. For example, job postings with videos have a 34% higher application rate, and 75% of candidates say that the look and feel of a posting influence their decision to apply.

What’s more, companies that use a dedicated recruitment marketing platform report shorter time to fill and 3 times better quality of hire.

8. Engage with passive candidates 

According to LinkedIn, 70% of the global workforce consists of passive candidates. These are people who aren’t actively looking to change jobs but will consider moving if the right role comes along. 

One way to engage with passive candidates is to get them to join your talent pool (solid employer branding helps here). Regularly sending them relevant, educational content – that can help them with their career, for example – can be an excellent way to stay on their minds and create a relationship.

Another way to engage with passive talent is through sourcing by building a talent pipeline for future job openings – more on that in the section just below.

Attracting passive candidates in practice

Glan Agua, a solution provider in the water and wastewater sector in Ireland and the UK, encountered recruitment challenges when sourcing candidates for engineering roles.

The competitive market, site-based roles, and the need for a specific skill set, particularly experience in water/wastewater, made the candidate search difficult.

To address this, they partnered with Rent a Recruiter. Their team worked in tandem with Glan Agua’s HR, reaching out to over 8,000 potential candidates on LinkedIn, managing their Indeed page, and conducting interviews. This collaboration resulted in more than 180 candidates being presented to Glan Agua over 17 months.

9. Step up your sourcing game

Sourcing is a proactive approach to recruitment where recruiters actively search for potential candidates and cultivate relationships with them, even if they are not actively job-hunting (like the passive candidates we mentioned just above).

Here are three reasons why sourcing should play a critical role in your organization’s talent acquisition strategy

  • It creates access to a larger talent pool. Sourcing allows you to tap into a wider candidate pool beyond direct applicants. It also enables you to build a talent pipeline for future job openings with (passive) candidates. 
  • It makes it easier to fill hard-to-fill positions. Sourcing is beneficial to fill positions that need more qualified candidates. You can personalize your communication with candidates by reaching out directly, increasing the chances of connecting with them. 
  • It creates a competitive advantage. Proactively reaching out to potential candidates through sourcing gives you a competitive edge in attracting and hiring top talent. You can get ahead of the competition by engaging with candidates before they actively apply for jobs.

Here are a few tips to get your candidate sourcing started: 

  • Create an ideal candidate personaThis involves creating a profile that outlines the desired candidate’s skills, experience, and characteristics.
  • Explore LinkedIn Recruiter. LinkedIn remains the world’s biggest professional network. As such, it provides recruiters unparalleled access to a vast talent pool. 
  • Optimize your careers page. Think of your careers page as a passive sourcing channel. To optimize it, consider:
    • Ensuring easy navigation and user-friendliness
    • Implementing a user-friendly job search function
    • Providing an option to subscribe to the talent pool and/or job alerts.

GET MORE IDEAS21 Creative Sourcing Strategies To Find and Attract Top Talent (in 2024)

10. Stay in touch and on good terms with alumni

UKG reports that nearly 20% of employees who quit their jobs during the pandemic have since returned to their former employers.

HBR’s analysis of these so-called boomerang employees found that across organizations in various industries, 28% of ‘new hires’ were boomerang hires who had resigned within the last 36 months.

There are many advantages to rehiring a former employee, including: 

  • They already know the company and possess valuable organizational knowledge
  • They will be productive faster 
  • They’ll bring new perspectives gained during their time away 
  • They can give a boost to employee morale. 

One relatively simple way to stay in touch with former employees is by creating a private LinkedIn or Facebook page (or both) for alumni. Here, you can give regular updates about the organization and share job openings.

There are over 118,000 corporate alumni groups on Linkedin. However, most of them don’t have a formal relationship with the respective companies.

British multinational retailer Marks and Spencer has one of the best corporate alumni networks. The company has created an M&S Family alumni page where former employees can reminisce about their time with M&S, stay in touch with what is happening across the business and where alums are today, and join exclusive alumni events.

A robust offboarding process also helps ensure a smooth transition when employees leave the organization. Someone who thinks fondly of their time as an employee in your organization will speak highly of you to others and is also more likely to return at some point.

To summarize, staying in touch – and on good terms – not only helps you maintain a substantial talent pool but also continuously builds a positive reputation as an employer to spread the word about your company even further.

11. Elevate the candidate experience

A big part of the success of recruitment strategies depends on the experience candidates have. CareerPlug’s Candidate Experience Report, for example, found that:

  • 48% of job seekers had at least one negative experience in the hiring process in the past 12 months, and 
  • 49% of job seekers declined a job offer due to poor candidate experience. 

Interestingly, according to the same report, the top two reasons candidates turned down job offers were i) compensation and benefits not meeting expectations and ii) a negative experience with people in the interview process.

To elevate your organization’s candidate experience, you first need to know where you’re currently at. One way to do this is via a candidate experience survey. Based on the outcomes of the survey, you can take action. 

Here are some elements to check in any case: 

  • Make it easy for candidates to apply (avoid lengthy application forms and many document uploads)
  • Communicate clearly about the recruitment process and its stages
  • Ensure that all candidates get a quick reply
  • Use a structured interview approach.

According to Eva Toledo, Executive Search Consultant at Kepler Search, treating all candidates with respect, providing timely communication, and offering constructive feedback can leave a positive impression, even on those who may not ultimately be hired. “We have even seen referrals from candidates who were not selected based on the positive experience they had with us,” notes Toledo.

12. Implement skills-based recruitment

Skills-based recruitment refers to hiring employees based on people’s skill sets rather than their educational achievements or past roles. 

This approach enables companies to look for transferable skills or the candidate’s ability to develop those in the workplace. An important benefit of skills-based hiring is that it can create a considerably larger talent pool. It allows organizations, for instance, to tap into the forgotten workforce we mentioned earlier.

For most companies, however, this approach requires some (significant) changes in their recruitment process. Bank of America abandoned degree requirements for most of its entry-level jobs to attract candidates that could otherwise be overlooked.

Miriam Groom, CEO of Mindful Career and Leader Human Capital at KPMG, advises on how to transition toward skills-based hiring: “Rethink job descriptions. Instead of listing degrees and years of experience, highlight the key skills required. Use skills assessment tools during the recruitment process to objectively evaluate a candidate’s abilities.”

13. Strengthen recruiter-hiring manager relationships

When you think about creative recruiting strategies, strengthening the relationship between recruiters and hiring managers might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

And yet, the relationship between these two people is an essential ingredient for the success of your organization’s hiring efforts. It helps improve quality of hire, reduce time to hire, and positively affects the candidate experience. 

Here are some ground rules to take into account: 

  • Set expectations. This goes both ways. The hiring manager needs to be clear on, for example, their expectations in terms of timelines and candidate requirements (what is non-negotiable and what is nice to have). The recruiter also needs to be transparent about what can be expected regarding timelines and candidates for this type of role.
  • Give regular updates. Regularly check in with the hiring managers and encourage them to check in with you about the progress and developments regarding the vacancy. This allows you to change course if and when necessary.
  • Celebrate successes. This is an underestimated part of a strong relationship between the recruiter and the hiring manager. When a candidate is successfully hired, recognize this as the result of a fruitful collaboration and mark the occasion. 

14. Improve your interview process

Your interview process should ensure that all candidates are objectively evaluated. As much as we all want this to be the case, the reality is that often, bias still finds its way into the selection process. 

For example, a study by Princeton University found that blind orchestra auditions worked better for women. When symphonies started to hold blind auditions for musicians, female musicians immediately were 50% more likely to make it to the next round of the audition process. 

There are various ways to improve your interview process, for instance, by using an interview evaluation form. This structured document is used to record and assess a candidate’s performance during the interview. 

The number one reason to use an interview evaluation form is that it makes decision-making more objective and reduces the risk of biases. 

Other factors that can improve your interview process are having diverse interview panels and avoiding asking trick questions, keeping your conversations as job-related as possible.

Ben Lamarche, General Manager at a recruitment and consulting company Lock Search Group, highlights the importance of well-prepared recruiters.

“The most awkward moments in my recruiting career have been when I struggled to answer basic candidate questions about the job. Over the years, I’ve realized how job interviews should go both ways. A serious candidate should question you about the company culture, the job description, the hard/soft skills required, and more. Going prepared is as essential for interviewers as it is for interviewees,” says Lamarche.

“I’ve heard of companies that deliberately refuse to disclose particulars about the job in interviews; it’s unfair to professionals who take the time to apply and come in for the meeting.”

15. Leverage contingent workers

As we’ve already seen, companies will increasingly have to look beyond the traditional candidate pools and employment setup to navigate the talent shortages and evolving employee expectations.

Hiring a contingent worker in a short-term, contractual, or as-needed arrangement can be an excellent, cost-effective alternative. Not only are the costs associated with hiring them much lower, but the consequences aren’t as big if you hire someone who isn’t a fit. 36% of the World’s Most Attractive Employers, according to Universum, use freelancers, and 22% intend to in the near future.

“Fractional roles, consulting, or gig positions are very beneficial when companies are going through a large digital transformation, a merger, or some other significant change. Often consultants are specialists who can provide very specific expertise. The expense is limited to the length of the project, as there’s no long-term commitment,” explains Theresa Balsiger, VP of Candidate Relations at Carex Consulting Group.

Besides, a great freelancer can always become a full-time employee if both parties enjoy working together or end up in your talent pool for future opportunities.

16. Launch (virtual) campus recruitment activities

Hiring talent through universities can be a great way to secure (Gen Z) candidates for entry-level positions, access a vast talent pool, and make your organization known to a new generation. As such, campus recruitment should be one of your recruiting strategies.

Campus recruitment – hiring soon-to-be graduates as new talent – can have both online and offline components. Here are a few ideas for campus recruitment activities to consider: 

  • Hosting or attending real-life and virtual career and project fairs to scope out new talent
  • Sponsoring and attending (online) events organized by various student associations to get in touch with potential candidates for internships or graduate programs
  • Creating a landing page promoting specific opportunities for fresh graduates.

“Partnering with universities offering translation courses has been invaluable. Hosting events or guest lectures at these venues has consistently drawn in fresh, passionate talent eager to join our ranks.”

– Jerica Amores, Head of Human Resources & Vendor Management of Tomedes Translation Company

17. Integrate your recruitment and onboarding processes

While strictly speaking, employee onboarding isn’t recruiting, a lousy onboarding process can definitely affect your recruitment efforts. 

People who have had an unsatisfactory onboarding experience might leave soon after they’ve started or share their experience on forums like Glassdoor, available for potential candidates to read. 

As such, your onboarding process should be something to take into account when developing your recruitment strategy. Think of it as the cherry on top of the recruitment cake, without which candidates may decide not to have the cake and go elsewhere. 

How to implement effective recruiting strategies

While brainstorming recruiting strategies is the first step, the real challenge lies in bringing them to life. Let’s take a look at a couple of tips for the implementation:

  • Understand your organization’s recruitment needs: Before diving into any strategy, it’s crucial to have a clear grasp of what your organization truly requires. This means understanding the roles you need to fill, the skills required, and the kind of candidates that would best fit your company culture.
    “Another process needed is to identify which two of three focuses are a priority for the opening or role: timing, cost, or quality,” says Kendra Janevski, Managing Director, Human Resources at Vault Consulting. “For example, the focus of the recruiting strategy to hire the best quality candidates quickest will mean more cost using headhunters and additional resources to vet and move candidates through the journey.”
  • Audit your current talent acquisition strategy: Take a step back and critically assess your existing recruitment strategies. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. This will not only help you pinpoint areas of improvement but also ensure that you’re not repeating past mistakes.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once: Focus first on strategies or changes that are going to have the most impact, as well as on the low-hanging fruit. This approach ensures that you get quick wins, which can boost morale while providing momentum for further changes.
  • Continuously collect, analyze, and act on candidate feedback: The recruitment process is a two-way street. Regularly gather feedback from candidates to gain invaluable insights into their experience and perspective. Analyzing this feedback can highlight areas for improvement, helping you evolve your recruitment strategies and always offer the best possible experience to potential hires.
  • Be consistent: Your recruitment strategies and the overall hiring process all shape candidates’ perceptions of your organization as an employer. You need to create compelling and consistent messaging throughout your recruitment efforts to build candidate trust and set clear expectations of your company’s values, culture, and vision.

A final word

Depending on your organization’s hiring needs and budget, you can implement recruiting strategies that get your business in front of the right talent and position it as an attractive employer. A well-executed recruiting strategy not only fills vacancies but contributes to long-term organizational growth and success.


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