Are you trying to hire dozens of hourly workers or a top executive? Where do you look and how do you spread the word? There are many ways to find the right people besides placing search ads.

Here are 30 innovative and inexpensive ways to expand your pool of potential applicants. Pick and choose the ones that “fit” your business and your budget.

  1. Place advertisements on television and radio, in the cinema, at bus stations and airports, etc.
  2. Sign up to list your open positions with your state and local employment service.
  3. Recruit a more diverse workforce by setting up booths at minority fairs and events.
  4. Maximize employee referrals through a well-publicized bonus and reward program.
  5. Work with the chamber of commerce to post positions and notify you of new arrivals.
  6. Hire and train entry-level workers through “Welfare-to-Work” and other federal programs.
  7. Keep track of applicants who went to another company and get back in touch with them at regular intervals.
  8. Find and court non-traditional people: men, minorities, retirees, ex-military, people who have changed careers, etc.
  9. Tell everyone you know (accountants, bankers, clergymen, boards, even hairdressers) about vacancies.
  10. Use Internet job sites like,, etc. Post positions on your own website.
  11. Stop at community centers, churches, etc. – introduce yourself – and say: “I’m looking for workers.”
  12. Start a speakers bureau and speak at church job clubs, high schools, college campuses, military bases, etc.
  13. Start internships or apprenticeships for high school and college students to introduce them to your company.
  14. Cultivate relationships with community organizations like churches and clubs and ask them to recommend promising candidates.
  15. Ask your top performers for the names of three other top-notch people they know who they could persuade to join.
  16. Contact career transition companies, relocation companies, real estate agents who come into contact with spouses seeking positions.
  17. Create a first-name relationship with your state employment and welfare service officers so they remember to refer job applicants to you.
  18. Network at trade shows, work with the crowd to identify potential candidates, then stay in touch with the best until an opening arises.
  19. Track announcements of layoffs, out-of-area relocations, mergers, or local business closings. Work with the company to set up a recruitment fair.
  20. Place recruiting ads at civic events, church events, fire departments, high school sporting events, senior centers, shopping malls, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.
  21. Ask new hires which people they would recruit from their previous companies and universities, because talented people tend to recognize other talented people.
  22. List open positions on employment hotlines and professional association websites, as well as relocation companies that serve a variety of job seekers.
  23. Stop limiting your recruiting to “top” colleges and candidates from big companies. Many of the best hires can be found at state universities and smaller organizations.
  24. Ask current successful employees what they do in their spare time. If you find that many of them have similar interests outside of work, set up a booth at those events.
  25. Empower managers to capture the names and email addresses of the awesome people they meet at conferences. Over time, build a database of talent and send them a regular email newsletter.

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