By: Samantha Allison on December 7th, 2022

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6 Recruitment Advertising Alternatives (That Don’t Cost a Fortune)

Recruitment outsourcing

Recruitment advertising is a powerful tool. When you place an ad on Monster, Indeed, or a specialist job board, you'll usually get speedy replies from active job seekers.

However, as a recruiter, I know recruitment advertising is not always the best option. Job ads can be expensive and result in a deluge of unqualified applicants. Worst of all, you're limited to the pool of active job seekers. Currently employed candidates may not check job boards, so they won't see your ad.

Which is why job ads should be only one item in your hiring toolkit. In this article, we'll look at recruitment advertising alternatives you can implement—even if you're on a tight budget.

Can you recruit someone without advertising?

People sometimes ask whether they're legally required to advertise a job. You might have this obligation if:

  • You're a government employer or government contractor
  • Union agreements require you to advertise externally
  • Internal directives state you must advertise

In all cases, it's worth examining how you are required to advertise. Many of these rules are in place to discourage direct hires, and instead to give everyone a fair chance of applying.

Recruitment advertising also has DE&I implications. You'll need to think about how you connect with underrepresented groups and encourage everyone to apply.

These requirements don't necessarily mean that you must spend money advertising on third-party job site. However, it's always important to think about compliance and DE&I whenever you need to fill a vacant position.

6 alternatives to recruitment advertising

Here are six ways I have found success without advertising:

1. Launch an Employee Referral Program

If you take only one point away from this blog, make it this one: employee referral programs are a vital part of your hiring strategy. Research shows that employee referrals result in an average of $7,500 savings in productivity and sourcing costs. Candidates referred by current employees are 4x more likely to get the job, and 82% of employee-referred hires yield a better ROI than other hires.

Your employees are your best ambassadors. A strong referral program incentivizes them to recommend your company to their most talented friends. It’s an incredibly effective way of reaching people who aren’t currently looking for a new job, and therefore aren’t checking the job boards. It’s also a great way to connect with different communities, which can help your DE&I strategy.

If your current employee referral program isn’t delivering, it may be time to revamp it. For tips, check out Why Your Company Needs An Employee Referral Strategy.

2. Utilize your Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Your ATS can be a great tool to find stellar candidates. Whenever my clients have difficulty finding a qualified applicant, one of the first questions I like to ask is, "Have you searched through your ATS yet?"

Usually, the answer is no. Companies often forget about prior applicants, instead starting with a fresh batch for each new role. But I find it best keep previous applicants in mind.

Sometimes, candidates may have been unsuccessful because they didn’t have the right qualifications or experience. When you check back in a few years later, you may find that those candidates have upskilled in the meantime.

You might have also missed out on a candidate that applied at the wrong time, or some other circumstances may have changed. For example, if you have expanded your remote working program recently, you might be able to work with candidates who live too far away for an in-office role.

Those are a few examples of what can happen, and your ATS is an excellent tool for unearthing these gems. You can also update your applicant records by checking LinkedIn for more recent information.

3. Get active on social media

As a certified social media recruiter, I can say that this is an instrument I often use when I can not advertise a job. And in today's job market, utilizing social media is one of the most common ways companies are finding qualified applicants.

According to AI Recruiting Software company CVVIZ, 73% of millennials found their current roles through social media. By 2025, Millennials will represent over 75% of the workforce. Learning how to leverage this outlet to your company's advantage could be a key piece in bringing in top tier candidates. Also, the great thing about social media is that it's at your disposal.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all free to set up and have advanced search capabilities for sourcing candidates. Use hashtags to connect with people who fit your ideal candidate profile.

Social Media is also a branding opportunity. Keep your social media pages updated even if you’re not actively recruiting, so that people get to know you as a potential employer.

4. Create a strong careers portal

Your careers page is the heart of your employer brand. Getting it right is important— say that the use experience on a company's career portal can influence their decision to apply.

Candidates see a lot of very similar careers portals, so yours should stand out. When candidates are applying for a job, they are not just applying for the job responsibilities but for the company. Building a strong careers page can show what it could be like working for your company. Posting reviews, engaging videos, employee testimonials, and community outreach are different ways to showcase your employer brand.

A streamlined application process can also attract applicants. Make sure that your portal allows for quick, simple applications, and that it works on mobile devices.

5. Lean into networking

Networking is a tried-and-true method for building a workforce. It is about making connections, trust, and showing off your employer's brand.

Networking events allow you to connect with people whom you may not otherwise come across in the sourcing process. And networking doesn't just have to be about attending conferences and receiving business cards. There are many approaches, such as utilizing LinkedIn, happy hours, job fairs, and training courses, etc.

Make sure that you have a strong elevator pitch for your employer brand—and that you can answer questions about current vacancies.

6. Build up your pipeline

A pipeline of qualified candidates helps to cut down on the time-to-fill. When you have a hiring need, you can reach out directly to your pipeline and check their availability. This is crucial for accessing passive talent—those people who are not actively job seeking.

When I find myself with a lighter workload than usual, I use those moments to create a robust talent pipeline. But if I don't have roles to fill candidates with, how do I know what to look for?

I start by identifying the company's short and long-term goals. I work with HR to determine high or low performers and understand what positions might be coming down the pike. I look at patterns as well, determining if there are any areas I need to focus on. From there, I look at the talent pool I already have and look for gaps I can fill. And then, I source based on the results I have collected.

A process like this can help you ensure that you always have a pipeline of skilled candidates available when you need them.

Need help with your recruitment process?

Recruitment advertising can be very effective as part of well-honed hiring process. If you’re struggling to find candidates, then the solution is not to spend more money on job ads. Instead, it’s better to review your recruitment strategy and think about how you source talent.

Getting recruitment right can be tricky. Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) gives you access to skilled consultants that know how to build a winning team.

Want to learn more about how RPO can improve your hiring outcomes? Book a call with a Helios HR consultant today.