So you are a small to mid size company with a less than desirable amount of expendable revenue to dedicate to increasing your staff size. The million dollar question is how do you compete with the big boys? They have a dedicated army of recruiters, a plethora of external agencies they can tap, and a brand recognition that has applicants beating down there door to get in. Let’s look at some no cost strategies to get the high quality IT talent you need to compete. You do not need to spend extravagant amounts on the pay sites only to find the same people that 20 other recruiters have already called on that day. The passive job seeker could be the diamond you are looking for. I define a passive seeker as someone who may be happy where he or she is, but would be at least open to hearing what you have to say. These are also people who, although may not be willing to make a move now, you can keep in touch with. They are however the people who, If you carefully plan your recruitment strategy, will come looking for you when they are ready to make a move.

Social Networks

With more and more people getting on social networks their use to find candidates is on the rise. LinkedIn is still my recruiting source of choice, followed closely by Facebook. Both allow you the option of searching for skill sets by geographic location. Both also give you the option to connect with the individual. With a little extra Googling you can more than likely get a phone number.

Google Searches

If you were to stack all of the articles on finding candidates using advanced keyword searches you would probably have a stack two stories high. These can be a little more challenging, but you are also more likely to find the passive seeker.

Trade Sites/User Groups/Related Blogs

Relevant trade networks, blogs, and user groups are a gold mine. Think about the places you go to get information on your industry. These circles are also frequented by likeminded people with similar skills, albeit at varying levels. The people who tend to write articles are doing so because they are confident in their mastery of a particular subject matter. People tend to gravitate toward these people as thought leaders. If that is the case, then these are people you want to know. They can be an excellent source of referrals.

The Grass may not always be Greener on the other side

How many times have we left a job only to wish we could turn back time…or maybe you are one of the lucky ones that have never had regrets. There are people that we have worked with in our past that we were sorry to see go, you know the ones. They are the ones you give the enthusiastic reference for, not just give the simple answers. Stay in touch with good people who leave, you may be able to give them a call in six months and give them the open invitation to come back. Many people would not actively go to a prior employer and say “I was wrong”. What if an old boss calls up and says “I wanted to see how you were doing. I really wish you still worked here. Things have not been the same since you left. You know you always have a job here if things don’t work out for you.” A little ego rub goes a long way.

Your Website

Make sure your free advertising is up to date. Make your website an interesting place where people come to get your expertise. Make it known you are hiring good people. They have to know you are looking.

Where do I go from here?

Once you have connected with the person, it is up to you to put forth a compelling story as to why someone should listen to you and explore a potential opportunity with your company. Just keep in mind though; you can’t sell something to someone unless you know what they want to buy. Listen, listen, listen for what motivates them and what interests them.

I welcome comments on what you have done that has allowed you to grow your company with no additional cost.