When recruiting, most companies immediately turn to the old standby methods of finding talent – job board advertisements, connecting with others via LinkedIn, and scoping out institutions like universities in the community.
While that might be all your company needs to build a team, it's always worth spicing up your recruiting game with a little creativity, especially now that the competition for talent is only getting tougher.
Here are some surprising places you could just meet your next hire – if you give them a chance:
1. At a Café or Restaurant
Great talent might not have as much experience as your job description asks for, which could mean a great candidate who would be a perfect fit may not apply at all – or may be overlooked if they do. You may not realize it, but baristas, bartenders, servers, and retail workers can all make great potential hires, especially for customer-facing positions.
Quicken Loans realized its ideal applicants may come from unconventional backgrounds, so the company asked recruiters to observe restaurant servers and retail workers and offer interviews to those who made great impressions with their service skills.
Industry experience definitely deserves notice, but there's something to be said for a go-getter with the willingness to learn skills and develop for and with your company.
2. In Your Morning Reading Material
Bloggers need paychecks too! Or maybe you still read a newspaper. Whatever the case, some of your morning routine is created by other intelligent people with families to feed and the desire to work for a company just like yours.
Make a note of whose work you admire and reach out via their social channels or comment sections. Always click "like" on the same person's industry shares? Feel like the email newsletter you receive was written with you in mind? Reach out!
You may not ever reach the "Are you looking for a job?" conversation, but you are building a relationship with another talented individual in the space. It's possible your favorite blogger or reporter may not be looking for permanent work, but perhaps they'd be open to freelancing occasionally.
3. Online Communities
Do you frequent online communities like Quora or Reddit? In this tech-obsessed world, there's at least one community out there created specifically for the professionals you're trying to hire.
Open Google and type "online community for" into the search bar. You'll be amazed at the autofill results. Here are mine:
Some of these might not suit my current hiring needs, but you get the point. Reddit and Quora divide people by interest and expertise fairly well, but there are multiple other communities you can try when looking to fill a difficult position.
4. Host a Networking Event
Even a pristine resume can hide surprises – both good and bad. That's why employers lean on interviews, pre-employment assignments, and probationary periods to decide whether or not a candidate will actually fit with the organization. These are solid methods, but each creates another hoop for your recruitment team to jump through.
If you want to skip all the rest of it and cut straight to the interview, consider hosting a meet and greet night where your company can show off a little. Plan a presentation about a topic relevant to your industry, then serve appetizers and refreshments afterward. The event will give local talent the chance to mingle with your employees, see your culture firsthand, and pass their information along for follow-up. Advertise the event via social media posts, traditional ads, and by contacting organizations and schools in your area.
Hiring top talent is tricky. Your hiring process can't be too long, but it shouldn't be too short, either. Your employer brand has to leave the right impression. Most of the best candidates are passive and not spending time where you're looking. Heck, some of your biggest fans might simply be too intimidated to even apply.
Don't stick exclusively to mundane, traditional hiring tactics. Branch out a little – you might be surprised whom you find hiding in unexpected places.
A version of this article originally appeared on the LinkedIn Talent Blog.