How to Need Recruiters Less

By Josh McAfee

What if I told you that you may not need a recruiter at all?

That may seem like strange advice coming from a recruiting company, especially considering the job market. The hiring process has gotten complicated and competitive. Catching the attention of the good candidates you actually need is a daunting and resource heavy task. It’s no wonder that so many companies have turned to recruiters, especially external agencies. 

Employee Retention Experience Teamwork Improving Company Culture LeadershipUnfortunately, the cost of such help can be prohibitive for smaller companies. Stretched thin in both people and time, they need to focus every dollar for maximum benefit. That’s why it’s important to use every resource available. You’d be surprised how many companies overlook one key source of talent that would reduce their need to use recruiters at all. 



So how can you need recruiters less? 

Make your employees ambassadors for the company! We already know how strong word of mouth can be in building a business. That approach has been leveraged to gain customers, but it can also find the talented candidates you need. 

One of our high growth startup clients was about to be infused with several million dollars of funding. The co-founders eagerly met with me to discuss filling the 25+ positions they needed to support that expansion. 

They came with a long list that included 6 software engineers, 2 tech product managers, a QA engineer, 2 security engineers, 4 additional SDRs, 4 mid-level sales people, and 8 customer success associates. When I told them the recruiting costs of all those positions, they nearly fell out of their chairs. 

So I asked if they were open to being a little creative and they said yes. 

Now Hiring Resumes How to get a job write resume Indeed Careers InterviewWe put together their first official employee referral program, tapping into their already energized employee base of over 30 people. There were kickers, emails and social media posts, announcements and press releases, and a contest among all the employees for referrals and hires. 

When all was said and done, they filled 19 and we filled 8 of the first 27 hires, and helped them create their own recruiting program. While we don’t make as many placements using this approach, we did have an amazing impact on that company’s culture and trajectory. Those new hires were enthusiastic and, in turn, couldn’t wait to tell their own talented friends about this great opportunity with a growing organization. 

Starting from the first day an employee comes to work for you, you have an opportunity to leverage their excitement of being on a new adventure to tap into a sprawling network of colleagues, college buddies, and friends. The more your team is talking about how excited they are to work for you and engaging the community with that message, the more employee referrals you’ll get. They’ll generate an organic buzz that will attract great candidates. 

How do you do that?

  1. Be a great company to work for. Even the best workplace has room for improvement. Companies with positive cultures, career growth opportunities, and strong internal communication will naturally cultivate employees that want to tell others about how great it is to work there. What systems do you have in place to help you make improvements?

  2. Make sure you’re communicating effectively with your team. When you’re talking with them, let them know about roles that are open and the impact filling them will have for both the company and their own success. Ask them to spread the word about it and provide easy methods for them to do it. How are you currently communicating recruiting needs with your teams?

  3. Have a sweet referral or recognition program. When there is a perk or reward associated with it, employees will be more likely to put some effort into seeking out good candidates they may already have in their network. Gamifying the process can make it fun and engaging for team members. What incentives are you offering employees for their referrals?

You can pay for choice advertisements on job posting sites and  put out flowery press releases, but there’s nothing quite as powerful as leveraging referrals directly from your team members. If you want to reduce your reliance on recruiters, you’ll want to consider whatever you can do to give your employees every reason to help you find talent. 

now hiring jobs recruiting recruiter interviews salary compensation package opportunityHumans Doing wants to help you make great hiring decisions by understanding what it takes to make your company an ideal opportunity for top talent and creating as much visibility as possible. 

If you want to learn more about how to leverage your team for great employee referrals, have exhausted your employee referral potential or there’s a urgency or confidentiality needed, we’re ready to put our expertise and unique approach to work for you. Let’s schedule some time to talk. 

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Josh McAfee is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Humans Doing. With over 26 years of recruiting and team-building experience, Josh has worked with startups, SMBs, and large companies to determine hiring needs, develop our recruiting strategies and processes, and connect top talent to fuel growth. In 2021, he became a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author with his book Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss.

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Humans Doing is an expert team of highly skilled recruiters specializing in filling critical tech and leadership positions for growing companies. Our greatest measure of success is the success of our clients and the candidates we place with them. We help people make great hiring and career decisions. Our team is ready to partner with you to find the right people for the right roles.

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