Friday Water Cooler: Talent on tap

Have you ever gone to a bar and come out with a new hire? These recruiters have, and they say you should try it, too.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

An early-morning church volunteer event. A cross-country motorcycle pitstop in Flagstaff, Arizona. A husband’s tuxedo fitting. Not one of these is a career fair, and yet they all served to make unlikely matches between recruiters and their next hire.

Though Joey Price, a Baltimore-based HR consultant, told HR Brew that recruiting in unexpected places—we’re calling it “recruiting in the wild”—is far from scalable, he thinks it’s a “helpful tool” to have in a recruiter’s toolkit. Given there were 11.3 million open jobs nationwide as of the end of May and recruiters have struggled to fill them, more tools can’t hurt. Price and other HR consultants told HR Brew that expanding their pipelines in out-of-the-box ways has helped them uncover some stellar talent.

Gone fishing. Julie Via, a senior HR consultant with over 20 years’ experience, can name numerous untraditional ways she’s found talent. If she’s looking to hire a food and beverage position, she posts an ad on Craigslist (she picked up that tip from a friend of her 15-year-old stepdaughter who worked in the industry); if she needs someone who can manage a night shift, she titles the job advertisement: “If you’re the type of person that sees the late-night comedians, we’ve got the job for you.”

She once needed to hire a person who was fluent in Spanish, so she went to a happy hour and, by happenstance, hired the beer-delivery guy. She said that hire happened just by being open to possibilities.

Via hasn’t always found success sourcing in untraditional ways. She agreed her approach is a bit like fishing: She posts an ad, waits for a bite, and either refines her approach or hops to another pond based on industry-insider advice.

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“So it’s just a matter of try[ing] it,” Via said. “If you’re not getting the traction quickly, you try something else. Think out of the box…okay, well where would I look [for this job]? Or find someone who’s doing the job and ask where they would look, and then adjusting.”

See it to believe it. Price hired an administrative assistant who impressed him during a church volunteer project with the way she introduced herself to shift teammates and, as he said, “played through the whistle” to make sure everything got done. Price told HR Brew that by observing her in action, he got to see how she presented “organically, not after a résumé writer.”

“You don’t see work ethic on a résumé,” Price said. “You see accomplishments on a résumé, and you see things that someone’s been responsible for, but you don’t see how a person works and you don’t see how they relate to others. You don’t see their critical thinking.”

Hey you, yes YOU, there in the back. Will your team branch out from LinkedIn to make your next hire? Have you already?

Join the discussion here on HR Brew’s LinkedIn page, or reply to this email with your thoughts.—SV

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Email [email protected] or DM @SusannaVogel1 on Twitter. For completely confidential conversations, ask Susanna for her number on Signal.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.