How to use recruiting variety to hire the best

Using a variety of recruiting strategies to find the best hire.
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What do commercial fishing and hiring have in common?  You get better results when you “cast a wide net!”

Every supervisor and manager wants to improve their chances of hiring a person who brings in more business, reduces costs, has innovative ideas, and takes full responsibility for their work.

By using a variety of recruiting sources to find qualified candidates, you “cast a wide net” and improve your odds exponentially at finding good fits for your company, rather than just taking the first resume that lands on your desk.

Let’s dive into why this is true and how to do it.

Hire the Best

The main reason for reaching out to find lots of qualified candidates is that you’ll have the greatest chance of finding the best person for the job, your company, and your team.  Hiring the best person for the job, instead of just a warm body to fill a seat, will result in increased productivity, improved employee morale, and decreased turnover.HR consultants waiting for a job interview.

I’ve seen companies grab the first person that shows interest in a job.  It’s often someone close to them, a friend or family member, who knows they have an open position.  Although these arrangements sometimes work out just fine, I have seen many of them go bad quickly.

In one instance, the new hire had skills that the company needed. But the hiring manager didn’t realize that she lacked the overall aptitude to learn all the other parts of the job.  Had the manager had the patience to look for other candidates, he could have a person who is able to do a wide range of duties.

If you have just one candidate, your mind will focus on seeing the areas where the person fits in with the job and may ignore all the warning signs of the mismatched areas.

You can set yourself up for success by gathering a large group of candidates and be able to narrow that list down to several highly qualified ones to seriously consider.

“My company is at-will, so I don’t need to worry about it.”

I’ve had clients who have a single candidate say that if it doesn’t work out, they’re an at-will employer and they can just let them go.

Although that may be true, by the time you figure out they’re not able to perform as expected, you’ve lost all the time and money spent on training and orienting the person.

The cost of hiring the wrong employee is measured in both tangible costs, such as unemployment claims, legal fees, and severance payments, and intangible costs, such as excessive time spent on performance management, a loss of goodwill with customers and business relationships, and an erosion of the organization’s reputation.

I encourage investing in the hiring process to ensure the time and money spent on a new-hire pays dividends.

Foster Diversity

Not only does casting a wide net give you a better chance of finding the best people, but it also helps foster diversity.

Birds of a feather often flock together, so unless you and your team are already diverse or have a diverse group of friends and family, hiring from the people close to you may not give your organization the diversity it needs.

Hiring people of a variety of genders, races, ages, ethnicities, and other characteristics is important for at least a couple of reasons.

A diverse group of HR consultants performing a job interview.

First, it’s fair and ethical to judge people’s suitability for a job based on their ability to do the work, rather than by personal traits unrelated to the work.  None of us get to pick the body, country, and year in which we were born, but we do have control over our knowledge, skills, and abilities.  That’s what our job fit should be assessed on.

It’s illegal to make hiring decisions based on protected characteristics, and demonstrating that you’ve made reasonable attempts to attract a diverse pool of candidates by casting a wide net will be the first line of defense for your organization if a claim of discrimination arises.

Second, diversity simply makes good business sense because it brings a variety of perspectives and ideas into an organization.  For example, a Hispanic woman raised in South Texas will have different ideas than a white man raised in Boston.  In our competitive landscape, having a team that can approach product and service development, marketing, and sales in a unique way will lead to success.

So Why Doesn’t Everyone Do It?

One thing that holds companies back from a candidate search is the time that it takes.  Very small organizations are more challenged by doing a search because resources are tight.

If you only have a 5-person office and one of those people leaves, the other four are picking up the workload. Carving out time to run ads and screen candidates can be an insurmountable task.  On top of that, the longer the position is open, the more everyone else must do to work double duty and keep things afloat.

In this situation, getting help from an HR Consultant, recruiter, or staffing company makes sense.

If a small organization doesn’t have the financial resources to get help, the best option may be to take the person that’s in front of you.  I recommend that you still conduct a formal interview and check references.

Once you hire the person, monitoring their work is critical.  If their knowledge, skills, and abilities are not what they seemed to be, you’ll want to avoid wasting too much time and money trying to get them to perform at an adequate level.


Social Media

Knowing Where to Look

Now that we understand why it is important to try to get a large pool of candidates, let’s talk about how to do that. Not knowing where to look for candidates is another thing that stops supervisors and managers from doing a full search.

Start by sitting down and setting a timer for 15 minutes. Brainstorm a list of all the potential places to run an ad or proactively search for candidates.

Include familiar job sites as well as niche ones.  Include colleges and universities.  Look back to see where you’ve found good hires in the past. Talk to other managers at your company or colleagues in your industry to see where they have found top people.

How many sources are enough?  As many as it takes to get a broad selection of qualified candidates.  Once you have your list of possible sources, you can prioritize it based on which ones you believe will get you the greatest number of qualified, diverse candidates.  Start at the top and move down as needed.

Money Money Money Money, Money!

Money is always a constraint, but there are lots of free and low-cost recruiting sources.  You can place free job postings on, at colleges, and with your state’s unemployment agency.  Pushing the ad out on the company’s and your personal social media sites is free, as is emailing colleagues or your company email list and posting the opening on the company website.

Don’t jump right on high-cost job boards. Start with free and low-cost to see if it produces what you need before throwing money at the issue.

I recommend a mix of several types of recruiting sources.  For example, rather than posting on six job boards, I suggest picking the top two job boards and combine that with a couple social media channels and email blasts to your mailing list.

A variety of types of sources will produce an assortment of candidates, and an assortment of candidates will result in a high-quality employee for your team!

What Works for You?

What job do you hire for most often, and what are your best source of top candidates? You can leave your answer in a comment below.

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