Creative Recruiting Tactics from Your Peers at Staffing World 2017

Bingham Consulting had the pleasure of facilitating a Knowledge Network Round-table Discussion at the 2017 American Staffing Association Staffing World Conference on the hottest topic of today: Creative Recruiting Tactics.

With the extreme candidate shortage (some states are at 2.3% unemployment – essentially full employment), this round-table was wildly popular, attended by 30+ people. The mix of firms was 60% Light Industrial/Skilled Trades (LI), and 40% Professional Staffing (PS) with IT, Engineering, Finance & Accounting, and Healthcare firms represented.

The discussion centered around ideas for implementing three recruiting best practices: employee referrals, the effective use of technology, and grass roots recruiting.

We have aggregated tips and best practices from your peers in each category below.

Employee Referrals

Not surprisingly, referrals were cited as the very best way to recruit prospective candidates. Some firms are successfully making the business case with clients for shared responsibility in funding these bonuses to avoid a negative impact on margins, using data to illustrate the impact of low unemployment on an employer’s business.


  • Referral Bonuses are clearly a best practice, with most firms offering one; the average payout is $25-100 for LI firms, and $500+ for PS organizations.
  • Many participants cited the competitive advantage of creating instant gratification referral bonuses, especially for LI workers. To encourage referrals, implement a Step-Up Bonus Program. For example, if your referred candidate works 40 hours, the referring employee receives an immediate $50; at 30 days $100; at 45 days $150. To track this, make small referral cards and hand them out during interviews. The referred candidate must bring the card in to the office for the referring candidate to get paid.
  • As fourth quarter is typically the busiest, consider a Holiday Referral Spiff. For example, double referral bonuses through year-end. Take the same approach for staffing up large projects with short notice.
  • Sweeten your referral program with drawings. For example, promote “If you send us 5 referrals we put to work, your name will be entered for a drawing for a flat screen TV.”
  • Make the program fun with “Come to the office and pick a gift card.” Bonus: the entire office staff celebrates the referral, thanking the referring employee while he/she there – reflecting positively on your brand.

Recruiting Technologies

Participants touched on recruiting technologies, albeit in limited detail due to time constraints. Mass texting and emailing, as well as robocalling were described as the most efficient way (if not the most personal way) to reach candidates en masse.

Two additional noteworthy highlights:

  • Consider Geotargeting (aka Geofencing) to reach those employed in specific geographic areas with skills your firm needs to recruit through advertising. For more information, Google is your friend!
  • Among all the social networking sites, Facebook was cited as the most successful for attracting Light Industrial applicants and LinkedIn was best for professional firms, particularly when direct recruiting. Provide incentives for liking and sharing your pages and content to everyone you contact.

Grass Roots Efforts

Local Community Associations and Events work well if your firm makes the investment and the commitment to get involved. Sponsor the event in exchange for a table to recruit on site. Provide a branded giveaway and promote your referral bonus program.


  • Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) programs (ASA can assist you in locating your state contacts)
  • Health Fairs hosted by hospitals – especially those that accept the uninsured for low skilled workers and children: supply backpacks, sponsor free flu shots, etc.
  • Job Corps (bonus: some provide free transportation)
  • Religious organizations
  • Latino Advocacy Board
  • Local Workforce Development site (post open positions for free)
  • Charity events (bonus: network with clients by supporting your clients’ charities of choice)
  • Advertise your firm with a wrapped smart-car or auto magnets for sales reps to use while driving around town

Temporary and Contract Employee Retention

The recruiting tactics discussion was naturally followed by ideas for retaining your temporary and contract talent. Beyond keeping them working, it’s critical to invest energy in retaining the talent you worked so hard to recruit.


  • Sign-on and completion bonuses
  • $50 for each temp/contractor who works a minimum of 40 hours on special projects and urgent staff-ups
  • Take a picture of each employee hired on by a client and post on social media
  • Reward each temp/contractor who works for you for over a year, or is hired on by a client, with double-referral bonuses
  • Have a “brag wall” in the office recognizing employees who get great reviews by your clients
  • Create a Facebook community page where employees can post their experiences in assignments (ex. Travel Nurses post about traveling, to help those who are considering traveling). Direct new candidates you interview to this site for information on what it’s like to work for your firm. (Note: monitor this page for inappropriate posts).
  • Make it a strategic initiative to get involved with trade schools to upskill unskilled and low skilled workers (this was cited as working especially well for recruiting Skilled Trades, IT developers, Healthcare Nurse & Techs recruiting). Most of you felt the Staffing Industry must be part of the solution to the skill shortage issue.
  • Join relevant Meet Ups and incent a contractor/nurse to attend with you and speak about experiences
    • Discuss with clients that have a strict “no felonies” policy to partner with your firm on adopting “Second Chance” programs. Many of you cited experiences employing those with non-violent backgrounds as very successful from a dependability and retention perspective, with the assumption being that these individuals are grateful to be given the chance. Consider telling clients these stories to support the business case for relaxing felony conviction policies.

We hope this post was helpful, and we welcome additional creative ideas. Please feel free to comment, like, and share!

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