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8 Innovative Strategies to Attract Highly Qualified Personnel to Your Team

8 Innovative Strategies to Attract Highly Qualified Personnel to Your Team

In the competitive landscape of talent acquisition, CEOs and HR managers bring their A-game with innovative strategies. From expanding hiring criteria to incentivizing employee referral schemes, we've compiled eight unique methods used by industry leaders to attract top-notch professionals to their teams.

  • Expand Your Hiring Criteria

  • Network at InterNations Events

  • Engage Local Expat Communities

  • Host Remote Coding Competitions

  • Try Project-Based Hiring

  • Launch an Expertise Exchange Initiative

  • Implement a Reverse-Internship Program

  • Incentivize Employee Referral Schemes

Expand Your Hiring Criteria

Attracting highly qualified personnel is all about expanding reach. Focus less on specific experience or education, and more on interconnected skills and traits.

As a recruiter, I know many firms go in the opposite direction. They think a tightly-worded job posting will ensure top talent and limit their interviews to a chosen few with the perfect resume.

This is often a mistake.

Let go of your vision of the ideal employee and open your mind instead. “Highly qualified” can mean a lot of things, so instead of trawling the same old pool, drop a few requirements and see what you find.

When I loosened my archetype, I discovered incredible workers outside the mold.

Network at InterNations Events

Headhunt in person at InterNations events. These are present in pretty much every city I've ever lived in, and you'd be shocked at the number of highly qualified people you can find who have no issue being headhunted—they are usually in your country to work, after all. 

InterNations events are well-known networking hubs, so everyone attending the events expects a certain degree of interest in their professional qualifications, so you never really run the risk of anyone being offended that you're trying to get them to come on board.

Engage Local Expat Communities

Look to your local expat communities on social media and popular physical gathering places. You tend to find some extremely well-qualified people who are in your particular city specifically to work, so they are often very amenable to jumping on a new opportunity if the offer is good. 

You will naturally need to help them deal with any issues pertaining to their working status in your country, but I've seen this strategy used to excellent effect to fill extremely niche roles that are hard to source locally.

Host Remote Coding Competitions

One effective technique I have applied to bring in top-level candidates is to conduct remote hackathons or code battles. Besides the exhibitions, they not only showcase our company's creative activity but also provide a live environment where candidates have the chance to show us their skills.

None of this compares, for instance, to what this little bird really needed to change the problem of his industry; he organized a unique virtual hackathon to solve distinctive challenges. Social media and technology forums proved to be the means we used to advertise, and soon, the event became the destination for top talent worldwide. 

More businesses can follow the same path by designing industry-specific, programming-related events or coding competitions that focus on the particular skills needed in their business.

Kartik Ahuja, Digital Marketer,

Try Project-Based Hiring

One innovative approach we've embraced at our company is project-based hiring. This method allows us to observe candidates in action, tackling real-world problems specific to our niche. For instance, we once had a project that required a unique blend of skills—something beyond what traditional interviews could uncover. 

We decided to open it as a short-term contract. The standout candidate excelled and brought fresh insights that we hadn't considered. Other businesses could apply this strategy by identifying projects that encapsulate their core challenges and inviting candidates to contribute. This not only helps in assessing technical skills but also cultural fit, creativity, and the ability to collaborate effectively.

Launch an Expertise Exchange Initiative

Expertise Exchange Initiative. This initiative invites industry experts for a short-term engagement where they collaborate with our team on specific projects. It's not just about bringing fresh insights into our fold but also about creating a vibrant learning ecosystem. The beauty of this approach lies in mutual growth; our team gets exposed to cutting-edge practices, and the experts gain a deeper understanding of our innovative applications in digital marketing and AI. This exchange cultivates an enriching environment that naturally attracts highly qualified personnel who are eager to be part of a dynamic learning culture.

Applying this strategy is quite straightforward for any business. Start by identifying the gaps or areas for improvement within your team, and then reach out to industry experts who excel in those domains. The key is to ensure that both parties see the value in this exchange. For us, it has not only been a way to enhance our team's capabilities but also a unique selling point that differentiates us in the competitive landscape of digital marketing. This method, albeit simple, has significantly contributed to our reputation as a hub for innovation and excellence, making top talent naturally gravitate towards us.

Implement a Reverse-Internship Program

One way to attract highly-qualified personnel to a team is by implementing a reverse-internship program. This approach flips the traditional internship model on its head and offers experienced professionals the opportunity to intern with the company for a limited period. Here's how it works and how other businesses could apply a similar strategy:

Structure: Design a program where experienced professionals, who may be looking to transition to a new industry or role, can join your company for a short-term internship. This could be a few weeks to a few months, depending on the nature of the work and the agreement.

Upskilling: Tailor the program to provide these professionals with opportunities to learn new skills or gain experience in areas they may not be familiar with. This could involve working on specific projects, collaborating with different teams, or participating in training sessions.

Mentorship: Pair reverse interns with mentors within the company who can guide them, provide insights, and help them navigate their transition. This mentorship can provide valuable networking opportunities and smoother integration into the team.

Flexible Arrangements: Recognize that these professionals might have commitments or preferences that differ from traditional interns. Offer flexibility in terms of work arrangements, such as part-time options or remote work, if feasible.

Showcasing Value: Emphasize the benefits of the reverse-internship program, such as the chance to gain new skills, pivot careers, and potentially secure a full-time role based on performance.

By implementing a reverse-internship program or adapting the concept to your business's specific needs, you can attract experienced professionals, infuse diverse skills into your team, and create a mutually beneficial learning experience that can lead to long-term collaborations.

Incentivize Employee Referral Schemes

Employee referral schemes are my best recommendation for finding highly qualified staff. 

When it comes to competence, birds of a feather flock together, and your best performers likely have a competent social network. These could include college friends and previous coworkers, both of whom are likely to have a similar background to your best employees.

Accessing these social networks grants organizations access to other highly qualified staff that would otherwise be particularly hard to access. Moreover, if an existing staff member recommends them, that also serves as a soft reference, further suggesting the quality of hire.

My favorite approach is incentivizing referrals to guarantee an interview to any referred candidate, reducing the risk and time commitment for the candidate. This serves as a powerful incentive to the applicant while also showing incumbent staff that you trust their judgment.