How to Land the Perfect New Hire (and Never Post a Job Ad)

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Are you looking to add a new full-time staff member to your team? Some part-time help? An independent contractor to help with a specific project? No matter what your hiring needs are, it’s important that you find the right fit for your company.

When some people think of the hiring process they think of placing job ads, reviewing the applications and resumes that come in, and then conducting interviews to make a hiring decision. While advertising your job openings can give you a large pool of applicants in some cases, do you really have the time to review all of those resumes? What if none of those applicants is exactly what you’re looking for?

The best way to find your perfect new hire may not be posting a job ad, especially if you’re looking to hire someone with highly specialized skills. Instead, consider some of the following recruitment techniques:

Credit: Jay Simmons
Credit: Jay Simmons

1. Give Google a Go – Sometimes a simple online search is all you need (especially if you’re hiring a freelancer who considers new clients, as opposed to someone who may already be employed fulltime). Freelancers such as writers, designers, programmers, and consultants often have online portfolios available. Search for the type of contractor you’re looking for. Chances are good that you’ll find professional websites from freelancers that could meet your needs.

There you’re often able to review their portfolios (their past work) and sometimes learn more about their past client list, their rates, and their credentials. In other words, your hiring choices aren’t limited to those who have seen your job ad and you won’t have to weed out applicants who send resumes without actually meeting your requirements.

2. Ask Your Employees (and Others in Your Network) – The best referrals come from those who know you and understand the needs of your business. People are often better-connected than we think, and it’s possible that one of your existing employees or colleagues knows someone that would be a perfect fit for your company’s opening.

Credit: Sanja Gjenero
Credit: Sanja Gjenero

Many higher-level freelancers and full-time professionals don’t respond to advertised jobs. That’s because they already get job offers through their own network (such as their clients, past employers, or colleagues). Therefore if you’re looking for someone highly-specialized, this could be your best bet. Ask a colleague who they hired for a similar project in the past. Ask an employee who will be leaving if they know someone in the field that might be interested in filling their shoes (obviously only if the employee is leaving on good terms, such as due to relocation). Make those in your professional network aware of your hiring needs, and they may be able to help you in recruiting the best match for the job.

Preferably, stick to members of your professional network rather than turning to friends and family (where there’s a bigger chance of tarnishing the relationship if you don’t take their suggestion, or if you do and the employment situation doesn’t work out).

3. Don’t Neglect Social Networks – While it probably isn’t the best idea to start your recruiting efforts on social networks like Myspace and Facebook which are often used for personal networking, give LinkedIn a try. Not only can you find members’ educational credentials and work history if they’ve shared them, but you can view recommendations from their past employers or clients.


Because LinkedIn is specifically for business networking, you won’t have to sift through endless irrelevant personal details to narrow down your pool of potential new hires. Social networks also generally give you a way to contact the user privately, whether or not you have their direct email address.

Job ads still have their place in the recruiting process, but in a time where more people are looking for work and fewer companies are hiring, they can lead to a lot of applications from people who aren’t really qualified for the job. Let job ads be a last resort, and let your professional network and the Web bring you better initial prospects.

Written by
Jennifer Mattern