Executive search has gotten more difficult as the economy has improved and more companies have expanded their hiring. It’s no longer enough to post a job everywhere and wait to see what happens. Executive search firms that want to remain competitive have to start thinking outside the box if they want to find the executive talent their clients want and need.

Here are some unusual places to source executive candidates that go far beyond traditional methods to attract and find top talent that will appreciate creativity and a dynamic company culture.

1. Look off the beaten (social media) path.

There is a whole social media world beyond LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Searching niche online communities and message boards for interesting profiles that may have the qualifications you need can be a way to approach passive candidates that will pique their interest and may convince them that working for your client’s company may be just the opportunity they are looking for.

eBook: Using Social Media for Executive Search – Learn how to leverage social media in your executive search process more effectively.

2. Give candidates without keywords a try.

Candidates who use all the right keywords may get recruited more often, but can those candidates walk the walk or are they just the best at talking the talk? Candidates who don’t use the right keywords, or any keywords, but whose profile otherwise indicates that they have the right qualifications to do the job may be an option that few other recruiters explore, but that may yield candidates that others have overlooked.

3. Campaign out in the real world.

Use the company’s branding to create buzz and source candidates, such as one Australian tech company that hired a bus to drive around Europe emblazoned with a message, “We’re coming to Europe to steal your geeks.” The bus made stops in strategic cities and collected applications that helped them hire 15 developers and cultivate their pipeline, which has helped them with subsequent hiring efforts as well.

4. Go farther into search results.

Starting at the end of search results on LinkedIn will show you the candidates that most other recruiters never see because they started on page 1. While the last few pages of search results may include candidates that don’t fit the qualifications you need, there will be some that you can pursue, and who are likely to have been overlooked by most other recruiters.

5. Tap into executive level online courses.

Desired candidates will constantly be making efforts to better themselves, including taking courses online. Making connections with those taking online Master Classes or Seth Godin’s Alt MBA, for example, can help to build a talent pipeline that you can use to source executive talent well into the future. Companies might also consider offering their own free executive level courses if they can generate enough interest as well.

6. Go back to candidates that didn’t work out the first time.

Whether during the current hiring process or a previous one, candidates often fall out of contact with recruiters along the way even though they are fully qualified for the job. Maybe the hiring team stalled and the candidate gave up, or maybe they made it all the way to the end last time but just didn’t get the offer. It’s worth giving these candidates another look to see if there are any who stand out this time and can rejoin the process once again.

Thrive TRM offers cutting edge software that can streamline the entire executive search process including pipelining, communication, tracking, and reporting. Schedule a demo to see how ThriveTRM can help your search firm succeed.

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