Trying to hire independent thinkers can be surprisingly tough in a country where the available workforce is so large. One of the most challenging things about finding independent thinkers is that you cannot measure this trait. You may be able to find a skilled worker, or an educated one, but that’s no guarantee they are great independent thinkers. independent thinkers are usually the best at customer service, because they can be innovative when it comes to solving problems. They are also able to make choices under pressure, when there is no manager around to consult.
Independent thinkers are the backbone of every company, which is why so many leading brands turn to unconventional methods to recruit them. Some companies have virtual recruitment games to see how well candidates handle typical workday challenges, other companies go out and pose as their rival’s competitors to find the best hires in their industry.
No matter which industry you’re in, here are a few ideas to hire independent thinkers.
Use social networks
You can tell a lot about a person based on what they share. If you’re looking for a marketer, do a quick Twitter search to see the top Tweets surrounding marketing. Take a deeper look into their profiles to see the type of content they share and whether they do so consistently. Are the posting interesting, thought-provoking articles that indicate they’re up-to-date in the industry? If you like their voice or personal brand, find out whether they have a website and how to contact them.
Find the best already in the field
Some companies’ HR departments go undercover to scope out the competition. For example, if you run a chain of restaurants, leave your card with any server who went above and beyond expectations. If you need people who deal with customers and customer service, you may try purchasing an item from a store and then returning it to gauge the level of service of someone. If anyone stands out, reach out and ask if they’re open to new opportunities.
Make it a game
Develop a mobile app that allows people to play out common scenarios in your business. It could be a marketing game, a restaurant game that demonstrates ability to multi-task, or something else. Google developed a marketing course that goes over the fundamentals of analytics, mobile advertising, and more. If you create something like this, you can reach out to everyone who completes the course and see if they’d like to apply.
Host industry events
Industry events show you who is involved enough to keep up with the industry. Observe both the participants and the employees from other companies who were sent to handle booths. Look at how attentive the booth managers are, how well they can answer questions, and their overall behavior. For the attendee side, do some networking, ask questions about the companies they’re currently with, and discuss current trends in the industry. You’ll start to see who is knowledgeable in the industry, but more importantly you’ll see their conversational skills.
Utilize your website
Use your website to attract employees who use your services. For example, if you run a freelancer directory, look at all of the complete, all-star profiles. Out of those, you should find a few freelancers you can reach out to in order to see if they’d like to work with you. If you use a blogging service that shows site visits and numbers, and you’re trying to fill an analytics position, place an unobtrusive note that you’re hiring.
Your business could also hold a contest to discover new talent. If you’re looking for a coder, host a contest wherein the prize is an award to a coding camp. Then, once they finish the camp courses, reach out to see if they’d like to apply. You can also hold a writing contest to find a content coordinator, or a new tagline and logo contest to find a designer.
What are some other unconventional ways to hire independent thinkers? Have you tried any of the methods above? Share your experiences and ideas in the comments.