How We Hired 12 People in 1 Month with a $600 Budget

When I started as Yotpo’s Head of Talent Acquisition, we had five open positions.

No problem, I thought. This would be easy.

But before I knew it, the company’s needs ballooned:

I was suddenly faced with finding 19 new hires on a $600 budget.

For anyone familiar with recruiting for companies in high-growth stages, this situation is nothing new.

Here’s how I found 12 new hires within 30 days.

The smart way to run an employee referrals program

While office perks and generous salaries have traditionally been the go-to way to lure in top talent, in the ever-more competitive landscape, recruiters have to think differently.

Paying recruitment agencies or LinkedIn could become really expensive and posting on social sites or job boards doesn’t always bring relevant candidates.

So I decided to go with the employee referrals route.

Employee referral programs just make sense. People like to work with their friends, they’re easier to onboard, and good employees tend to attract more good employees.

The trick to getting your employee referral program to work on a budget is to be a little creative. Here’s how I did it.

To create a sense of urgency we made a dedicated recruitment month.

This put the whole company in full-power hiring mode, so finding new employees wasn’t just another thing on the back burner.

We set the goal “19 jobs in 30 days” and encouraged everyone to gather and submit CVs.

For Recruitment Month, we brainstormed creative ways to make helping recruitment fun and keep it at the forefront of our employees’ minds. Everything we planned was designed to be super shareable — in other words, people organically shared what was happening in the office on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, spreading the word about our open positions.

We needed to make open positions prominent and noticeable (and emails every day weren’t cutting it), so we clearly listed the available positions right where everyone would walk past them on a daily basis. Whenever someone was hired, we made a ceremony out of putting a “Hired” sign on the position.

Of course, hanging them on the wall is only one option — there are plenty of other ways to keep open positions at the front of your employees’ minds.

We kicked off Recruitment Month with two hundred branded balloons with “We are hiring” printed on them. This made a huge visual impact when people entered the office and that night there were tons of photos shared to social feeds.

In the second week of the recruiting month, we ordered cupcakes with our open positions printed on them and encouraged everyone to submit at least one CV for the position on the cupcake they ate.

Remember, startup employees often don’t have a lot of free time to just go to your job page and thoroughly read different job descriptions, so you need to find a way to serve them the information on a silver platter (or branded cupcake).

Along with cupcakes, we emailed employees a simple game that took them through the requirements of each position and tested whether they knew someone suitable for the job.

The next week everyone entered the office to find a bamboo plant on their desk with a sticker that said, “We are growing.”

We ended the recruitment month with branded Yotpo tote bags (just in time for Tel Aviv beach weather) as well as branded beers and popsicles.

All in all, our recruitment efforts were a huge success. We managed to hire 12 amazing people in just four short weeks. For those who are also looking to recruit quickly and on a budget, here are some tips:

1) Think outside the office

It’s not enough to just spread excitement within your company — you also want the word to travel to your employees’ social networks and friends. Create moments and giveaways that can be easily shared outside the office.

2) Build recruitment efforts with social sharing in mind

Always think how your in-office recruitment efforts can foster social sharing. Word-of-mouth marketing is much more powerful than any organized recruitment efforts could be. Every effort should be visual and potentially viral — something people can easily put on Facebook or Instagram.

3) Take advantage of the free advertising of social proof

When your employees share your recruiting efforts among their online social circles, you get free, targeted advertising on social networks. Furthermore, your company is backed by social proof, so their friends are more likely to trust posts asking for resumes than a post by a generic recruiter.

4) Think of activities employees will actually want to share

If your excitement-generating campaigns are buzz-worthy enough, employees will naturally want to share photos of their presents or post status updates on social and news begins to spread organically. Before you know it, everyone in tech in your area has a social newsfeed flooded with pictures about your job openings.

5) Make sure sharing is organic, never forced

You want word-of-mouth to share entirely on its own — it should never be forced. People can easily tell when others post because they have to, rather than because they want to.

Conclusion

The results of our recruitment month were amazing! Not only did we succeed in closing 12 positions in less than a month, but we also raised the awareness of our employees and the rest of the community about our recruitment efforts.

Next time you need to grow recruitment efforts quickly on a tight budget, look within your company to see how your employees can help.

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Originally published at blog.yotpo.com on July 22, 2015.

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