The 22 Unexpected Places Where You Can Find Great Employees

A "Hire Me" Sign

The Watering Hole Is Putrid

Have you had bad results when using job boards to find top talent? It isn’t that the job listing sites are bad, its just that employer and their mother uses those systems to find employees. In other words, the job board watering hole is saturated, and the select few great employees get picked up before you even get a chance to print out their resume. If you want to find a wealth of great employees, you need to look where no one else is looking.

A watering hole

The Unexpected Places Where You Will Find Great Employees

One popular definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing, expecting different results. Perhaps it is time to stop going to that putrid watering hole and try something new. Thanks to the Entrepreneur Enclave, we have compiled 22 unexpected places where you will find your next great employee.

1. Going To School? You’re Hired!
When a student is still in school, they are anxious to gain experience and show their abilities.  They are anxious for extra money, are usually up on the latest technology, and are flexible with their time.  The perfect way to find a great recruit.
Thanks to Gayle Carson of Carson Research Center
2. Volunteers Are Pre-qualified
As you volunteer your time whether painting fences for a community park or serving pizza to school kids, look around at the other generous givers. Not only are they pre-qualified self-starters looking to contribute, they may be available to work for you. As you work side-by-side you’ll observe the characteristics and personality of the person as they are vs. the spiffy interview image that isn’t always accurate.
Thanks to Lorraine Esposito of Peacemaker Coach
3. Go Get Coffee

I find some of the best people at the local coffee shop. Whether I meet them in line or in the coffee shop it’s pretty amazing how many entrepreneurial minded people I meet there, many of whom are open to new opportunities with a growing firm.

Go get some coffee!

Thanks to Jonathan Mast of Valorous Circle
4. Tweet-an-Employee
One of the most unexpected places to find employees is among your Twitter followers.  Simply tweet out that you are considering new employees and watch the resumes pour in.
Thanks to Charles Franklin
A sample of using twitter to find an employee
5. Catch One With Volunteer Fever
One of the best places to find positive, outgoing, genuinely motivated, unselfish employees (yes, they exist!) is within volunteer communities. You’ll be surprised how many people actually volunteer (everyone ain’t like you just sitting on the couch all day!). Usually community service also encourages striking up relationships with strangers, where you are free to talk openly about hiring needs for your business as a conversation topic. And friends of volunteers are also great connections.
Thanks to Kenny Jahng of Big Click Syndicate LLC
6. Customers Know Best
Want to find an employee that totally gets what you do.  Hire your customers.  No one know better how your product is used.
Thanks to David Zahn of ZAHN Consulting, LLC
7. Ask You Child For An Introduction
I had the best summer intern I’ve ever employed! I had asked my 20-year old daughter to work for me, but after grumbling, fidgeting, and rolling her eyes, she referred me to a classmate — a sophomore at Cornell. Because she knows me, my business, my work style, and my quality standards, she knew exactly who would be a great.
Thanks to Nancy Shenker of TheONswitch
8. Cherry Pick The Competition
Most people don’t actively go after the talent at their competitors… but you should. First, accurately identify your competitors. A competitor is a person or place that is getting the money you want to get from your prospect. In otherwords, a dry cleaner competes with retailers who develop wrinkle free shirts/suits. Social media companies compete with all types of promotional companies. Find the talent at your competitor’s company, research them personally and professionally, then call them directly.
Thanks to Vicki Donlan of VickiDonlan
9. Look In-House
Employee referrals are a quick, easy way to find the best top talent. Always start by looking in-house at your own top talent to see if a current employee has a close friend looking for a new job. If your existing employee is happy, they will make for a great ambassador to your brand and will be much more likely to persuade a like-minded individual to join your team.
Thanks to Tony Elliott of Pete’s Bathroom Remoeling
10. When You Are Out And About
You strike up a conversation with a grocery store employee, dental hygenist, or bank teller, and realize that they connect with people. You are in the service industry, so what is most important is to establish trust and confidence, and the rest you can train. Finding a trusting, honest and supportive employee comes from intuition and your connection with them.
Thanks to Ellen Delap of
11. Old Colleagues
Hire old colleagues and co-workers you admired and respected before you started your own business! I’ve found the conversion rate in this type of recruitment to be extremely high and stress-free. Even if you’ve lost touch with old co-workers you respected and enjoyed working with, you can always find them on LinkedIn.
A packed trade show
12. Trade Shows
I realize that some sales reps may go to trade shows looking for work. However, we have found some of our best unintentional ’employees’ while doing trade shows as a vendor. They were not the ones handing out cards and resumes, but were those we made connections with. It has ranged from other vendors to even friends that love our product and understand the opportunity to support it.
Thanks to Lyn P of Pendco Enterprises, LLC.
13. Get Creative With Micro-Culture
Want to hire the perfect employee, look towards sub-cultures. Omniture set up shop in Utah. They wanted a strong sales force, and the Mormon culture was already conditioned for it.
Thanks to Bryant Jaquez of BrewSEO
14. Look For People In Stressful Roles
I once worked security for the Ladies Pro Golf Association. I received no fewer than five invitations over the course of a week to work at various Fortune 500 Companies. Even though I was in a uniform and working, enough people were watching how I performed under stress, when threatened by angry fans, and in situations where a professional attitude mattered that they told me they would find or create a job for me. You can train for the position, but it’s impossible to train for attitude.
Thanks to Becky Blanton of BookyBiz
15. Elance
If I need help on a project and need it quickly, I go to and set up a project. Within minutes I would get a number of proposals. I just sort through the list until I find the one that closely matches the requirements I have for the job I need done. It is that easy.  If they do a great job, the have not only completed work for me, they also passed my interview for a long term position.
Thanks to Harry Husted of Creating Words
16. Ask Your Employees
Your loyal employees are your best recruiters. If your organization is the best, they will be already sharing what a great boss or organization they work for. These employees know what is happening in the day to day grind, they know your management style and will recommend the best people for the best jobs. If you are not using your employees as recruiters, this may suggest your business is not a good as it can be.
Thanks to Leanne Hoagland-Smith of ADVANCED SYSTEMS
17. First You Mentor, Then You Hire

I met my first assistant in a mentoring program for college students started by my local chapter of Women in Communications.

As I mentored her I realized she had exceptional skills; so I hired her while she was still in school. She was so personable, reliable and skillful that I was able to entrust her with organizing my company’s 10-year anniversary celebration.

Thanks to Jane Blume of Desert Sky Communications

Meet Up Tag

18. Meet-Up Groups
Industry meet up groups are a great way to find employees for my company. I post on their announcements pages. I received many resumes from a direct result of posting.
19. The Right Place At The Right Time
You never know when you will bump into that hidden gem. The key to finding a great employee, is not actually finding them, it is being ready to continue the dialog.  Have a business card and pen at the ready at all times.  A friendly smile is important, too.
Thanks to Hugh Glazer of WinterView Group
20. At The Bar… But Sober
Bars bring in a large mix of people from all over the world, and everyone is willing to talk.  Unlike someone who is working, a patron at the bar can spend adequate time for you to learn about them and determine if you want to meet with them for a formal interview.  The trick to doing it right?  You need to stay sober.
Thanks to Mark Biemans of MARK BIEMANS PROJECTS
21. Passive Job Seekers Abound At Networking Events
Trade shows, community events, local association meetings and other networking events are a great way to reach out to passive job seekers — individuals who aren’t actively looking for jobs but are open to new opportunities. You get the chance to learn about talent in a non-interview setting and promote your company as well. Look for events and places to go where people in your industry might be attending.
Thanks to Mary Hladio of Ember Carriers
22. Ask Professors
I have found that going directly to the source — local colleges — is the best place to find talented emerging professionals. Staying in touch with the schools and educators turning out graduates in my field works best. By being available for student portfolio reviews, speaking and other ‘town-gown’ opportunities, department heads alert me to the best of the best coming out of their programs. Taking on interns and mentoring are good ways to ‘test drive’ potential hires.
Thanks to Terri Maurer of Maurer Consulting Group


6 thoughts on “The 22 Unexpected Places Where You Can Find Great Employees”

  1. I’m one of those annoying people who proofreads for a living, and there is a grammatical error in #1. I’m sorry to be nitpicky, but I can’t help it. You’re hired, or You are hired, but please not, “Your Hired.” If there are typos on a resume, you might toss it out.

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