By Verne Harnish, contributor
FORTUNE -- 1. Build your bench
View scouting for talent the same way you do customer acquisition so you always have top people in the pipeline. Keep an ongoing list of potential hires and stay in touch regularly by, for instance, e-mailing articles that will educate them about your company. That's the advice of Brad Smart, author of Topgrading and president of the consultancy Smart & Associates. Also: Ask your key executives to suggest candidates every month.
2. Play in the right sandboxes
"Hang out where the people you're looking for hang out," says Mark Lancaster, CEO of recruiter EmploymentGroup in Battle Creek, Mich. For instance, to find an executive who can handle a merger, attend meetings of the Association for Corporate Growth. Or advertise in publications your targets like to read. One CEO friend hired a great CFO for his organic market after attracting 40 great applicants in one week through an ad on Treehugger.com.
3. Try guerilla tactics
Of course, the best talent is working for someone else. Steve Hall, founder of online auto marketplace Driversselect in Dallas, finds out who's winning industry awards by reading trade publications -- then phones the winners to ask for their professional advice. That's how he found a great services manager. For entry-level gigs, he leaves notes on cars parked in restaurants' employee-of-the-month spots suggesting that the workers contact him about a new opportunity.
4. Tweak the job description
Struggling to find the right systems engineer, Jennifer Walzer, CEO of tech firm BUMI, rewrote the job description she was circulating to draw those with the right cultural fit for her New York City tech firm. She added "highly developed sense of irony and a touch of snark," and got 125 applications with five great candidates, one of whom she hired. That's up from the 120 applications -- with zero strong candidates -- she received with a standard, HR-style job summary.
5. Become a celebrity
Not every executive can be a Richard Branson, but if you want top people to approach your company for jobs, it helps to become your industry's version of a rock-star CEO. How big? Write a book or speak at key events. Shortcut: Hire a ghostwriter through a site like MediaBistro.com or use Advantage Media's "Talk Your Book" program, where you can actually dictate a book in a single day. View it as an investment in shrinking your recruiting budget!
--Verne Harnish is the CEO of Gazelles Inc., an executive education firm.
This story is from the October 29, 2012 issue of Fortune.
Several startups are looking to use algorithmically powered job search systems to solve job search woes for candidates and recruiters alike. But can data replace the human touch? By Ethan RouenAug 2, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Finding great job candidates is both time-consuming and competitive, especially for startups. Some companies and B-schools are getting creative.
By Ethan Rouen, contributor
FORTUNE -- Just hearing the words "cash flow" can send a startup CEO into a panic, and for good reason. Entrepreneurs are frequently lectured on the importance of managing cash as their businesses grow, and hot companies can implode when they run out of money to support their expansion.
But MOREDec 19, 2011 9:57 AM ET
Dan Jessup, head of hiring at Groupon since 2009, calls upon his days in the Chicago improv scene to take job interviews off script.
Interview by Vickie Elmer, contributor
FORTUNE -- Recruiting talent for Groupon -- the soon-to-IPO online discounter that has grown from 37 to 7,100 employees in 21 months -- requires a lot of improvisation. Which is good, because the head of people strategy, Dan Jessup, has also been an MOREJul 25, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Job seekers often fall victim to the misconception that companies don't hire during the dog days. There are several reasons to turn up the heat on your job search.
By Anne Fisher, contributor
FORTUNE -- Dear Annie: Please settle an argument. A close friend of mine who has been job hunting for the past six months or so is talking about taking July and August "off," on the theory that employers don't hire MOREJun 23, 2011 12:55 PM ET
The ideal candidate may become a disaster if he doesn't fit company culture, but how do you screen for something as nebulous as cultural fit? By Ethan RouenApr 28, 2011 9:44 AM ET
Why hire a full-time executive when you can just rent one? More and more companies are turning to interim execs to fill gaps in leadership and expertise.
By Stephenie Overman, contributor
FORTUNE -- They ride into town, close down a division or oversee an acquisition, then move on. Just don't call them temps.
Interim executives, according to those in the field, are professional problem solvers who "make something happen," says Robert M. MOREApr 15, 2011 10:02 AM ET
The day your best employee comes in with the news that they're moving on is the day you start recruiting them again. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
By Hank Gilman, deputy managing editor
While you might have a bigger paycheck and you might have a special feeling inside now that you have a staff of your own, the gripes, hiring, and firing responsibilities are also all yours. Welcome MOREMar 9, 2011 10:18 AM ET
|Apple set for showdown on Capitol Hill over corporate taxes|
|Make $30 an hour, no bachelor's degree required|
|Stocks: Focus on Apple, Carnival and JPMorgan|
|Carnival flounders after profit warning|
|How Tesla's rivals support Tesla|