70% of companies plan to recruit on campus this year, which means the competition is fierce to win young talent. While still useful, traditional recruiting methods like attending career fairs and “posting and praying” are no longer enough to attract, engage and hire job seekers. To stay relevant, campus recruiters now have to think about recruitment marketing, employer brand, and year-round strategies to stay in touch with students.

That’s why we’re sharing our top uncommon recruitment activities ideas for employers who are looking to set themselves apart from other companies. Here are a few of our favorite ways to stand out from the crowd:

1. Build a nano-influencer program

One of the biggest out-of-the-box strategies to recruit Generation Z job seekers is using nano-influencers—social media accounts with a small but growing following—to spread the word about organizations that are hiring. Nano-influencers work because they’re regular, non-famous people whose lives feel authentic, and Gen Z students respond well to their posts because these influencers feel like peers, not celebrities. This tactic is also a great addition to your organization’s strategy if you’re looking to reach a wider talent pool but don’t have time for social recruiting of your own.

To build an influencer network for your own employer branding, turn to your current employees and interns. Invite your team members to share their work lives on social media, and post when you have new open positions. (And don’t forget to offer an employee referral bonus when someone in their network gets hired!)  Be sure to feature your employees’ content with candidates for a more authentic view of your company culture.

2. Become a trusted advisor

Gen Z candidates are looking for much more than a middleman between themselves and their hiring manager. They want recruiters to be a trusted advisor — and rank their relationship with their recruiter as having the biggest impact on their decision to accept a job.

Become an ally for applicants (and even passive candidates) throughout the process by scheduling phone check-ins and coffee meet-ups. Collaborate closely with hiring managers to understand their challenges so that you can effectively communicate open roles to candidates.  Coach talent through the hiring process, providing post-recruitment event follow-up, feedback from the interview team and insights on how to excel during the job search.

3. Write job descriptions in the first person

One of our favorite tips for surprising and delighting candidates comes from Tracey Parsons. She argues that a strong job description is one of the most important ways to attract top talent, and the traditional role opening leaves a lot to be desired. 

Any company could publish the boring, lifeless post on the left. What could happen if you allowed the reader to write themselves into your story? A job applicant who sees the post on the right has a better understanding of the company’s values, what they’ll be doing, and how they’ll make an impact.

Boring, Lifeless Post

  • Manage the execution of advertising campaigns using internal and external assets to drive sales, encourage customers and enhance the brand image of the <brand>.
  • Oversee advertising and collateral creative including television, radio, out-of-home, email, web, print, collateral design and premium items.
  • Plan and manage annual advertising budget in a manner that most effectively and efficiently deploy the organization’s resources to achieve the stated goals and objectives.

Post that writes candidates into a story

  • You bring your body, mind, heart and spirit to your work as an Internal Medicine Registered Nurse.
  • Your compassion is tangible: whether your patient is 18 or 85, they feel it in the hand they hold. Families feel it in your prayers. Colleagues feel it in your support.
  • You know when to move quickly. When to sit quietly. When to laugh loudly.
  • You’re great at what you do, but you want to be a part of something even greater.
  • Because you believe that while individuals can be strong, the right team is invincible.

4. Send a “pump-up” playlist

Another favorite from Tracey Parsons, this idea is a surefire way to go the extra mile and offer a positive candidate experience.  What’s more memorable for a candidate than receiving a playlist with interesting podcasts or “pump-up” songs to listen to on the way to the interview? It costs your company nothing, but it creates a unique, memorable experience at a high-stress moment of the job search process.

5. Ask unconventional interview questions 

Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter or just starting out, you’re likely armed with a list of common interview questions for every candidate. But navigating the art of the interview can be complicated. Questions like “Tell me about yourself” or “Why are you looking for a new role?” can be good conversation starters, but they’re also the kinds of questions that might lead to canned responses.

While the same old list of pre-selected questions can help you learn more about a candidate’s work history and experience, they may not be effective in helping you assess things like behavioral tendencies, problem-solving skills or leadership style. How do you decide which questions are best for the specific role you’re filling? What’s the best way to gauge a candidate’s passion for their work, or assess if they’re a good culture fit?

Check out these unconventional interview questions to get a better sense of a candidate’s personality and style.

By implementing one or more of these unconventional recruiting ideas, you’ll show candidates that your company is willing to find creative ways to make the hiring experience modern, fun, and unique for job seekers.