In the competitive landscape of talent acquisition, CEOs and marketing directors have shared their unique strategies to make their companies stand out. From simplifying the hiring process to providing personalized relationship coaching, explore these ten innovative approaches that have successfully attracted top talent.

Simplify the Hiring Process

Simplicity is our best approach. We try not to overcomplicate the hiring process because, honestly, it only makes the candidate experience more troublesome and unbearable for candidates. It might seem beneficial for recruiters to use software and other processes that make things easier for them, but for candidates to go through several bureaucratic workflows makes it a not very great experience for them.

For example, we conduct straightforward interviews. Interviews are inherently stressful, so we avoid exacerbating that stress by introducing unfamiliar software that requests permission to record candidates and analyze their biometric data to assess their emotions and transcribe their words. We believe a great candidate experience allows candidates to feel at ease and express themselves freely; that’s what we strive to achieve.

Patrick Beltran, Marketing Director, Ardoz Digital

Gamify Skills and Personality Tests

One thing we do that others probably don’t do much is the gamification of both the skills and personality tests. It is fun for them, and it’s hard to cheat with gamification because you must have, or are encouraged to have, a quick reaction time. It’s hard for the candidate to know what we are looking at or for, so there is less stress.

To them, they are having fun while answering questions and doing the best they can. It makes for a positive experience that they talk about with others.

Bruce Tasios, CEO, Tasios Orthodontics

Implement an Applicant Portal

If you have the technology and capacity to do so, one innovative strategy that can absolutely revolutionize the candidate experience is to create an applicant portal. You don’t necessarily need to build your own system from scratch to do this—there are service providers like Submittable that you can sign up for to give you this capability.

The main benefit of using an applicant portal over traditional methods of collecting applications is that it allows candidates to check on the status of their application without needing to reach out to your team. This helps to remove some of the uncertainty that’s very frustrating for candidates when they’re waiting to hear back, since they can log in and see that their application is still in progress. 

Combined with frequent, transparent communication from the hiring team, this helps them feel more connected to the process, which can help to keep them in your pipeline until you’ve made your final decisions.

Rob Boyle, Marketing Operations Director, Airswift

Introduce Interactive Recruitment Elements

We incorporate interactive elements into our recruitment process, such as virtual meet-and-greet sessions or project-based assessments. These interactive experiences allow candidates to actively participate in the evaluation process and showcase their skills in a real-world context. 

By providing candidates with opportunities to engage directly with our team members and demonstrate their capabilities, we assess their suitability for the role and foster a sense of belonging and inclusion at the same time. This approach helps us attract top talent who are not only qualified for the job but also aligned with our company values and vision for the future.

Michael Hurwitz, CEO and Co-Founder, Careers in Government

Host Virtual Coffee Chats

One unconventional approach we’ve employed to set our candidate experience apart is hosting virtual “Coffee Chats” with potential hires. Instead of traditional interviews, candidates are invited to informal virtual sessions with team members over a cup of coffee, creating a relaxed atmosphere for genuine conversation. 

This approach allows candidates to get a feel for our company culture and team dynamics while providing us with deeper insights into their personality and fit. By humanizing the recruitment process and fostering authentic connections, we not only attract top talent but also ensure a better cultural fit and higher retention rates.

Steven Mostyn, Chief Human Resources Officer,

Offer Employee Shadowing Days

One distinctive approach we’ve adopted at our company to stand out in attracting top talent involves “Employee Shadowing Days.” This initiative allows potential hires to experience a day in the life at our firm, working alongside our teams. It’s a concept I personally advocated for, inspired by my own early career experiences. 

The idea struck me during a casual conversation over coffee with a mentor, reminiscing about how immersive experiences can profoundly influence career decisions. This hands-on experience provides insights into our dynamic work environment and culture, fostering a deeper connection than what traditional interviews can offer. 

It’s been gratifying to see how this approach not only piques candidates’ interest but also helps them envision a future with us, contributing to our vibrant community.

Barkan Saeed, CEO, Vizteck Solutions

Share Reasons Not to Work Here

To attract the best talent, we flip the interview process upside down. At the end of our interview process, we openly share all the reasons why someone shouldn’t work at our company. As a lean organization, we expect our employees to be multifaceted, capable of rapid thinking, and ready to take ownership of significant parts of our business. This helps us attract talent that is honest and who are genuinely interested in our team’s culture and values.

Munir Alsafi, Co-Founder, VixelStudio

Integrate Real-World Cybersecurity Challenges

We recognized early on that to attract top talent within the fiercely competitive cybersecurity sector, we needed to offer more than just traditional recruitment processes. Our innovative approach involved integrating real-world cybersecurity challenges into the application process. Candidates are invited to solve actual cybersecurity issues, which not only allows them to showcase their skills in a practical, engaging manner but also provides them with a taste of the kind of work they can expect.

This not only enriches the candidate experience but also helps us assess applicants in a more holistic way, going beyond resumes to understand their problem-solving capabilities and practical skills. This hands-on approach has not only differentiated us from our competitors but also helped us attract and identify individuals who are truly passionate and skilled in cybersecurity.

Amit Doshi, Founder and CEO, MyTurn

Send Personalized Handwritten Notes

One unconventional approach we’ve embraced to stand out in attracting top talent is the integration of personalized handwritten notes throughout our recruitment process. In an era dominated by digital communications, we leverage our own automated handwriting technology to craft unique, personalized experiences for each candidate. 

From the initial application acknowledgment to post-interview thank-yous, these notes add a personal touch that resonates deeply with candidates, fostering a sense of value and appreciation right from the start. This strategy not only highlights our innovative technology but also showcases our commitment to thoughtful communication, setting us apart in a competitive job market.

Rick Elmore, CEO, Simply Noted

Provide Personalized Relationship Coaching

One innovative approach we’ve implemented is offering personalized relationship-coaching sessions as part of our recruitment process. Recognizing the intense overlap between personal fulfillment and professional satisfaction, especially in the matchmaking industry, we facilitate these sessions for potential candidates.

This not only helps us understand their values and relationship goals more deeply but also demonstrates our commitment to their holistic well-being. This unique initiative has significantly enhanced our appeal to top talent, showing that we invest in their personal growth alongside their professional development.

Katrina Elbahey, CEO, Founder, and Practical Psychologist, Matchmaking Services


These creative strategies from industry leaders highlight the importance of thinking differently to make your candidate experience stand out. Whether it’s making the hiring process simpler or providing personalized coaching, these ideas improve how candidates feel about your company. By using these innovative approaches in your recruitment, you can create a unique experience that makes your company more appealing in the competitive talent market.

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