By ZoomInsights staff

If you work for a recruiting firm with a tight budget, it can be difficult to afford all the best tools your peers use. There are free tools, but do they really work? There are inexpensive tools, but are they worth even a small investment? And there are expensive tools, but they’re probably not in the budget. So what’s a recruiter to do?

Chris Murdock, senior partner at IQTalent Partners, spoke to this exact problem at Recruiting Trends Conference 2012 in his session, “Doing a Lot with a Little and Getting the Most Out of What You Do Have.” When ZoomInsights spoke with Murdock, he said your approach depends on how tight the tight budget is.

Working with a non-existent recruiting budget
There are plenty of free tools out there, especially within social media. Recruiters can turn to Facebook, though Murdock isn’t completely convinced of its merits. While he said it can be great for college recruiting, it doesn’t measure up when it comes to recruiting at an executive level. “It’s better for contacting people you’ve already identified,” he said.

One of Murdock’s favorite case studies on how to work with a nearly non-existent budget relies on good old-fashioned hard work. A friend found himself as the head of a HR department with a recently slashed budget and the need to quickly get creative. With no budget for tools, he set about finding every employee at the company on LinkedIn and then connected to them. This allowed him to see their connections and solicit referrals. He continued this process with every new hire.

“When you have very little money, you have to have a process and you have to stick to it,” said Murdock. He also suggested that in the digital age, going low-tech can be cost effective and give your recruiting efforts a personal touch.

“The crazy thing is, the phone is new again,” he said. People have become so accustomed to using email – and now social media messaging – that it almost doesn’t occur to them to simply pick up the phone and call someone.

Allocating your recruiting budget
One of the most important steps to getting the most bang for your recruiting buck is to understand what products you’re using, which ones are working and what tools you and the rest of your staff use most. “Some people get a little freaked out by metrics. However, you need to make sure that if you’re spending money on a source, you know how it’s working,” Murdock said.

Recruiters need to ask where their hires are coming from and make sure that they are investing in the tools that work. If you have tools that you or your fellow staff members are not using, it might be a training issue. Don’t get rid of an underused tool until you’re sure everyone knows how to use it effectively and to its fullest extent.

On the other hand, when a tool turns out to be unhelpful, get rid of it and put that money into the tools that do work for your organization.

Searching effectively
Your search keywords are also part of this puzzle. Murdock urges you to examine the keywords you use – on all search engines, because each uses a different algorithm – and figure out if those keywords are returning results that are too narrow or too wide.

“Recruiters are inherently lazy. We want the shortest path from start to a butt in the seat,” said Murdock. He suggested that by working smart instead of hard, you will spend less time on unnecessary interviews. By understanding which tools work for your company and your budget, you can reduce both costs and time to hire – the goals of any good recruiter.

One free tool that’s great for finding specific people is ZoomInfo Community Edition. It lets you search detailed profiles of 65 million businesspeople by more than 20 criteria. And it doesn’t cost a dime!  Learn more.

Country Code is US Connecting IP is,