As the labor market improves, businesses must be on top of their game to attract the best and brightest candidates to fill employment needs. Even if you have an HR Department or Recruitment Team, you cannot rely solely on them to ensure you get enough quality talent coming through the door to interview. So, here are my top five suggestions for attracting top talent.

1. Pass out your business cards when you experience good service. Whether you are in a bank, department store, restaurant, or staying in a hotel, if you encounter a fantastic employee, give them your business card, tell them about your company, and encourage them to stop by and apply for a job.

2. Encourage employee referrals. Keep the lines of communication open company-wide concerning job openings and solicit exceptional employees to find out if they have friends or family who might be interested in career opportunities within the company. If your organization has an employee referral program that pays incrementally that’s even better. Remind employees of this awesome benefit as an incentive to build the organization’s bench of highly skilled and talented team members.

3. Network through professional organizations. If you are part of a local Chamber of Commerce, an industry or trade specific organization, or a social network, let members know when you are looking for job applicants. Some organizations will even post job openings for you and make you aware of upcoming career fairs which your organization could be part of.

4. Form college and trade school partnerships. Make a connection with your local schools to find out how they can assist you. Hiring students can add a fresh, energetic approach to your organization. However, keep in mind that you will most likely need to be flexible in scheduling students around their classes, and they will require additional training and mentorship to refine their skills.

5. Touch base with friends and colleagues in the industry. If you know someone who works in the same or a similar industry, seek advice on how they attract quality candidates. In doing so, you will hear some initiatives that your company has employed, but you may also learn of a few new ideas that you hadn’t considered.

Bottom-line, to attract top talent, you must always be in “recruitment mode”, even when you have low turnover and no current job openings. This way, you will never be held hostage and have to submit to impulsively hiring “warm bodies” because you don’t have any potential candidates in your talent bank to call on at a moments notice.