There are some small signs of the recession residing a bit. NOT big signs, but for some of you, you may want to hire a few additional employees for your business. I want you to manage recruiting and hiring as inexpensively and as wisely as possible. Here are a few cheap and/or innovative ways to recruit and hire without breaking the bank.

First avoid newsletter and employment board (Career Builder, Monster) advertising. It is just a waste of a lot of money and is no longer necessary given the world of online social media.

If you have laid off employees, these would be your obvious pool. However, don’t bring back old problems! This is the perfect time to involve your current employees in decision-making as they probably know things you didn’t about the former employee’s performance.

Next up is to ask your best employees to keep their eyes open for potential candidates. But don’t just stop there. Ask your customers and vendors as well. Make everyone aware that you are recruiting for new positions.

If you belong to any trade associations or community groups, spread the word. Be cautious about posting on association job boards-also expensive. Word of mouth should do.

Keep in mind, plenty of great people are still out of work! Do a search on LinkedIn by keyword (the job title) to find people who do that work and then look for recommendations. Also, post in any groups you belong to and let your contacts know who and what you are looking for.

Let your friends and contacts on Facebook and Twitter know. If your business has a page, be sure you write an ad for that and repost to keep it fresh.

We’ve written about job postings on craigslist before. Take a few minutes to read this information and then draft your own witty post.

As a last resort, consider a staffing agency to bring in some temp-to-hire possibilities. Of course, this isn’t free (generally the hourly rate is doubled but given the availability of employees, hourly rates have gone down), but you are getting some things done while you are paying and getting a real world evaluation of skill set and cultural fit. Do a 90-day trial period before bringing on full-time and just because the staffing agency says they checked references, do it yourself again.

There should be no reason to spend the money on paid advertising. Even if you do run a craigslist paid ad, it is super cheap compared other advertising. Don’t settle. It is an employer’s market right now and you can find that perfect fit for your position!

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by Steven Schlagel