The only time you're prowling for new talent shouldn't be when you post a job opening on LinkedIn. Recruiting is an always-on game. These founders have gotten crafty and creative when it comes to how they unearth--and seduce--new hires.

When a fulfillment company needs to bulk up staff for its warehouse.

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"One night, we went to a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner. Our waiter was a guy two of us had known in high school. We told him what we were doing and he offered to help. There were also servers and cooks in the restaurant who he said worked well together. Hiring a cohesive team sounded great, so we onboarded four people from that restaurant part-time. As we needed more people, they helped us recruit more from the restaurant. Ultimately, we hired 15 people. The restaurant is almost like our training facility."

Luring mobile developers.

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"At my first company, Crowd­Compass, I offered a class in building apps for the iPhone. We advertised it on college campuses, at developer Meetups, on Craigslist. The session took place over a long weekend and cost $400. About a dozen people came and participants had no idea we were looking for talent. We got to observe them working hands-on and assess their desire for continuous learning. We did that five times and hired two or three people from each group."

Hunting in the wild.

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"We often come across amazing diamonds in the rough in our daily lives, and we wanted a way to approach people in a subtle manner without putting them on the spot, so we made these discreet cards that say, 'Seriously. Your personality, incred­ible attitude, and energy are exactly what we look for at Drybar. We'd love to talk to you about joining our team.' We've given them to everyone from restaurant hostesses to someone working at Urban Outfitters."