Recruiting coaches, LinkedIn articles and even your dad will give you oodles of advice on how to find the right people for your new company. But they all assume that just by putting a job posting out there, you’ve opened the floodgates to the hundreds of resumes that will be pouring in. Let’s not kid ourselves. Most startups, unless they’ve already achieved celebrity status, struggle with simply creating the pipeline.

How do you get people to start sending in those applications in the first place when headhunters and consultants are still too expensive an option? In 2012 alone, the US recruiting industry generated approximately $117 billion in sales. That doesn’t even take into account the costs of salary, benefits and training for a new hire. For a bootstrapped startup, it can all add up fast. But what are the chances of finding your dream developer on Craigslist’s jobs page?

Here are a five cheap, creative ways to open up that pipeline spigot. They assume that you’re willing to:

  1. leverage your existing workforce to find new people (because you’re looking to hire people that are as good as the ones you already have); and
  2. tweak some tried and true recruiting tactics (because who needs to reinvent the wheel with new tools.)

1. Use Facebook photos: Having a Facebook page and posting job openings on there is a given. Whether you use something like Jobvite or do all this manually, though, you’re leaving out a powerful Facebook tool. Start posting team pictures on Facebook and tag your colleagues in them. Doing so will expose everyone who sees your teammates’ news feeds to the company. More news feed stories = more visibility for your company.

2. Create a two-tiered employee referral system: You’re obviously already offering a referral incentive. But don’t reward them just for passing along a CV. Instead, tier the reward so that part of it is given out at the interview stage and the other half is handed out upon completion of training. This raises the buy in from both current and potential employees.

3. Zone in on affinity groups: Stop trying to find cheap, generic job boards. Instead, identify key alumni groups or programs that have something in common with your ideal candidate. Compare the must-have qualifications on your job posting with different groups’ goals. Looking for someone with language skills? Consider approaching ex-Peace Corps employees. Need someone willing to canvas a precinct? Look into walking or hiking groups. You can either network into these groups or simply search for them on LinkedIn or Facebook groups and post away.

4. Create a recruiting video: Don’t have enough money for a production team to shoot you talking about the company in the middle of the closest park? Make your own. In fact, using something like 1 Second Every day could produce a far more effective recruitment video than one shot by professional team. Take a look at Prialto’s example here.

5. Test-drive the Talent: Hire several freelance contractors to complete a task and see who exhibits some passion for the job. This will not only get your company some visibility with those looking for work, but will also allow you to test them before accepting an application. This is most effective for long-term job prospects. A freelancer may not immediately want a full-time position or may be prohibited from taking one with you for a couple of years if you’ve hired the person via Elance or may need to be bought out if you’ve used ODesk.

What sorts of recruitment strategies do you use to keep the costs down and the talent flowing into the recruiting pipeline?