10 min read

Sources of Recruitment


Employers can choose among a wide variety of methods for fulfilling their recruiting objectives. These strategies vary based on market conditions, skill set required, the type of targeted candidates, diversity-related issues and other factors. We list out few methods that can be implemented


Staffing Agencies

Employers can opt for the support on staffing agencies to contribute to and support recruitment activities.


Recruitment agencies, or “head-hunters,” have traditionally been used for filling niche positions or hard-to-recruit positions, particularly top management, technical and professional vacancies. Many small organizations often rely on third-party recruiters in the absence of an inhouse recruiter. Generally, companies use these resources with caution due to their high cost.


In the event of bulk recruitment’s or exclusive tie-ups, staffing agencies and third-party recruiters may provide value packages and charge flat fees as a fixed percent of base salary or a fixed rate under special agreements, such as when multiple positions need to be filled or when the employer enters into an exclusive agreement with an agency. Some recruiters even charge by the hour for searches, whereas others charge a minimal fee up front and act as the employer’s HR department in coordinating the search.


Interim Firms

Employers often opt for the support of a interim staffing firm to fill positions. Some firms use the temporary role as a pathway into regular employment, using the temporary employment process almost as a “trial/probationary” period. This method is often successful with entry-level roles that are higher volume or repeatable types of jobs (such as factory workers, etc.). After a certain period, temporary employees can interview for regular roles and then be “converted” (hired as a regular employee). Temporary staffing firms will typically take a cut of the employee’s wages or/and charge employers a “conversion fee” or require that temporary employees stay on the staffing agency’s payroll for a certain period in order to be converted without a conversion fee.


Campus Recruitment

Colleges and other types of schools can be a source for targeting recent graduates. In addition to on-campus interviewing drives, employers may become involved with a number of activities to generate interest, including the following:


  • Designing a internship program.
  • Talking classes for a college batch.
  • Taking part in a career fair or recruitment event.
  • Assigning staff as faculty and placement counselors.
  • Promotion in the school or college magazine.
  • Publishing notices on campus bulletin boards.
  • Sponsoring and hosting a luncheon with students or with teachers.


Employers may also want to consider “planting seeds” at the high school level. Increasingly, students are deciding on employment options at younger ages and may be influenced by a presentation to a high school class, participation in a career fair or other activity.


Government And Community-Based Programs.

Government sponsored community-based employment and training programs support employers in finding and training candidates to fill job vacancies. Many of these programs offer employers incentives to hire their program participants. Incentives can be in the form of tax credits, reimbursements and extensive, tailored training.

Government-funded and community-based programs can also identify specific labor markets. This is because many of them offer their services to a specific category of talent. For example, there are initiatives to provide employment for aged workers, handicapped youth, displaced homemakers and women in non-traditional work roles, people with disabilities, and other segments.


Public Relations.

Organizations today align with noteworthy causes and socially relevant programs. One way to increase the success of recruitment programs is to enhance the organization’s image as an employer who is socially responsible. Employers can try to coordinate staffing activities with public relations experts to plan spending. For example, the marketing manager at one company who wanted to gain more credibility for its college recruitment efforts designed a booth to be used at a college recruitment and career fair. The company’s public relations team designed leaflets for the event. Gifts, courtesy of marketing, were provided to students who came by the booth as a means of promoting the business as both a good place to work and as a provider of excellent products and services.


With the right brand building exercise, local newspaper will give coverage to right kind of stories such as sponsoring a new hire-training program or a generous donation given by a company’s department in a backward locality.


Digital Platforms

Recruiting via online job boards is one of the primary strategies of external candidate sourcing today. Many employers have a career page in their website that lists out open positions that is connected to the organization’s applicant tracking system.


Employment websites are necessary for most organizations. Companies should have at least a page on their website that lists the open positions currently in the organization, explains the benefits of working for the company and how to apply for jobs. Today, even entry-level candidates expect that some information about hiring and jobs is made available online. With the right SEO strategy you can attract potential applicants to the career website.


Employers can also use job portals such as Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter.com to post job and career information. There are also job boards that specifically targets niche talent in industries and professions. Many professional associations have job posting sites or databases of their members who may be seeking a new job that employers can access, sometimes for a fee, including SHRM’s site for HR positions, HR Jobs. Applicants can upload their resume to the job boards and hope that employers find them while searching for suitable candidates. Online groups on Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn or Reddit, are also a place to post jobs or even search for candidates for specific professions.


Social Media

The use of social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., can be very effective in recruiting and getting employer messages about open positions to potential candidates. Company can create company pages in Instagram and Facebook to promote open positions and publish the career opportunities at the organization. By posting the appropriate link to the company’s career page through employee social media and other channels will increase awareness in an organization’s jobs and encourage more candidates to apply. Using trending and relevant “hashtags” (using the # symbol), employers can target key searches through social media for a specific location, skill, (for example, using the hashtag #SeattleITJobs could target people doing a search for software jobs in Seattle.


Paid ads for job postings directing traffic to an employer’s employment site is also available on social media. For example, employers can create a target pool of prospective candidates (by location, job title, etc.) and then have an ad message appear in targeted profile news feeds in that particular location that would direct individuals to a job listing or an employer’s careers website. This is generally a “pay-per-click” approach that can be utilized with small budgets.



LinkedIn has become an effective external recruiting tool. Employers can create a LinkedIn company page where you can post job vacancies and links for free. In addition, LinkedIn’s database of hundreds of millions of professional profiles can be searched and targeted by employers, who then may contact them to share job vacancy information and directly recruit them.


In addition, HR professionals can use their own LinkedIn profile as a job posting platform. By writing individual LinkedIn profiles with information about the types of roles the company typically recruits for, how to apply for roles, and even posting links to specific job postings, an individual HR profile can become a powerful magnet for candidates, since LinkedIn’s pages are indexed by internet search engines such as Google and can be “found” by job seekers easily.
Employers can also choose to pay for LinkedIn’s recruiting tools; however, even the free LinkedIn accounts can access some of the power of LinkedIn.


Radio And Television

Radio can be used to market to a specific segment based on listener demographics. Radio messages can be used to promote employer website and other channels of marketing. By combining print and online advertising with radio recruitment ads, radio can be more impactful in reaching a wider audience. For example, the ads can refer radio listeners to the advertisement in Sunday’s classified section of the newspaper and to the company’s website. This can be particularly effective in promoting a recruitment event, such as an open house, campus drive, career fair or information seminar.


Like radio, television can be effective in targeting a message to passive candidates and build an employer’s brand. General Electric (GE) used television advertising to help change the brand perception of the company and its industry by sharing how GE was changing into a digital industrial company and gaining preeminence in the digital segment. The popular “Owen campaign” increased employment applications at GE eightfold.



The “help wanted” section of a newspaper does not get the impressions today like it used to in the past. Now, employers that advertise in newspapers often target other sections, such as sports and entertainment, that are more likely to be get more impressions and be seen by potential talent.



Recruitment promotions may appear anywhere—including billboard signs along the side of highway, restaurants, electronic billboards during sporting events and even portable billboards that can be rented affordably. Messages must be short, concise and easily read by passersby. For example, one retailer instructed viewers to “place your name on our employment waiting list.” Soon the company had a pool of qualified job candidates for a variety of openings.



Place posters in specific areas within the community. For example, when looking for college graduates, employers can post messages on notice boards on college campuses. When searching for back-to-work or currently unemployed moms or dads, organizations may want to place posters in supermarkets. Likewise, posting recruitment messages in senior community centers, pharmacies and nutrition centers may attract older workers.


Cinema Advertising And Transit Advertising

Another approach to reach targeted audiences is to advertise in movie theaters that play a short snippet just before a movie begins or to buy advertising space on buses, trains and subways.


Head Hunting

Head Hunting is a specialized recruitment service where organizations pay to seek out and recruit highly qualified candidates. It involves going directly to targeted candidates, this can seem highly customized and expensive. In fact, cost-effective approaches exist:


Direct Sourcing

Establishing direct communication with prospective applicants by phone, e-mail and social media is an alternate method. Companies can contact high-quality talent and dramatically decrease costs using this strategy. They can secure names and telephone numbers of prospective candidates through social media channels such as LinkedIn, association directories, professional organizations, church rosters, school directories, and mailing lists that associations and mailing list companies sell. Data mining firms (i.e., agencies and recruiting firms that specialize in directly sourcing resumes and handling research) can often provide this service for a fee.


Workplace Recruiting

Some organizations find that one of the best recruitment methods is approaching skilled talent by speaking with them at their worksite. Recruiters may visit, call or e-mail a competitor’s place of business and engage employees in conversation, often in the parking lot, to determine their interest in other employment opportunities. Some employers use “talent scout cards” with their business card as a strategy to encourage these workers to explore other options.


Customer Recruiting

Companies can look at hiring customers, vendors or contractors who might be interested in employment within their organizations. For example, retailers will leverage in-store digital signage, complete with self-service application kiosks, to entice customers to become employees.


Sending Mailers And Door Hangers

To reach potential job candidates within a specific geographic area, employers may go literally to their mailbox or front door. Direct mail can be used to attract entry-level, professional and technical candidates by sending a message that speaks directly to the job candidate’s needs. Some companies use creative mailers (e.g., recruitment videos) as a nontraditional way of communicating the recruitment message to prospective candidates. Mailing lists can be constructed by compiling directories of professional organizations, churches, schools or neighborhoods. Employers can also purchase mailing lists through professional organizations, mailing list companies or recruitment advertising agencies.


Inexpensive door hangers can be another tactic to implement, for example, a new store opening while communicating the need for new employees.



Programs that offer current employees or potential candidates an incentive can be a productive way to identify and entice candidates. Such approaches include:


Employee Referrals

One of the most effective methods to attract loyal, productive employees is to rely on employees to spread the word to their friends, former co-workers and family members about job openings available. Organizations can offer incentives to entice employees to encourage their contacts to apply, such as monetary rewards, cash bonuses, prizes or extra paid time off.


Employers should obtain names of prospective candidates during new-employee orientation, a time when employees may be most aware of the employment interests of former co-workers and friends.


The process should not be difficult to administer, and organizations should avoid multiple payouts that end up causing confusion and delaying the reinforcement. Rewards should be as appropriately released as soon as possible.


Sign-On Bonuses

Some businesses award sign-on bonuses as a means of enticing job candidates to make a job change. These bonuses are typically paid within the first three months of employment and are separate from the employee’s base pay. Some organizations insist on a waiting period, holding the bonus to discourage job-hoppers in search of instant money.


Typically, sign-on bonuses are most effective in industries and geographic locations that give the employer a competitive advantage. For example, health care organizations have offered aggressive bonuses to nursing professionals (from $100 to several thousands of dollars), hoping to entice qualified candidates to make the job switch.


Boomerang Employees

Employees who leave an organization only to return sometime later are referred to as boomerang employees. These typically fall into three categories such as those who leave for major life events such as marriage and return, employees who return after upgrading their skill sets by working or studying at a new place or seasonal hires like students who are recruited on demand. The retail and hospitality industry use boomerangs to work during holiday shopping season or during peak vacation times.


Boomerang employees have better understanding of company culture, knowledge of team members, insider organizational knowledge from their previous employment, and the company is familiar with the individual’s skills, potential and cultural fit—much more information than typically known with a new hire. Embracing this talent pool rather than sticking with outdated no-rehire policies can be beneficial, from lower recruiting and onboarding costs to higher employee morale and fresh perspectives.


The most generous companies return full positional authority on rehires’ first day back on the job, regardless of how long they have been gone. But it’s also common to set a limited time after departure, generally a few months to a year, during which rehires can return and have their benefits fully restored.



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