12 recruitment methods you need to know about

Last updated:
February 21, 2024
February 21, 2024
min read
Adrie Smith
recruitment methods
Table of contents

Organizations use many different types of recruitment methods to attract the best staff. Not every job has the same requirements, and each company has different needs. That means employers have to use hiring tactics that will match their environment and appeal to the candidates they’re looking for.

Depending on the role and department, various recruiting methods can be used within the same business. For example, if you’re in manufacturing, you’ll have design, technical, marketing, sales, finance, admin, and artisan roles to fill from entry to executive level. You can’t use the same hiring methods to find the best candidates for different roles.

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What is best: internal or external recruitment drives?

Neither is better than the other. There are pros and cons to both, depending on your business and the job you need to fill. So what’s the difference? Briefly, internal recruitment is when you source candidates to fill a role from within your existing workforce. External recruitment is when you go outside your company to attract people you’ve never met.

Internal recruitment can be a massive time-saver because there isn’t a protracted interview and onboarding process. The downside is that keeping everything close to home can stymie new ideas, innovation, and diversity.

External recruitment brings new ideas, a fresh approach, and renewed energy. However, it is a costly and time-consuming process. Candidates have to be sourced, interviewed, assessed, and verified before a hiring decision is made.

Pros and cons of internal and external recruitment

The 12 best recruitment methods you need to know about

Every recruiter knows that as much as we’d like to plan so that we can fill vacancies within the best time to hire hiring metric, things regularly don’t go as we’d hoped. Under pressure, we fall into old habits (that we know don’t always work) because hiring managers are turning up the heat.

The temptation to drop the job post on every available job board and cross your fingers that a great candidate will pop up is a common symptom of reactive recruitment. And sometimes we’re lucky, but more often, we’re not. 

As Sai Blackbyrn, CEO of Coach Foundation, said, “companies often rely too heavily on outdated or ineffective recruiting methods. Simply posting a job ad and hoping for the best is not a strategy. You need to use multiple channels to reach the right candidates, from employee referrals to social media to targeted ads.”

Savvy recruiters know that they must have an arsenal of quick options at their disposal to attract people in different ways. We want to share the various types of recruitment you can use:

1. Direct advertising

One effective strategy for attracting job applicants is advertising your job openings on various platforms such as your company’s careers site, job boards, and social media platforms like LinkedIn. By doing so, you can reach a large pool of potential candidates and promote your employer brand, enhancing your company’s reputation in the market. However, external advertising can be quite costly, a major drawback to this approach.

Recruitee's job boards

Another potential challenge is that if you don’t target the placement of your ads well, you might receive applications from unsuitable candidates or not receive enough applications to fill the position. Therefore, it’s crucial to advertise your job openings strategically to attract the right candidates while keeping your recruitment costs low.

Are you looking to save some budget? Discover our tips for job advertising for free

2. Social media recruiting

More and more employers are now utilizing the power of the internet to search for potential job candidates. A recent survey by The Muse revealed that a whopping 91% of recruiters plan to use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to advertise job openings. Additionally, recruitment agencies can use job postings as a tool to promote themselves and get referrals from friends and relatives.

3. Talent pool databases

Instead of starting from scratch and posting the job opening online, look at your existing pool of applicants who were not hired in the past. There are likely a few individuals in there who were strong contenders for previous roles and may be a great fit for this new opportunity.

Recruitee by Tellent talent pool example.

By searching your talent pool for the skills and experience required for your open role, you’ll be able to quickly identify a shortlist of candidates who are already familiar with your organization and have a proven track record of being strong contenders. 

This approach saves you time and effort and helps build a positive reputation for your organization by showing that you value the time and effort of all candidates who apply, even if they weren’t ultimately hired in the past.

4. Employee referrals

Many organizations have implemented an employee referral program to enhance their recruitment process. Referral programs combine both internal and external recruitment strategies, where current employees are encouraged to refer potential candidates for open positions.

Recruitee ReferralsHub

This approach is highly beneficial as it is not only cost-effective but also fast. It is an effective way of ensuring that the referred candidates are suitable for the job since your employees are unlikely to refer individuals they don’t trust or believe would be a good fit.

5. Boomerang employees

Rehiring past employees has been gaining popularity in the last few years. Known as boomerang employees, these are people who worked well at a company but then left on good terms.

Employers recognize the benefits of rehiring former employees because they are already familiar with the company’s culture and their skills. Rehiring such employees reduces the time and cost of hiring and also eliminates the risk of making a bad hire. Thus, bringing back a boomerang employee is a great strategy for companies looking to save resources and maintain a productive workforce.

Check out our interview with Brian Westfall from Software Advice on his research on Boomerang employees

6. Promotions and transfers

Promotions and transfers are two different concepts, although they have some similarities. When a company has an open position, it may offer the job to one of its current employees. If the employee is offered a promotion, they will be moved up the career ladder and given more responsibilities, as well as a higher salary.

On the other hand, if the employee is offered a transfer, they will be moved to a different department or branch, but their responsibilities and salary will remain the same. Transfers can be either lateral or vertical, depending on the position and the employee’s qualifications.

7. Employment exchanges

In some countries, there are mandatory employment exchanges. The government runs these exchanges and maintains a record of job seekers who are currently unemployed. Employers can submit new job openings to the exchange and are provided with the necessary details about suitable candidates. This is a cost-effective way of finding candidates, but it is mostly suitable for more junior roles in factories, agriculture, and artisanal fields.

8. Recruitment agencies

You can outsource your hiring process to a recruitment agency. Agencies manage full-cycle recruiting on your behalf. Although the cost of using an agency is high, it frees up your time to focus on more pressing matters. Recruitment agencies are a great option for hard-to-fill positions and for companies that don’t have the internal HR resources to focus on hiring.

You can also hire an external recruiter to make contact with specific people that you would like to attract to your company. You might know of a passive candidate who’ll fit your role perfectly, but they work for your opposition, so you don’t want to make direct contact. An executive search recruiter, or headhunter, would be the perfect choice in this case.

9. Professional organizations

When you need to fill a highly skilled position, professional organizations can be an excellent source of candidates. Many professions require that people register with the appropriate professional association on qualification.
There are also other organizations where registration is voluntary, but it adds to the credibility of a candidate’s qualifications. Partnering with these associations and organizations can put you in touch with top talent.

10. Internships and apprenticeships

Offering internships and apprenticeships is an excellent way to assess the skills and abilities of individuals, and it can be considered a working interview. During this period, managers can evaluate the potential of interns and apprentices and identify those who can be trained and developed to fill future roles.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and future leaders are no exception. They all begin in entry-level positions, but well-managed internship and apprenticeship programs can be great platforms for recognizing and nurturing future talent and leaders.

11. Recruitment events

For big organizations, or companies planning expansion, recruitment events are perfect for attracting the type of people you need. Events can range from hosting open days to being at job fairs, holding a hackathon and graduate recruitment drives on campus. For example, Lego organizes “Brick Factor,” where 100 participants compete in building competitions and are offered jobs as Master Builders.

However, creating your own recruitment event can be expensive. To ensure you get the best ROI, you must know precisely what type of candidate you want to attract and what your employer value proposition is.

Job shadowing is another great way to get to identify potential candidates. It’s also an excellent means of promoting your employer brand and letting people know your company supports developing talent.

12. Word of mouth

Big brands and well-known companies can use word-of-mouth recruitment methods because unsolicited job seekers approach them daily. Their employer brand is established and recognized as an employer of choice. All they need to do is put the word out that they’re hiring, and they will get a good response.

Want to improve your employer branding? Read our top tips and tricks.

What do these types of recruitment options tell us?

Firstly, there isn’t a single recruitment method to attract top talent and hire effectively. Recruiters must be creative, analyzing their processes to discover which channel and method is more effective depending on the role and department.

Recruiters and hiring managers must be willing to explore all forms of internal and external types of recruitment if they want to find the best candidates. 

Of course, the methods mentioned in the article aren’t the only types of recruitment you can use either. With the ever-present war for talent, your innovative recruitment methods will draw attention and make your employer brand stand out. Your company will be considered an employer of choice, even if you’re a startup or a small business. It’s important to stay updated on the recruitment trends to continue attracting the right candidates for your company. 

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