8 recruiting methods and how to use them to attract talent

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employees are the most valuable assets that most businesses have. Effective recruitment can help businesses to attract and employ qualified, talented professionals who bring value to the organisation. It's important to understand how different recruitment methods work and when it's best to use each method. In this article, we explore what recruiting methods are and list eight methods that can help you attract the best candidates for open positions in your organisation.

What are recruiting methods?

Recruiting methods are the methods that an organisation chooses to use to find new employees. Understanding different methods of recruiting can help you to widen your search to a greater talent pool, attract candidates that you wouldn't otherwise have reached, and increase the quality of the applicants who apply to roles within the organisation. Using different methods can be effective in different situations and provide different outcomes.

For example, if you're hiring for a role that offers flexible working but requires a very specific skill set, recruiting using online methods could help you reach a wider audience from further geographical locations. This type of broad search can help create criteria that narrow the applicants but increase quality candidates.

Deciding between internal vs external recruitment

Understanding the difference between internal and external recruitment can help you determine the need for each role available, so consider your existing team compared to the open role. If the role is a professional entry role, that requires an individual with specific skills, like an accountant, consider posting outside the network for a qualified candidate. Neither internal nor external recruitment is better than the other, so the best way to recruit for new positions depends on the position you're trying to fill. Here's a closer look at internal and external recruitment:

Internal recruitment

This is when you source candidates for a role from within the company. This can mean hiring a candidate from the same team or it can mean hiring a candidate from elsewhere in the organisation. Internal recruitment is often quicker and simpler, but it doesn't bring any new ideas or skills into the organisation.

External recruitment

This is when you source candidates from outside of the company. It can cost more and take up more time than internal recruitment, and it means you don't have any evidence that the candidate you're hiring is a good employee. But it's also the best way to bring new talent into the company and encourage innovation and new ways of working.

8 methods to attract the right candidates

If you regularly source and hire new employees, it's useful to have a repertoire of recruitment methods that you can use when necessary to widen your search and find the right candidates to fill any role. Knowing a range of effective methods and when to use them is key to attracting the best candidates for jobs in any organisation:

1. Direct advertising

Direct advertising is when you advertise for candidates on job listing websites, job boards and the organisation's own careers site. This offers a simple and effective way to reach a large number of candidates, and advertising on external jobs websites like Indeed can also help boost your brand. It costs money to advertise via external websites and, depending on how well-written your ad is, you could attract a large number of unsuitable applicants. Direct advertising is effective and efficient but relatively imprecise.

Related: How to conduct a remote interview: a step-by-step guide

2. Employee referrals

An employee referral recruitment method involves asking existing employees of the company to recommend people they know for new positions. This can be a good way to source high-quality candidates quickly because employees won't refer people that they don't believe can do the job. It's also a relatively cost-effective way to hire new people, although most companies offer a small bonus to employees who successfully refer a new employee who goes on to work at the company.

3. Boomerang employees

This recruitment method involves considering past employees as potential rehires. A boomerang employee is when you rehire a person who has previously worked for the organisation but left on good terms. They could have moved on because they found a more senior role elsewhere or because they wanted to work in a different sector. Hiring boomerang employees is one of the safest and most efficient ways of recruiting because you already know the quality of the candidate's work. The hardest aspect of this method is attracting past employees to leave their existing employer.

4. Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies are one of the most popular methods of recruitment, particularly in larger organisations where frequent recruitment can take a lot of time. Working with a recruitment agency means outsourcing the recruitment process to recruiters who source appropriate candidates for you, conduct brief interviews and forward the best candidates on to you. Recruitment agencies can help organisations to fill niche positions that are difficult to find qualified candidates to fill.

Using a recruitment agency is fast and outsources a lot of the time spent on recruitment to trained professionals. It can also be quite expensive, particularly when your contract involves paying a recruiter a percentage of the candidate's salary. You can also contact recruiters to help you headhunt candidates from other organisations, which is particularly useful if somebody is working for one of your competitors that you'd like to hire yourself.

Related: A guide to headhunter vs recruiter: roles and differences

5. Internships and apprenticeships

Offering internships and apprenticeships to younger professionals that are just starting in their careers can be a great way to get to know candidates before you offer them a permanent position. This gives you the chance to work with your interns daily for weeks or months before deciding whether to offer a permanent role at the end of the internships. This can also be an effective recruitment method if you'd prefer to hire an inexperienced candidate and provide your training on the job.

Related: How do apprenticeships work? Including levels and types

6. Recruitment events

If the organisation you work for is big enough, you may be able to attend recruitment events like job fairs at universities, colleges and other institutions. These give you a chance to advertise the company to recent graduates and job seekers, who might then go on to visit your own careers website and apply for positions. It can cost a lot of money to attend recruitment events, so it's important to choose events where you have access to the kind of candidates you want to hire.

7. Promotions and transfers

Promotions and transfers are two kinds of internal recruitment that can help you to fill positions from inside the organisation. Promotions involve hiring someone from within the same time by giving them more responsibilities and a salary increase, while transfers involve moving someone from another area of the company into a new position at the same level. Promotions and transfers are an efficient and cost-effective way to fill important positions, but they offer you a limited pool of internal candidates to hire from.

8. Talent pool databases

Many organisations keep a talent pool database of high-quality candidates who have either sent their CV in by email or applied unsuccessfully for positions in the past. When you're hiring for a new role, you can search through this database for candidates that might be suitable, and contact them yourself to ask them if they would like to apply. While some of these candidates might have moved on to new roles by this point, this is a relatively easy way to find good candidates that don't cost much money or take up much time.

Tips for choosing which recruitment method to use

When you're hiring a new candidate for a role, it's important to consider which recruitment methods you're going to use before you plan your recruitment campaign. Some of the factors that you can consider when choosing recruitment methods include:

  • What is your budget for the recruitment process?

  • How hard is it going to be to find a suitable candidate for this role?

  • How important is this role within the organisation?

  • What is your timeline for filling this position?

  • Is there anyone within the organisation who might be a good fit?

  • How many resources can the organisation spare for the recruitment process?

Answering these questions helps you to determine which methods of recruitment are the best fit for the organisation at this time. Roles that require niche skills are difficult to fill and you may consider using methods that have a wide reach, even if they cost more. If you've got plenty of time to fill a role but your budget is low, you might consider hiring internally, via a careers website or your talent pool database.

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