Finding the perfect candidate is not as easy as posting jobs online and reviewing resumes. It can be a full-time job. How do you find the best recruitment sources for your company?

“How did you hear about us?”

Job seekers have heard this question from recruiters and hiring managers over and over again. While it may come across as curiosity on the part of the hiring company, it is an important fact-finding mission to better understand the hiring process. Companies have the unenviable tasks of sorting through potentially thousands of qualified applicants to dig the diamonds out from the coal.

It all comes down to recruitment sources. Which ones should you use and what are the best practices for your hiring process?

Sources Of Recruitment For The Perfect Candidate

Finding the perfect candidate is not as easy as posting jobs online and reviewing resumes. It can be a full-time job for the hiring manager, which is why many people outsource the process to recruiters and other types of staffing or placement services. There are several essential steps, including.

  1. Understanding your ideal candidate
  2. Reaching out for employee referrals, networks, or former employees
  3. Creating an informative job description and job posting
  4. Utilizing the right recruitment tools

It starts with trying to understand who would be the right person for the job. You don’t need to have a checklist in place, but you do need to know the skills that will help a person excel in the position and the personality type that matches your existing team and office culture.

The recruitment process isn’t always about tapping into new resources. As we will discuss below, companies can turn to their employees to help them find the right candidate. This can mean the promotion of a skilled and experienced employee, making it easier to replace their job at a lower level, or asking for referrals.

Your job description will also play an important role in sourcing the best candidate. Again, this shouldn’t just be a laundry list of skills required. Just like a candidate needs to sell their skills to an employer, an employer needs to create a job description that will attract quality candidates. Demonstrate what your company has to offer.

Beyond that, there are many recruitment tools you can use to source quality candidates. They could be anything from social media to local advertising and we’ll take a closer look at a variety of options.

Internal vs. External Hiring

As we mentioned above, one source for potential new employees is your current staff. This may sound obvious, but there are plenty of companies who overlook their internal talent in favor of bringing someone in from the outside. This move can have as many disadvantages as advantages.

Internal hiring is the promotion of existing employees into new roles. It transitions their skills from their current level and builds trust as they see you invested in their career growth. It is also generally easier to hire someone externally for lower-level positions. You also have the advantage of not having to train the employee you’re promoting on the company culture or workstyle in your office. They won’t bring bad habits to the table and you already know how they think and work.

External hiring, which is what most of us think about when we consider hiring, is the use of outside recruitment methods to find new talent to bring into an organization. It has its value as well, including the injection of new ideas and mindsets in your existing corporate culture. Its best used when a company needs to incorporate a completely new skill into the workplace.

Use networking and other sources of recruitment

Internal Sources of Recruitment

Internal recruiting sources come in two main forms.

  • Promotions
  • Referrals

If you believe that promoting a current employee into the new role would benefit you, you need to create an internal hiring and internal recruitment process that allows you to evaluate the potential candidates. You must avoid playing favorites as that will only undermine the existing company culture. Instead, evaluate every candidate fairly based on a predetermined set of criteria.

Another pool of candidates to tap into are employee referrals. Your team has a network, both personally and professionally, who may be just the right fit for your open position. What’s important when creating a referral program is to create rules that prevent employees from taking advantage without referring a legitimate candidate. While most employees are honest about this, preventing misuse from the start with clearly defined guidelines is always a good policy.

For example, you can tie the referral bonus into a period of time for the new employee to work. If they work 30 days, for example, your employee receives their bonus. Some companies even pay bonuses on a graduated basis. A bonus at 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days encourages your team to only refer the best possible candidates.

External Sources of Recruitment

When it comes to external sources for hiring, there may be infinite ways to source for new candidates, but we do find that most companies pick just a few and stick to them. However, this can limit the size of the pool over time as you continually return to the same sources and find fewer qualified individuals.

What are some of the most common external sources recruiting sources?

Traditional sources for businesses and hiring managers include:

  • Employment agencies or recruiters
  • Advertising on job boards
  • Job fairs

While the end-user will rely on the expertise of recruiters, it must also be considered how the agency themselves source candidates. If they are unable to pull candidates from more diverse sources, what is the benefit of working with a recruiter in the first place? The biggest advantage is saving the time and effort required to source qualified candidates.

But with the advent of the internet, sourcing candidates has changed dramatically. At one time, newspapers would have been the key place to put up an advertisement. Then the big job boards like Monster and Careerbuilder entered the scene in the early 2000s and now there are multiple platforms to find qualified employees.

But job boards aren’t the only place to find candidates online. We will discuss it a bit more below, but social media and employer branding are becoming the top factors in recruiting and hiring.

Online and Offline Recruitment Sources

Online sources for finding quality candidates most often include:

  • Job posting on an internet job board
  • Job posting on a community page (such as Craigslist or local Facebook groups)
  • Job posting on a company website
  • Sharing job information across social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn

But while online sources for candidates are becoming much more ubiquitous in the marketplace, companies have to be very careful about their strategies. And, in terms of social media, they need to create a process that not only includes posting new jobs but keeps their audience interactive and engaged even when hiring isn’t immediate.

Offline sources for recruiting will always be essential, so don’t worry that face-to-face interaction will disappear. Job fairs, as we mentioned above, are still great places to find candidates in the community based or at universities where you can target new graduates with very specific skills.

Networking events are also still a major source for finding candidates. You don’t even have to limit networking to specific events. Setting up meetings over coffee or lunch with people in your extended network will still give you access to a bigger pool over time. Networking may still be one of the best tools in any business owner’s toolbox, but the art of networking could be a subject all its own.

Innovative Recruitment Sources

Everything we’ve listed here, from online to offline recruiting sources, are considered standard if not traditional. But there are ways to think outside of the box about creative hiring avenues or solutions.

Some companies are putting their information on video platforms, such as YouTube, or podcasts. While you may not think of these things as a part of your hiring strategy, they are a way for you to communicate your corporate culture and attract potential employees.

One company, Fetch, used Tinder to find an intern. You may think that using an online dating site would be unprofessional or inadvisable, but they reported receiving 270 potential applicants in just one day. Within three weeks of narrowing down the pool, they were able to hire their new intern.

For instance, a hospital group in Tucson, Arizona, struggles with finding non-clinical employees such as housekeeping and food service workers. They told that to augment their hiring strategy, they’ve partnered with governmental agencies and non-profits in the area. In 2019, they collaborated with the International Rescue Committee or IRC that resettles people from countries experiencing humanitarian crises, conflicts, and disasters. Through their partnership, they hired multiple IRC clients and the IRC continues to work with the new employees on language and community engagement.

Google’s method of hiring interns and full-time employees is worth looking at. The company has embedded invitations to apply in certain searches online. If you search specific terms that only someone with an extreme interest in coding, programming, or related technology would know, Google will invite you to complete an assessment.

Spotify created a playlist on their platform where the order of the song titles made up the job description. The playlist was called “Join the Band.” This is a creative way for them to attract front end developers.

Conclusion: Recruitment Sources Will Be Different For Each Company

The sourcing process for job candidates will never be a one-size-fits-all experience. Your company may do better with more traditional avenues or benefit from promoting current employees. Or, you could have just the right environment to try something creative and unique.

What recruiting strategies have you used in your business?