With the job description created, you’ll need to decide where’s the best place, and what’s the most suitable method, to advertise a role and attract candidates. The following tables list the pros and cons of internet recruiting, public and private sector agencies (including recruitment agencies), search consultants, press advertising, referrals, social networks, unsolicited applications and apprenticeships.
Online job boards and websites
General job boards (such as monster.com) can be particularly useful for organisations without a strong employer brand that may be unlikely to attract candidates directly to their website. Many organisations, large and small, already have a dedicated ‘vacancies’ section on their websites.
- Can speed up the recruitment cycle and streamline administration
- Technology helps manage vacancies effectively and coordinates processes
- Global reach, instant applications
- Makes internal vacancies known across a wide range of sites and divisions
- Supports branding with 'soft' information on workplace culture, e.g. though videos and blogs
- A badly designed website or technical difficulties can turn-off potential applications and damage your brand
- It could be seen to be discriminatory where candidates are not computer literate
- Use of CV keyword search can also lead to allegations of discrimination
Private sector agencies that provide temporary and permanent placements.
- Only pre-screened and pre-referenced candidates therefore of a higher quality
- Many candidates prefer dealing with an agency rather than directly with an employer
- Minimal administration as the agency performs many of the recruitment tasks, including external advertising
- Database of people who have expressed a desire to move, so able to react quickly
- Candidates may prefer to deal directly with the potential employer
- Can seem costly - fees typically 20% of the appointee's salary
Search consultants (or ‘headhunters’) may be employed when a vacancy is not to become public knowledge, usually where the post is very senior and/or there may be market sensitivities.
- Specialist knowledge of recruitment market
- Identifies the people who could do the job
- Consultant develops a detailed knowledge of the organisation
- Consultant builds personal relationships with senior executives so knows at the outset likely best candidate(s)
- No hire, no fee, no risk
- Limited pool of candidates (often the case at very senior levels)
Shortlisted people may not be available
Specialist/trade journals, national and local newspapers are still valid methods of recruitment: people with specialist skills often look for vacancies in the relevant professional journal first, which are increasingly likely to have an online presence besides a printed edition. Recruitment agencies can often negotiate special rates with media groups.
- Reinforces your corporate message and helps build brand awareness
- Sends a positive message about the company's fortunes to the marketplace
- Trade publications target candidates with specific skills or experience
- May encourage people to apply who were not considering moving
- Fixed costs, although adverts may need to be repeated
- High administrative costs of sifting applications - internal time - and resource-heavy
- Often a slow process, especially if using trade/specialist press
- Cluttered environment, no control over where your ads are placed within the press environment
- Limited to those who read that particular newspaper or journal
- Limited tracking and reporting on success, as there is no automated/measured response mechanism in place
Professional referral schemes
Also known as co-optation or internal referrals, professional referral schemes were rated more effective when filling managerial roles, according to the CIPD’s Resourcing and Talent Planning survey report.
- High-quality candidates
- Higher retention rates
- Likely to cost less than other methods of filling a vacancy
- Limited pool of candidates
- Potentially fails to create a diverse workforce, and limits the pool which may not be representative of the external workforce overall
- Rejection of a referral may demotivate the employee who made the recommendation
- May distract employees from other duties
These can range from face-to-face fairs, often at universities and colleges to open days or webchats, where potential applicants can ask questions online.
- Good way to meet a lot of people in a short space of time, cost-effective if you have numerous roles to fill
- Demonstrates your employer brand
- Increases awareness of your organisation
- No chance to sift candidates
- At fairs you will be competing against many other would-be employers
- Can be difficult to stand out - those that do tend to have spent most money
- Query over cost-effectiveness if you have few vacancies
Professional networks such as LinkedIn have seen a steady rise in the number of organisations using them for recruitment, reflecting the rise of online recruitment. The Randstad Employer Brand Research revealed that 39% of candidates use social media to find their next job, with Facebook and LinkedIn the two most-used networks.
- Access to a wide, virtually unlimited, network of contacts
- Can build relationships with potential candidates and create a talent pipeline to full future vacancies
- Gives candidates a view of organizational culture
- Allows you to promote your brand
- Some organizations fail to recognize the difference between personal and professional life and have refused to interview people because of activity on social networking sites
- Labour intensive: requires the personal touch, not automated responses
- Some recruiters find the long-term nature of social media recruitment a challenge when compared to traditional
- CV gathering and sifting
- A poorly managed presence can put off potential candidates
The better known a company, the more likely it is to receive speculative letters from jobseekers. To develop a reputation as an ethical recruiter/employer with a strong employer brand, it’s important to establish a process for reviewing and responding to these applications in an efficient and professional manner.
- Candidates are already bought into your brand
- Low costs
- Allows to create your own database of candidates
- Difficult to keep track of applications if there is nothing available immediately
- Can be difficult to ascertain the quality of candidates
Among employers, 75% say that recruiting through apprenticeships has helped lower their recruitment costs. The number of organisations offering apprenticeships is on the increase, largely thanks to government initiatives in this area, and measures to raise the profile of apprenticeships among employers and young people. This combines with a growing appreciation by employers of the value of training and developing their future workforce, and an awareness of the employee brand benefit.
- Lowers recruitment costs
- Develop scarce skills in-house
- Apprenticeship grants offset some of the costs
- Commitment to community has a positive impact on the brand
- Time developing a scheme to ensure it meets organizational needs
- Not always suitable for candidates who are better at classroom learning