Recruitment Strategies

Now that we have discussed the development of the job analysis, job description, and job specifications, and you are aware of the laws relating to recruitment, it is time to begin the recruiting process. In many ways, recruiting borrows from the field of marketing. The objective of any recruitment strategy and campaign is to generate as many quality applications as possible; this objective is very similar to a marketing campaign that aims to attract customers. As such, with some exceptions, many core principles of marketing apply to recruiting. A recruiting campaign must establish a clearly defined audience (future employees), create high-quality, creative, and easy-to-share content (job posting, company videos, etc.), rely on multiple content channels (company website, LinkedIn), and be followed with rigorous analysis and reporting.

The concept of company branding is relatively new in HRM. This marketing concept focuses on the way that organizations differentiate themselves from each other. This can be in logo design, name selection or messaging. These marketing efforts tell a story to attract and retain customers. Today, branding is also very important for companies in their competition for talent. The rise of social media platforms has accentuated the importance of HR to manage the public image of companies. For example, Glassdoor is a site that allows current and former employees to anonymously review companies and provide salary information. In fact, a majority of job seekers aged 18-44 look at Glassdoor reviews when deciding to accept a job offer and sign at a new company. Review sites and social pages that collect ratings (like Facebook) are more important than one would think.

Here is a creative recruitment video from Canadian Tire.

Recruiting Strategies

Professional Recruiters

Many organizations have specific employees who focus solely on the recruiting function of HR. Recruiters have to be strong networkers and they usually attend many events where possible candidates will be present. Recruiting agencies and individual professional recruiters (‘head-hunters’) have a constant pipeline of possible candidates in case a position should arise that would be a good match. There are three main types of recruiters:

  1. Corporate recruiter. A corporate recruiter is an employee within a company who focuses entirely on recruiting for his or her company. Corporate recruiters are contracted by the company for which they are recruiting. This type of recruiter may be focused on a specific area, such as technical recruiting.
  2. Temporary recruitment or staffing firm. Suppose your receptionist is going on medical leave and you need to hire somebody to replace him or her, but you do not want a long-term hire. You can utilize the services of a temporary recruitment firm to send you qualified candidates who are willing to work shorter contracts. Usually, the firm pays the salary of the employee and the company pays the recruitment firm, so you don’t have to add this person to your payroll. If the person does a good job, there may be opportunities for you to offer him or her a full-time permanent position.
  3. Executive search firm. These firms are focused on high-level management positions, such as director, VP, and CEO roles. They typically charge 10–20 percent of the first year salary, so they can be quite expensive. However, they do an extensive amount of the upfront work, presenting candidates who been pre-screened and interviewed, and effectively a ‘short-list’ candidate.

Job Websites

Internet Job Sites

The internet is proliferated with job posting websites hosted by different providers and available to any company wanting to post their available jobs. From an HR perspective, there are many options to place an ad, most of which are inexpensive. The downside to this method is the immense number of resumes you may receive from these websites, all of which may or may not be qualified. To overcome this, many organizations have implemented software that searches for keywords in resumes. We discuss more about this in  Chapter 5 “Selection”. Some examples of websites might include the following:

Company Job Sites

Company specific websites now include a career page and are a source of pride for many businesses. The effort put into the page layout, design, and messaging, demonstrates how many organizations rely on their career page to attract the right talent. Here are some examples of high-quality career pages:

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube offer interesting opportunities to gain a media presence to attract a variety of employees. The goal of using social media as a recruiting tool is to create a buzz about your organization, share stories of successful employees, and tout an interesting culture. Even smaller companies can utilize this technology by posting job openings as their status updates. This strategy is relatively inexpensive, but there are some things to consider. For example, tweeting about a job opening might spark interest in some candidates, but the trick is to show your personality as an employer early on – and you maybe casting a too wide a net for applications.

Campus Recruiting and Events

Colleges and universities can be excellent sources of new candidates, usually at entry-level positions. Consider technical colleges focused on culinary expertise, aerospace technology, or adult correctional interventions. These can be great sources of talent with specialized training in a specific area. In turn, universities can provide talent who have formal training in a specific field. Many organizations use their campus recruiting programs to onboard new talent, who will eventually develop into managers.

For this type of program to work, it requires the establishment of relationships with campus communities, such as campus career services departments. It can also require time to attend campus events, such as job fairs. Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology holds job fairs and works with employers to connect students with jobs.  Employment : Loyalist College

Many organizations or associations also hold their own events to allow people to network and learn about new technologies.

Here is a link that  lists those to be held in Toronto as an example. Quinte West also holds a job fair for employers in this region.  Quinte Career Fair – Find the career you’ve always wanted

Professional Associations

Professional associations are usually nonprofit organizations whose goal is to further a particular profession. Almost every profession has its own professional organization.  For example, the Ontario Association of Social Workers posts both jobs as well as career resources for its members . Find your next social work job | Social Work Jobs. Usually, there is a fee involved, and membership in this association may be required to post jobs.


Many recruiting plans include asking current employees for referrals. The quality of referred applicants is usually high, since most people would not recommend someone they thought was incapable of doing the job. E-mailing a job opening to current employees and offering incentives to refer a friend can be a quick way of recruiting individuals. For example, Groupe Dynamite, is a very successful fashion retailer based in Montreal. It is recognized as one of the city’s best employers and offers referral bonuses as an incentive for employees to recruit candidates from their personal networks (up to $2,500 for a successful referral).


Figure 4.2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Recruiting Strategies
Recruitment Strategy Advantages Disadvantages
Outside recruiters, executive search firms, and temporary employment agencies
  • Can be time saving
  • Reduce demands on internal resources
  • Expensive
  • Less control over final candidates to be interviewed
Campus recruiting/educational institutions
  • Can hire people to grow with the organization
  • Plentiful source of talent
  • Time consuming
  • Only appropriate for certain types of experience levels
Professional organizations and associations
  • Industry specific
  • Networking
  • May be a fee to place an ad
  • May be time-consuming to network
Websites/Internet recruiting
  • Diversity friendly
  • Low cost
  • Quick
  • Could be too broad
  • Be prepared to deal with hundreds of resumes
Social media
  • Inexpensive
  • Time consuming
  • Overwhelming response
  • Access to specific target markets of candidates
  • Can be expensive
  • May get too many non-committed candidates
  • Higher quality people
  • Potential for longer retention
  • Concern for lack of diversity
  • Nepotism
Unsolicited resumes and applications
  • Inexpensive, especially with time-saving resume keyword search software
  • Undefined targets or objectives.
Internet and/or traditional advertisements
  • Can target a specific audience
  • Can be expensive
At the beginning of this section, a comparison was made between recruiting and marketing. It is true that there are many similarities between generating quality applications and attracting customers. However, these two processes differ in one specific area: the communication of less favourable characteristics of the job. In a marketing campaign, negative elements of the product will be minimized or non existent. When advertising pick-up trucks, a manufacturer may not stress the less positive characteristics such as gas consumption or comfort. The focus will instead be on the more favourable characteristics such as horsepower, suspension, and the large capacity of the cargo area.

When advertising for a job, HRM managers must take a much more balanced and transparent approach, called realistic job preview (RJP). The RJP is the presentation of realistic, often quite negative information about an organization to a job candidate. This information is given to job candidates during the selection process to help them make an informed job choice, should a job offer be made. If a company is looking for recruiters, it should mention that the job entails a lot of travel and atypical work hours. Research by Jean Phillips (1998) found a positive impact of the RJP on job performance and retention of new hires.

Costs of Recruitment

Recruitment strategies, planning and execution require careful consideration of costs and budgeting.

For example, let’s say you have three positions you need to fill, with one being a temporary hire. You have determined your advertising costs will be $400, and your temporary agency costs will be approximately $700 for the month. You expect at least one of the two positions will be recruited as a referral, so you will pay a referral bonus of $500. Here is how you can calculate the cost of recruitment for the month:

Cost per hire

= advertising costs + recruiter costs + referral costs + social media costs + event costs

= $400 + $700 + $500

= [latex]\frac{$1600}{3}[/latex]

= $533 recruitment cost per hire

Recruitment costs should also factor in the estimated time of internal resources required, this includes the time of all those involved through to making the offer. Considering the likely total cost per hire may influence your recruitment strategy choices. Combining our cost projections and analysis with yield ratio experience will provide a better basis for making these choices.

In addition, when we look at how effective our recruiting methods are, we can look at a figure called the yield ratio. A yield ratio is the percentage of applicants from one source who make it to the next stage in the selection process (e.g., they get an interview). For example, if you received two hundred resumes from an ad you placed within a professional organization, and fifty-two of those make it to the interview stage, this means a 26 percent yield (52/200). By using these calculations, we can determine the best place to recruit for a particular position. Note, that some yield ratios may vary for particular jobs, and a higher yield ratio must also consider the cost of that method. For an entry-level job, corporate recruiters may yield a better ratio than using social media, but it likely has a much higher cost per hire.

After we have finished the recruiting process, we can begin the selection process. This is the focus of Chapter 5 “Selection”.

Key Learnings

  • HR professionals must have a recruiting strategy before posting any job description. The plan should outline where the job announcements will be posted and how the management of candidate materials, such as resumes, will occur. Part of the plan should also include the expected cost of recruitment.
  • Many organizations use use external recruiters, which means an outside firm performs the search. Recruiters can be executive recruiters, which focus on executive and senior management roles. For temporary positions, a temporary or staffing firm might be used. Corporate recruiters work for the organization and function as a part of the HR team.
  • Campus recruiting can be an effective way of recruiting for entry-level positions. This type of recruiting may require considerable effort in developing relationships with college campuses.
  • Almost every profession has at least one professional association. Posting announcements on their websites can be an effective way of targeting for a specific job.
  • Most companies will also use their website and career webpage for job postings, as well as other websites such as Monster and CareerBuilder.
  • Social media is also a popular way to recruit. Usage of websites such as Twitter and Facebook can get the word out about a specific job opening, or give information about the company, which can result in more traffic being directed to the company’s website.
  • Recruiting at special events such as job fairs is another option. Some organizations have specific job fairs for their company, depending on the size. Others may attend industry or job-specific fairs to recruit specific individuals.
  • Employee referrals can be a great way to get interest for a posted position. Usually, incentives are offered to the employee for referring people they know.
  • Our last consideration in the recruitment process is recruitment costs and experience (eg. yield ratio). We can determine this by looking at the total amount we have spent on all recruiting efforts compared to the number of hires.


  1. Perform an Internet search on professional associations for your particular career choice. List at least three associations, and discuss recruiting options listed on their websites (e.g., do they have discussion boards or job advertisements links?).
  2. Have you ever experienced nepotism in the workplace? If yes, describe the experience. What do you think are the upsides and downsides to asking current employees to refer someone they know?

1“University Students,” IBM, n.d., accessed January 17, 2011,


Black, T., “How to Use Social Media as a Recruiting Tool,” Inc., April 22, 2010, accessed July 12, 2011,

Carey, W. P., “Employees First: Strategy for Success,” Knowledge @ W. P. Carey, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, June 26, 2008, accessed July 11, 2011,

Lefkow, D., “Improving Your Employee Referral Program and Justifying Your Investment,”, February 21, 2002, accessed July 12, 2011,

Lindow, A., “How to Use Social Media for Recruiting,” Mashable, June 11, 2011, accessed July 12, 2011,

Phillips, J. M. (1998). Effects of realistic job previews on multiple organizational outcomes: A meta-analysis. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 673-690.

Sodexo, “Sodexo Earns SNCR Excellent Award for Innovative Use of Social Media,” news release, December 2, 2009, accessed January 17, 2011,

Sowa, C., “Going Above and Beyond,” America’s Best, September/October 2008, accessed July 11, 2011,

Sullivan, J., “Amazing Practices in Recruiting—ERE Award Winners 2009,” pt. 1,, April 13, 2009, accessed July 12, 2011,


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