Recruitment refers to the overall process of attracting, shortlisting, selecting and appointing suitable candidates for jobs (either permanent or temporary) within an organization. Recruitment can also refer to processes involved in choosing individuals for unpaid roles. Managers, human resource generalists and recruitment specialists may be tasked with carrying out recruitment, but in some cases public-sector employment agencies, commercial recruitment agencies, or specialist search consultancies are used to undertake parts of the process. Internet-based technologies which support all aspects of recruitment have become widespread.[1]



Sourcing is the use of one or more strategies to attract or identify candidates to fill job vacancies. It may involve internal and/or external recruitment advertising, using appropriate media, such as job portals, local or national newspapers, social media, business media, specialist recruitment media, professional publications, window advertisements, job centers, or in a variety of ways via the internet.

Alternatively, employers may use recruitment consultancies or agencies to find otherwise scarce candidates—who, in many cases, may be content in the current positions and are not actively looking to move. This initial research for candidates—also called name generation—produces contact information for potential candidates, whom the recruiter can then discreetly contact and screen.[2]

Referral recruitment programs

Referral recruitment programs allow both outsiders and employees to refer candidates for filling job openings. Online, they can be implemented by leveraging social networks.

Employee referral

An employee referral is a candidate recommended by an existing employee. This is sometimes referred to as Referral recruitment[3] Encouraging existing employees to select and recruit suitable candidates results in:

  • Improved candidate quality ('fit'),[4][5][6] and retention[7] (which in the call center industry is around 45% annually.[8]). The one-to-one direct relationship between the candidate and the referring employee[6] and the exchange of knowledge that takes place allows the candidate to develop a strong understanding of the company, its business and the application and recruitment process. The candidate is thereby enabled to assess their own suitability and likelihood of success, including "fitting in."[3]
  • Reduces the considerable cost of third parties service providers who would have previously conducted the screening and selection process.[3] An op-ed in Crain's in April 2013 recommended that companies look to employee referral to speed the recruitment process for purple squirrels, which are rare candidates considered to be "perfect" fits for open positions.[9]
  • the employee typically receives a referral bonus, and is widely acknowledged as being cost effective. The Global Employee Referral Index 2013 Survey found that 92% of the participants reported employee referrals as one of the top recruiting sources for recruiting.[10]
  • As candidate quality improves and interview to job offer conversion rates increase, the amount of time spent interviewing decreases, which means the company's Human Resources headcount can be streamlined and be used more efficiently. Marketing and advertising expenditures decrease as existing employees source potential candidates from the existing personal networks of friends, family and associates. By contrast, recruiting through 3rd-party recruiting agencies incurs a 20–25% agency finder's fee – which can top $25K for an employee with $100K annual salary. Referral recruiting can be free (or cost a fraction)[3]

There is, however, a risk of less corporate creativity: An "overly homogeneous" workforce is at risk for "fails to produce novel ideas or innovations."[11]

Social network referral

Initially, responses to mass-emailing of job announcements to those within employees' social network slowed the screening process. [12]

Two ways in which this improved are:

  • Making available screen tools for employees to use,[4] although this interferes with the "work routines of already time-starved employees"[12]
  • "when employees put their reputation on the line for the person they are recommending"[12]

Screening and selection

Various psychological tests can assess a variety of KSAOs, including literacy. Assessments are also available to measure physical ability. Recruiters and agencies may use applicant tracking systems to filter candidates, along with software tools for psychometric testing and performance-based assessment.[13] In many countries, employers are legally mandated to ensure their screening and selection processes meet equal opportunity and ethical standards.[2]

Employers are likely to recognize the value of candidates who encompass soft skills, such as interpersonal or team leadership,[14] and the level of drive needed to stay engaged.[15] In fact, many companies, including multinational organizations and those that recruit from a range of nationalities, are also often concerned about whether candidate fits the prevailing company culture and organization as a whole.[16][17] Companies and recruitment agencies are now turning to video screening as a way to notice these skills without the need to invite the candidates in physical.[18] Screening as a practice for hiring has undergone continual change over the years and often organizations are using video to maintain the aforementioned standards they set for themselves and the industry.

Disabled candidates

The word disability carries few positive connotations for most employers. Research has shown that employer biases tend to improve through first-hand experience and exposure with proper supports for the employee[19] and the employer making the hiring decisions. As for most companies, money and job stability are two of the contributing factors to the productivity of a disabled employee, which in return equates to the growth and success of a business. Hiring disabled workers produce more advantages than disadvantages.[20] There is no difference in the daily production of a disabled worker.[21] Given their situation, they are more likely to adapt to their environmental surroundings and acquaint themselves with equipment, enabling them to solve problems and overcome adversity as with other employees. The U.S. IRS grants companies Disabled Access Credit when they meet eligibility criteria.[22]


Many major corporations recognize the need for diversity in hiring to compete successfully in a global economy.[23] The challenge is to avoid recruiting staff who are "in the likeness[6] of existing employees"[24] but also to retain a more diverse workforce and work with inclusion strategies to include them in the organisations.

Recruitment process outsourcing

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a form of Business process outsourcing (BPO) where a company engages a third party provider to manage all or part[25] of its recruitment process.


Internal recruitment or internal mobility[26] (not to be confused with internal recruiters) refers to the process of a candidate being selected from the existing workforce to take up a new job in the same organization, perhaps as a promotion, or to provide career development opportunity, or to meet a specific or urgent organizational need. Advantages include the organization's familiarity with the employee and their competencies insofar as they are revealed in their current job, and their willingness to trust said employee. It can be quicker and have a lower cost to hire someone internally.[27]

An employee referral program is a system where existing employees recommend prospective candidates for the job offered,[3] and usually, if the suggested candidate is hired, the employee receives a cash bonus.[28]

Niche firms tend to focus on building ongoing relationships with their candidates, as the same candidates may be placed many times throughout their careers. Online resources have developed to help find niche recruiters.[29] Niche firms also develop knowledge on specific employment trends within their industry of focus (e.g., the energy industry) and are able to identify demographic shifts such as aging and its impact on the industry.[30]

Social recruiting is the use of social media for recruiting.

Mobile recruiting is a recruitment strategy that uses mobile technology to attract, engage and convert candidates.

Some recruiters work by accepting payments from job seekers, and in return help them to find a job. This is illegal in some countries, such as in the United Kingdom, in which recruiters must not charge candidates for their services (although websites such as LinkedIn may charge for ancillary job-search-related services). Such recruiters often refer to themselves as "personal marketers" and "job application services" rather than as recruiters.

Using multiple-criteria decision analysis[31] tools such as analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and combining it with conventional recruitment methods provides an added advantage by helping the recruiters to make decisions when there are several diverse criteria to be considered or when the applicants lack past experience; for instance, recruitment of fresh university graduates.[32]

Multi tier recruitment model

In some companies where the recruitment volume is high, it is common to see a multi tier recruitment model where the different sub-functions are grouped together to achieve efficiency.

An example of a 3 tier recruitment model:

  • Tier 1 - Contact/ Help desk - This tier acts as the first point of contact where recruitment requests are being raised. If the requests are simple to fulfil or are queries in nature, resolution may take place at this tier
  • Tier 2 - Administration - This tier manages mainly the administration processes
  • Tier 3 - Process - This tier manages the process and how the requests get fulfilled


A recruitment strategy is a plan an organization enacts to form a recruiting process and establish a candidate pool. An organization uses recruitment strategies to identify a hiring vacancy, establish a timeline, and identify goals throughout the recruitment process.[33] Recruitment strategies are typically the responsibility of the human resources department.[34]


Organizations define their own recruiting strategies to identify who they will recruit, as well as when, where, and how that recruitment should take place[35]. Common recruiting strategies answer the following questions[36]:

  • What type of individuals should be targeted?
  • What recruitment message should be communicated?
  • How can the targeted individuals best be reached?
  • When should the recruitment campaign begin?
  • What should be the nature of a site visit?


Organizations develop recruitment objectives, and the recruitment strategy follows these objectives. Typically, organizations develop pre- and post-hire objectives and incorporate these objectives into a holistic recruitment strategy.[36] Once an organization deploys a recruitment strategy it conducts recruitment activities. This typically starts by advertising a vacant position.[37]

Professional Associations

There are numerous professional associations for human resources professionals. Such associations typically offer benefits such as member directories, publications, discussion groups, awards, local chapters, vendor relations, government lobbying, and job boards.[38]

Professional associations also offer a recruitment resource for human resources professionals.[39]

See also

Recruiting companies

  • List of employment agencies
  • List of employment websites
  • List of executive search firms
  • List of temporary employment agencies


  1. Adam Sulich (2016-02-06). "Mathematical models and non-mathematical methods in recruitment and selection processes". Reviewed Papers Form 17th International Conference. Mekon 2015. 1. ISBN 978-80-248-3684-3.
  2. , Acas. Accessed 7 March 2017
  3. hatabdi Basu (2016-11-09). "Does referral recruiting really work?". CareerBot. Retrieved 2016-11-09.
  4. Susan Adams (July 13, 2011). "More Employers Using Social Media to Hunt for Talent". Forbes. Employee referrals are the highest quality hires ... "11% of xxx’s hires last year were made using [a specific social software product]"
  5. and providing access to employees' social networks, contacts via social media and personal networks
  6. "What is an Employee Referral Program?". .. employees refer their friends and family
  7. Employee referrals allow existing employees to screen, select and refer candidates, lowers staff attrition rate; candidates hired through referrals tend to stay up to 3X longer than candidates hired through job boards and other. "Chatbot to Accelerate Referral Recruiting - CareerBot". CareerBot. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  8. Joe Pinsker (March 16, 2015). "people who use firefox or chrome are better employees". The Atlantic.
  9. Mary Kramer (April 7, 2013). "Need to fill jobs? Don't hunt the 'purple squirrel'". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  10. ZALP, Global Employee Referral Index 2013 Survey. "ZALP unleashes the power of Employee Referrals".
  11. Sarah Kathryn Stein; Amir Goldberg; Sameer B. Srivastava. "Distinguishing Round from Square Pegs: Predicting Hiring Based on Pre-hire Language Use" (PDF).
  12. Dave Zielinski (March 1, 2013). "HR Technology: Referral Booster". Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM).
  13. Teacher's Guide to Performance-Based Learning and Assessment. "What is Performance-Based Learning and Assessment, and Why is it Important", Chapter 1, ISBN 0871202611
  14. "SULICH Adam; Mathematical models and non-mathematical methods in recruitment and selection processes". Retrieved 2016-02-01.
  15. Siegling, Alex B.; Ng-Knight, Terry; Petrides, Konstantinos V. (2019). "Drive: Measurement of a sleeping giant" (PDF). Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research. 71 (1): 16–31. doi:10.1037/cpb0000123. ISSN 1939-0149.
  16. Hays Quarterly Report Sharing our recruiting know-how, Nick Deligiannis, April - June 2012
  17. Barrick, Murray R.; Parks-Leduc, Laura (2019-01-21). "Selection for Fit". Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior. 6 (1): 171–193. doi:10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-012218-015028. ISSN 2327-0608.
  18. "How companies and not-for-profit organisations can benefit from video interviewing - TeloInterview". Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  19. Darling, Peter (Aug 2007). "Disabilities and the Workplace". Business NH Magazine. 24 (8): 28.
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  22. N/A. "Tax Benefits for Businesses Who Have Employees with Disabilities". IRS. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  24. such as when employee referral programs are the major source of candidates.
  25. "Recruitment Process Outsourcing – Get a boost with "Gamification"". all or part ... from advertising and hiring to onboarding and hiring
  26. "Unlocking hidden talent through internal mobility". (Deloitte Insights). July 30, 2018.
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  28. Editor (15 July 2015). "What is an employee referral program?". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  29. "How to Find Recruiters in Your Niche". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  30. "The New Energy Crisis: Power Industry in for a Jolt as About Half of Workforce Readies for Retirement".
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  32. Zarei, Mohammad Hossein; Wong, Kuan Yew (2014). "Making the recruitment decision for fresh university graduates: A study of employment in an industrial organisation". International Journal of Management and Decision Making. 13 (4): 380. doi:10.1504/IJMDM.2014.065357.
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