Saturday, December 9, 2006

Employee Recruiting Methods: Advantages and Disadvantages

Various recruiting methods, such as help-wanted advertising, employment agencies, and employee referrals, etc., have inherent differences worth considering for hiring efficiently and effectively. In reality, there is a wide array of options open to human resources (HR) managers charged with external staffing responsibilities. As part of developing a recruitment strategy, the HR manager must determine the qualifications of the applicant, select recruitment sources and communication channels, determine how the candidate will be induced to join the organization, the message to be related to the media or agency for publication and, finally, the recruiters who screen the applicant will need to be selected and briefed. According to Milkovich and Boudreau (1996, p. 28), “There is very little evidence of the effectiveness of different recruitment methods for enhancing job performance and much of the evidence is mixed.” In other words, the relationship between how the candidate is identified by the organization and the how the candidate ultimately performs is not well understood. Regardless, distinct recruitment channels have advantages and disadvantages for recruiting various types of workers.

The channels available for communicating to applicants with advantages and disadvantages described, respectively:

  • Walk-in / Email-in contacts – An inexpensive but less useful method for professional, technical, manager, and supervisor positions;
  • Referrals from employees, vendors or customers – The recruit is less likely to leave in the first year, but recruits from referrals tend to reflect current age, race, and gender characteristics of current employee population, instead of diversity targets;
  • Internal staffing – This is a good source of applicants, especially for managerial positions, but internal staffing requires overhead of internal recruitment, selection, and separation processes; Still, it is possible that no internal candidate may have appropriate skill set to fill the position;
  • College recruiting – An active college recruiting program is a way to hire fresh talent that is recruited to promote long-term viability of organization, but the process is expensive to select candidates, and cultivate and maintain relationships with colleges and universities;
  • High schools / Vocational schools recruiting – The sheer number and close proximity of these schools make them less expensive but there are often basic skill deficiencies among such applicants;
  • Public employment agencies – Agencies that serve the public are widely available but these sources are often the best source for clerical workers, unskilled laborers, and production workers and technicians;
  • Private employment agencies/Search firms – search firms and headhunters are very effective in that they can respond to targeted needs for executives but the service is very expensive;
  • Professional associations – This can be important services for locating and networking with professionals and employers, which are often available, even through the Web, but with irregular meetings these are sometimes not readily available;
  • Web portals – There is the potential for very efficient information exchange for employers or employees in the recruitment or search process, but minorities may be under represented due to unequal access to Internet services;
  • Newspaper advertising – The most effective source of candidates for all job classifications, except for managers or supervisors, is newspaper advertising, but studies show that advertising often produces low performing employees and high rates of separation;
  • Immigrant recruitment – An important source of scientific and professional talent can be found through bringing employees in from foreign countries, but sponsors often required; moreover, legal restrictions exist;
  • Outsourcing or Off-shoring Agencies – significant professional, managerial, and technical talent can be secured by working with agencies specializing in outsourcing the business process to a foreign country or establishing independent business units in the target country.


Milkovich, G.T., & Boudreau, J.W. (1996). Human resources management (8th ed.), New York: Irwin.

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