understanding effective recruitment channels

Choosing the right recruitment channel

Recruitment is the lifeblood of a business. Having an effective recruitment brings in great employees that will help the company grow. Not being able to fill in critical vacancies in a time-efficient manner is one of the major headaches a CEO or business leader has.

The recruitment cycle (shown below) represents the entire recruitment process. We can talk endlessly about this cycle, but in this article we will mainly focus on the second part: Post Jobs / Source Candidates.

the recruitment cycle represents the entire recruitment process

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We want to focus on that particular topic, as it the step where minor adjustments can yield significant benefits. Knowing where to post your job vacancy will help you tremendously in finding the right candidate. Doing this well, fills your recruitment funnel. That’s why, in this article, I will give you several insights that will help you choose the right recruitment channel.

What are you looking for?

Before you can effectively start with step two, step one needs to be completed. For this, you need to make an accurate job profile: What are you looking for, exactly?

Do you need an experienced professional, or someone for a junior position? Is it a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) job, or a more practical, hands-on position? Answering these questions can give an indication of where you want to look. You don’t have to look at Instagram to find a 60+ factory worker, but a creative young-professional might be lurking there.

Once you have a good estimate of which type of candidate you’d like to hire, it’s time to decide where you want to post your vacancy. Below you will find a list of recruitment channels and some of their pros and cons:

Recruitment channels

1. Internet job boards:

Whereas before companies posted their vacancies in trade journals and newspapers, nowadays most of the vacancies are posted on internet job boards. It’s a cost-effective method, as most job boards allow you to post a vacancy for a small fee or even for free.

More than two-thirds of job seekers utilize job boards to help them in their search. This widespread use of job-boards allows for an abundance of job applicants, with varied backgrounds and skills. This can be either a boon or a drawback, depending on the profile you set out in the previous step.

2. Company website:

One of the simplest things you can do when looking for a new hire, is to simply post the opening on your own website. If you’re a larger company, you might even have your own career site. It comes with practically no cost and if your company is well-known enough, it will garner quite a bit of interest from potential job seekers.

Make sure that your vacancy is easy to find and that it has the same type of layout as your main website. This approach often finds better-qualified applicants, as the applicants are already aware of your company.

3. Employee referrals:

Employee referrals remain one of the top recruitment channels for acquiring talent. It’s a great source for finding qualified candidates, as employees typically only refer other people if they know that they would make a good fit for the position and the company.

Because referrals usually provide better-than-average candidates, investing in an employee referral program – or copying a company that already does this successfully – will help a lot in this phase.

However, employees typically recommend others with similar backgrounds. This could be a drawback if you’re trying to diversify your workforce. Moreover, hiring managers may feel pressured to hire the referred applicant, even though they may not be the best match for the position.

4. Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, et cetera):

A few years ago, social media was often looked down upon as a source for potential recruits. Nowadays, especially with the rise of LinkedIn, it has become one of the most popular sources to acquire fresh talent. With over 500 million users LinkedIn is a great source to find highly qualified professionals from a wide range of backgrounds.

However, there’s more to social media than just LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram are becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst young professionals. An additional benefit is the relatively low cost for advertising on these platforms.

5. Recruitment agencies

A recruitment agency is a great way to find new hires, albeit with a significant cost associated with it. This cost is typically a percentage of the annual salary of the suitable hire.

However, recruitment agencies can give a lot back for this investment. They will allow you to meet short-term hiring needs, enhance your pipeline for a role, or assist you in hiring for a specialized or executive role.

6. College recruitment programs

Career fairs at universities around your area, or even abroad, can be a great source for high-potential recruits. Especially when the vacancy is hard to fill due to hard-to-find skills, it can be beneficial to look at college recruitment programs to find available, skilled, and motivated candidates.

Moreover, these candidates can often be the future stars for your company. Being able to connect with them early on will help with the long-term strategic goals of the company.

Measuring effectiveness

After you’ve decided which recruitment channel(s) would be most suitable, it’s time to analyze if they actually work as effectively as you’d hoped. To help you with this endeavor, you can employ several recruitment metrics. Below you can find a list to help you in this area:

  • Time to hire: Time to hire represents the number of days between the moment a candidate is approached and the moment the candidate accepts the job. If a vacancy is open for a long time, it may be an indication that a certain recruitment channel is not working for you.
  • Cost per hire: Although often difficult to measure, the cost per hire metric is a great metric to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a recruitment channel. It is typically calculated as the total recruitment costs divided by the total number of hires.
  • Amount of applications: This metric focuses on the total number of applications that you receive per recruitment channel.
  • Amount of qualified applications: This metric is similar to the previous metric, but it goes a bit further. If you receive a lot of applications, but none of them are qualified, you may be looking in the wrong place.
  • Success of new recruits: This metric can be divided into multiple other metrics, such as first-year attrition rate, performance, manager satisfaction, and others. However, it’s a key metric to consider when evaluating the success of a recruitment channel. If you’d like to learn more, I highly recommend you to read this article on recruitment metrics.

Once you’ve gathered all of these metrics, you’re able to decide which recruitment channel is most effective for your organization. This will allow you to balance your budget more appropriately in the future and further your recruitment success.


With recruitment being the lifeblood of the organization, it is critical for the company to have a successful recruitment system.

With the wide range of available recruitment channels, it can be hard to decide which one you should focus on. This article has hopefully helped you in making this decision easier. Good luck with all of your recruitment activities!

Author’s Bio:

Erik van Vulpen is founder of Analytics in HR. He is a writer, speaker, and trainer on People Analytics. Erik is also an instructor for the HR Analytics Academy.

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