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Recruitment Method: How to Reach Targeted & Passive Candidates 


There are several ways to publicise job openings, including via job fairs, employee referrals, in-store advertisements, billboards, etc. All these types of publications are effective, yet which one is the most effective to reach targeted and passive candidates? 

Here are 6 major recruitment methods recruiters should focus on to better reach their target talents: 

Employee referrals 

According to SHRM, employee referrals are the most commonly used and best way to recruit. Current employees are promising sources for finding new hires for four major reasons:

  • Current employees value their reputation, so they generally refer only to individuals they believe would make exceptional employees. This is, in effect, a form of prescreening. 

  • Current employees are likely to provide referrals with realistic information about the job, so prospective applicants can make better decisions about whether the position is a good fit. 

  • Current employees are likely to help the people they refer master their new jobs once they are hired, especially if they work in the same department. 

  • Referrals from current employees are an effective way to bring job openings to the attention of people who are not actively looking for a job but possess desirable skills, work experience and work ethic.

Compared to individuals recruited by other methods, applicants generated by employee referrals tend to have better job qualifications and make better employees. For maximum benefit, the employee making the referral must be committed to the organisation and have sound knowledge of what the job opening involves. In most cases referrals made by people who work in the department with the job opening can provide more accurate job information. Another issue employers should consider is the diversity of their current workforces. A non diverse workforce might be less likely to bring job openings to the attention of minorities and women. 

See also: 5 Essential Steps of Effective Talent Acquisitions 

Organisation’s website 

A website can be an inexpensive way to convey a lot of information about a job opening, both in writing and through videos. But before relying too heavily on a website, organisations should be confident that this approach will reach the people they want to reach. For example, a small, less visible organisation might find that its website does not generate enough applicants. In some cases, an organisation might need to use a tactic like a radio ad to steer people to its website. 

Research has shown that a website will be most effective if it: 

  • Grabs the viewer’s attention with effective use of color and an uncluttered design. 

  • Is easy to navigate. 

  • Includes information important to job candidates, like duties and location. 

  • Provides an easy way to submit an application. 

  • Notifies applicants that their application has been received. 

  • Explains the next step in the hiring process.

Employers should also ensure that the site is friendly to job seekers using smartphones and tablets. Not only should the site allow easy access via mobile technology, but it should also allow for easy submission of an application.

Job boards 

Although job boards are less heavily relied on than in the past, many organisations still use them to fill positions. Job boards fall into three categories:

  • Geographic focus (local vs. nationwide). 

  • Specificity (general vs. industry or position-specific). 

  • Salary level (open vs. minimum salary).

Each category has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, a common complaint about general job boards is that they tend to generate too many applicants, a high percentage of whom are unqualified or no longer in the market. In contrast, local job boards generate fewer candidates. Industry or position specific job boards, such as, are more likely to attract applicants with industry experience and skills, and a better understanding of what a job in the industry entails. Job boards that set a minimum salary offered by a position, such as, are more likely to attract candidates qualified for higher-level positions. 

Not all job boards are appropriate in all situations. A recruiting manager should consider the pros and cons of each type and determine if its use will be beneficial. In conducting such an evaluation, employers should consider the relative cost-per-hire, whether targeted candidates are likely to be reached and whether interest in the job opening will be generated. 

See also: Data-Driven Approach to Recruiting the Right Talents 

College recruiting 

College recruiting has been well addressed in many HR publications, SHRM cited. However, four issues are important to highlight: selecting campuses, creating a positive campus presence, student internship programs and the influence of recruiters.

In selecting campuses at which to recruit, recruiters should determine whether a campus offers relevant majors with the businesses offered and a sufficient number of students in those majors. They should also consider student quality and diversity. Other factors to consider include the number of new hires yielded from a college in past years and how those individuals performed. By analyzing past recruitment results, organisations might determine that certain colleges have a greater payoff than others. 

Social networking sites 

The use of social networking sites for recruitment purposes has exploded in the last few years, with LinkedIn cited as the most used site. Researchers asserted that technology in general, and Internet-based communication tools and social media in particular, have fundamentally changed the nature of recruitment. Among the changes cited were:

  • It has become much easier for an organisation to reach passive job candidates.

  • An employer no longer needs to weigh the advantages of providing a large amount of information against the cost of doing so.

  • It has become easier for an employer to customize a recruitment message targeted to a specific group or even a specific individual.

  • Social networking sites allow an employer to begin building a relationship with prospective job candidates even before the employer has a job opening. 

The use of social networking sites for recruitment has also changed what job seekers expect. For example, they likely expect to receive more and richer information about a job opening from an employer and receive this information in a timely manner. In many cases, an individual contacted by an employer might not have been looking for a new position or, if on the job market, might not have been aware of opportunities with that employer. Depending on the social networking site used and the level of service provided, recruiting managers might be able to select the specific type of individual notified about a position.

Mix methods of recruitment 

The approaches we discussed above often provide a sufficient number of qualified candidates for a job opening. Sometimes, though, an employer needs to go beyond these commonly used approaches. There is no single best recruitment method. Rather, organisations must develop their own mix of successful methods. To help determine the best recruitment methods to use in an organisation, recruiters can think about the following questions:

  • What characteristics are you seeking in new employees? 

  • What types of people will be attracted to what your organisation has to offer?

  • What methods will help you find these people? 

Targeted passive candidates 

Above all recruitment method mentioned above, here are the several best to reach targeted passive candidates: 

  • Use employee referrals 

  • Use radio and television advertisements 

  • Ask newly hired individuals for the names of potential recruits 

  • Send ads to members of relevant mailing lists, including professional associates and clubs 

  • Place billboard ads in relevant locations 

  • Ask individuals who declined job offers for names of recruits 

  • Contact former employees 

  • Visit places of business and recreation that targeted individuals frequent 

  • Use social networking websites 

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