Guide to How Companies Recruit Employees

Multi-pronged Employer Recruitment Strategies

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In an era when technology rules, recruiting and hiring has changed significantly over the years and continues to evolve. It's important for job seekers to be aware of how companies recruit so they can take advantage of the ways that companies are finding qualified applicants to hire.

What is Recruitment?

The recruitment phase of a hiring process takes place when companies try to reach a pool of candidates through job postings on company and external websites, job referrals, help wanted advertisements, and through other resources on college campuses and social media.

Job applicants who respond to recruitment efforts are then screened to determine if they are qualified to move on to the next step of the recruitment process. That might involve interviews and other methods of assessment. Employers might check the backgrounds of prospective employees, as well as check references prior to moving forward in an interview process.

Passive Vs. Active Recruiting

In some cases, employers recruit passively, doing little more than posting openings on their company websites and waiting for applicants to find the postings and apply. Such companies often don't need to do anything else because of the high volume of applications they receive. Other companies actively recruit candidates. They attempt to connect with and engage potential employees through job fairs, by visiting college campuses, by posting on external sites, and by other creative means, including word of mouth.

Even if they do get a lot of applications, they want to be sure they are reaching the best candidates—including those who may not actively be seeking employment but may be interested in the right opportunity.

Recruiting on Company Websites

Many large corporations have more applicants than they can readily manage, so there is no need to advertise extensively for candidates for employment. For example, Southwest Airlines received 342,664 resumes and hired 7,207 new employees in 2016. That's a lot of applicants for every available job. Still, Southwest has a Careers section of its website with information on jobs, benefits, the company culture, internships, and tips on what it's like to work at Southwest. Applicants can apply online by uploading, copying and pasting, or using the resume wizard to get their resume into Southwest's applicant systems.

Job seekers who know where they would like to work should first check out the company website to find available openings and apply online. Going directly to the source gets applications into the system fast. It also may be possible to sign up to be notified of new job openings as soon as they are posted.

Job Boards

Job boards still play a significant role in company recruiting. Major employers post open positions on job boards like,, and Job seekers can create a profile on these sites and upload resumes and letters to apply for jobs. In addition, many of the top job boards have mobile apps so you can job search on the fly from your phone or tablet.

Job Search Engines

Job search engines are a good way for job seekers to get job listings fast because they search many sources where employment opportunities are listed. Even though a job search engine finds many jobs automatically when it searches the internet, companies use them to recruit directly as well.

For example, is a national job search site administered by DirectEmployers, a nonprofit human resources consortium of leading global employers, and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. Job listings from member companies are posted directly on the US.job sites.

In addition, employers that would like their open positions featured on a job search engine can, for example, tap into's Recruitment Advertising Solutions to receive premium web placement, feed jobs from the company website to Facebook, and take advantage of a variety of other recruiting options.


LinkedIn continues to be a popular network for professional recruiting with 96 percent of employers surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2015 using it to recruit.

LinkedIn's Recruiting Solutions enables companies to easily source candidates, share and advertise jobs on LinkedIn, and create company career pages to attract and engage talent.

Job seekers can search for openings directly on LinkedIn and follow companies to get the latest news. To use LinkedIn most effectively, profiles should be carefully optimized to show up to recruiters searching for qualified candidates.


Employers love referred candidates because such applicants have recommendations in advance from one of the company's employees. When there's a referral, there is a better chance of getting a qualified candidate because employees doing the referring know the company and the type of people who would be a good fit.

Plus, referrals streamline the hiring process. In fact, some companies pay bonuses to employees who refer candidates who are hired. For job seekers, getting a referral from someone who already works at a company can be a great way to get your resume a close look from the hiring manager.

Social Recruiting

The use of social recruiting, which takes place when companies use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise job openings and recruit potential employees, is continuing to increase. HR Managers who responded to the SHRM survey considered Linkedin the most effective (73 percent) social media site for recruiting, followed by Facebook (66 percent) and Twitter (53 percent).

Companies, large and small, have Facebook and Twitter pages where they post company information, job openings, tips and advice for applying, and information about what it's like to work for the company.

In addition to companies participating in social recruiting efforts, many job boards also have a strong social media presence. Most top sites have Twitter pages where they tweet job openings and career advice. Job listings and career tips also can be found on the Facebook pages of many job boards.