Hiring process

16 methods of recruitment to help you hire kick-ass talent

Scale your team with the help of these 16 unique recruitment strategies.

16 methods of recruitment to help you hire kick-ass talent
Listen to this article. Audio recording by
Alessia Musso

Hiring a new team member for your company can be a lot like building a birdhouse (stay with me here!). 😅

First, you’ll need a toolbox and some materials. Just as a toolbox has tools for different tasks, recruitment methods encompass various strategies and approaches specific to different roles.

You wouldn't use a hammer to tighten a screw and you wouldn't use the same recruitment method for every open position at your company.

Instead, you select the right tool (read: recruitment method) based on the requirements and nuances of the job.

The result? An effective hiring process the best recruiters would be envious of. AND a beautiful birdhouse (if you’re actually building one)! Bonus. ✨

Let’s jump in.

Internal recruitment vs external recruitment — Which is best for you?

📥 Internal recruitment is all about filling job vacancies within your company's existing workforce. This involves promoting or moving current team members to different positions or departments as your business needs change.

📤 External recruitment involves sourcing candidates from outside your company to fill job vacancies. This can include using job boards, social media, recruitment agencies and other tactics to attract external talent.

The main difference between internal and external recruitment lies in the candidate pool: internal recruitment focuses on existing employees, while external recruitment targets people outside your company.

Whether you use internal or external recruitment is entirely dependent on your company. For example, a small startup of five Software Engineers won’t have the skills internally for a Marketing Manager. To take their marketing efforts to the next level, they’ll need to hire externally — posting on job boards, sharing the job on LinkedIn and reaching out to their networks.


What about reactive vs proactive recruiting methods?

Hiring can be broken down into two categories: Reactive recruitment and proactive recruitment.

Reactive recruitment responds to immediate hiring needs, often a result of an organizational change (think: a resignation, a layoff or a sudden organizational restructuring). It involves quickly sourcing candidates for urgent openings.

Proactive recruitment takes a strategic approach, actively seeking and engaging potential candidates before a job role opens up. It focuses on building talent pipelines, nurturing relationships with talent and building a steady supply of qualified candidates for current and future roles.

📣 How recruitment software can help take your recruitment methods to new heights

Top 16 methods of recruitment to help you snag more candidates

As much as we’d like to tell you it’s straightforward and a piece of cake, recruitment just… isn’t that. 😕

Hiring managers and recruiters alike need to be ready and open to switching up and diversifying their methods of recruitment. If it’s not an employer’s market, it’s a candidate’s market and vice versa.

That also means the same tried and tested hiring strategies simply won’t cut it for every role, for every industry — whether you’re hiring your first employee or your 50th.

1. Job boards/direct advertising

The Queen of your Candidate Pool (unofficial title), job boards are online platforms where companies like yours can post job openings to attract potential candidates. Some of the most popular job boards include Indeed, LinkedIn, Google for Jobs and Glassdoor. And then there are your secondary recruitment marketing tools like VONQ which gives you access to multiple job boards.

Direct advertising involves promoting job openings directly on your company's website, social media channels and other digital platforms. Job boards (with engaging job descriptions) and direct advertising allow you to reach a wide audience of job seekers actively looking for their next career move.

If you’re not publishing your exciting job openings to various job boards, you’re missing out on a massive candidate pool. After all, when your potential applicants begin their job search, they’re most likely starting here. 👇

Job board examples as a recruitment method

2. Employee referrals

Employee referrals are a recruitment strategy where current employees recommend qualified candidates for open positions within the company.

Tons of companies create employee referral programs offering incentives such as cash bonuses or gift cards to employees who refer successful hires. Our Head of People, Rita Wittek-Verbeek proposes giving a special gift to a team member who’s successfully referred a new hire. “It could be flowers or a voucher to their favorite restaurant,” she suggests. “If you don’t have a big budget, it doesn't have to be a monetary transaction.”

“If companies think, oh, I can't set up a referral program because we don't have the budget, I would say you can do that in a different way.”  – Rita, Head of People

This initiative encourages team members to share the job posting and recommend candidates they think would be great for the role.

By leveraging the networks of your existing team members, you can tap into a pool of potential candidates who are likely to be a good fit for your organization. It also means you may hire more quickly, spend less money and a referred team member is more likely to stick around at your company.

A word of caution though: an employee referral program can increases the risk of referral bias. Referral hires are sometimes viewed as a version of favoritism and nepotism in the workplace, as referred candidates typically have a better chance of getting interviewed and then hired.

📣 Hiring bias and how to steer clear of it

3. Social media recruiting

Social media recruiting involves using — you guessed it — social networking platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to advertise job openings and connect with potential candidates. Heck, TikTok could even be an option!

You can create engaging posts, share company updates and interact with followers to build brand awareness and attract keen talent.

One creative way to attract talent on LinkedIn is by including video — Loom, to be exact. Who knew Loom could be an app for recruitment?

Content lead sharing a Loom video on Linkedin as recruitment method

Content Lead Fio Dossetto of Float did a killer job using LinkedIn and Loom to attract eyes and applicants for an open Managing Editor role on her team.

Fio shared the high-level job specs (yay for salary transparency!) and linked a Loom video of her running through the opportunity.

Engaging, informative and highly effective. 👏

4. Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies, also known as staffing firms or headhunters, specialize in sourcing and screening candidates for job openings for client companies.

These agencies have extensive job seeker networks and they use a combination of recruitment methods to identify qualified candidates for specific roles. Working with a recruitment agency can save you time and resources. Instead of managing the hiring process yourself, you’re outsourcing it to pros who understand the recruitment industry and market trends. 📈

One of the more traditional ways of recruiting employees, this is a good approach for companies with bigger budgets (and absolutely no time or resources to hire solo).

❎ The downsides to using a recruitment agency for hiring instead of keeping it in-house are:

  • High costs
  • Maintaining and accurately advertising your company brand

With an agency, you rely on the recruiter to understand and then relay who you are as a company and as a team to potential candidates. And with that, you’re also relying on the recruiter to determine whether a candidate will be a strong value fit for your team. You also run the risk of missing out on creating a people-first hiring process.

5. Professional networks

Building and leveraging professional networks is a key strategy for hiring stellar talent from various industries.

Attending industry-specific events, conferences and networking meet-ups allows recruiters and hiring managers to connect with pros in all sorts of industries and establish relationships with potential candidates.

Some professional network resources to explore:

  • Meetup
  • Eventbrite - this can be a great starting point for uncovering clubs or associations

6. Niche candidate networks

Niche candidate networks are specialized online communities, forums and groups focused on specific industries or professions.

These networks are fantastic spaces for recruiters and hiring managers to reach a targeted audience of candidates with specialized skills and expertise.

Slack communities (fun fact: I learned about my role here at Homerun from a content marketing Slack group! 💁♀️), industry-specific forums and online groups provide a platform for members to engage with potential hires and share job opportunities. Not every professional network allows recruiters to join so those members just may need to be people on your team.

Open job role posting on a Slack group
In the Superpath content marketers Slack Community, members can find jobs and promote their job openings.

💡 Remember: For specialized roles (for example when hiring a software engineer), you can always look to your team for help. Some are probably already involved in specific forums and community groups and can keep an eye out for talent there!

7. Job fairs and recruitment events

Job fairs and recruitment events are in-person or virtual gatherings where hiring managers and recruiters can meet potential candidates. 🤝

These events attract job seekers from diverse backgrounds and industries on the job hunt. Attending job fairs allows you to showcase your employer brand, network with candidates and conduct informal interview screens. Once you've got a few potential candidates, you can set up your structured interview.

Job fairs exist for all sorts of industries. They can be general or industry-specific and may focus on entry-level positions, experienced professionals or specific job roles.

You may also discover that a lot of candidates looking to get their foot in the door of a specific company or industry start their job search at these events. If you’re looking to hire an intern, these events are right up your alley.

8. Boomerang employees

Now for the most adorably named recruitment strategy: boomerang employees. 🪃

These are hires who’ve returned to work for your company after a period of absence. These former employees are already familiar with your company culture, processes and expectations, making them ideal (and straightforward) hires.

With boomerang team members, you can hire them for new job openings or offer them opportunities to return to their previous roles with additional responsibilities or promotions. Depending on when they last worked at your company, a lot may have changed with your team structure and business needs.

➕ Reconnecting with former employees can save time and resources onboarding brand new hires. Another great benefit to boomerang team members is that they can foster a sense of loyalty and commitment to your company and culture.

9. Passive candidates and cold outreach

We love a good passive candidate hiring tactic!

Passive candidates are potential hires who are not actively seeking new job opportunities but may be open to considering them if the right opportunity (via an especially engaging cold email 😉) arises. It lets you tap into a hidden talent pool and connect with candidates who may not be actively applying for jobs.

Here’s how it works.

Hiring managers and recruiters reach out to passive candidates through personalized messages (most commonly on LinkedIn) or cold outreach emails to gauge their interest in a job.

Famously, passive candidates are tougher sells but there are lots of ways you can get them interested in your job opening. We’d recommend:

  • Highlighting your company's culture → Send them a link to your stunning career page. And if you don’t have one yet, use Homerun to build a killer careers site.
  • Spotlighting growth opportunities → If there’s potential for this role to evolve into a more senior position where the candidate can grow and eventually manage a larger team, highlight this! For the right candidate, this is a huge bonus.
  • Sharing the benefits package and salary information → This could be on your career page or you could also send them more in-depth information in another format. For a passive candidate who isn’t completely sold on joining your team, salary information is the type of thing that could pique their interest.

🔥 Pro Tip: Our Head of People Rita suggests having the hiring manager reach out to the candidate directly (so, the person who will be working closely with your potential hire). “Candidates are much more likely to reply to a Team Lead than a random recruiter who just says, 'Hey I saw your profile LinkedIn. Are you up for a chat?'". Collaborative hiring is your superpower!

📣 Recruitment email templates you can use to connect with talent

10. Internships

Internships could be a triggering word for some. Raise your hand if you’ve had a bad internship experience. 🤚

Rita strongly believes that “internships should be work experiences where people can learn and be trained up.”  When done right, internships can provide students, recent graduates and anyone interested in gaining practical skills and knowledge with valuable work experience and exposure to career paths.

Internship benefits go both ways. They can serve as a pipeline for finding and nurturing future talent, allowing companies to assess potential candidates for full-time employment opportunities.

Offering internships also allows you to build relationships with universities and colleges. That means you’re contributing to developing the next generation of professionals in an industry.

Rita suggests being cautious and thoughtful when starting an internship program. “I think it's important when talking about internships to make it clear that you shouldn't hire an intern because you don't have a budget for a position that you ideally otherwise would have filled with a more experienced person,” says Rita. “An intern should never be seen as cheap labor.”

📣 Check out our super thorough and mindful guide on how to hire an intern the right way

11. Talent pool database

With an ATS or hiring software like Homerun, you can easily organize your talent pool into a tidy database. This centralized system lets you store potential candidates (meaning, anyone who’s applied to your company in the past and has therefore expressed interest in working with you).

The great thing about this recruitment method is how seamless it can make the hiring process. Recruiters and hiring managers can keep their talent pool database up-to-date with information about candidates' skills, experience and preferences. When an opportunity opens up, scan your list of candidate profiles as a starting point and see if anyone in your system may be the right fit.

Screenshot of candidate database in Homerun
Candidate database in Homerun

When you have a talent pool of candidates, you can always have a selection of pre-qualified folks who’ve already shown interest in the company. Win-win.

After all, you most likely have an inventory of awesome candidates you’ve already been in touch with — why not start there?

Just be sure that you’re following GDPR hiring guidelines first. Luckily for you, Homerun is GDPR compliant. 😉

12. Word-of-mouth recruitment

When you have an open role on your team, one of the best ways to get your job advert out there is with word of mouth. It involves getting your personal and professional networks to spread the word about job openings — naturally.

While word-of-mouth recruitment is a successful hiring method for big, well-known companies with the brand power to back them up, it can also be worthwhile for small businesses. So, don’t discount its impact!

As a hiring manager, you can get your team members, partners and any stakeholders to refer qualified candidates for open positions. These candidates are more likely to know (and love) the company's culture and values.

Word-of-mouth recruitment relies on the trust and credibility of existing relationships to attract talent and create a positive candidate experience.

Screenshot of 'Word of Mouth' candidate tag in Homerun's recruitment software
In Homerun, you can add a ‘word of mouth’ tag to your candidates to track where applicants are coming from. Then filter by tag to see your total number of word-of-mouth candidates.

🔥 Pro Tip: If you’ve built a strong employer brand and regularly showcase what makes your company an amazing place to grow, word-of-mouth recruitment can often happen organically. To expedite this, ensure you’re continuously improving the candidate experience in your hiring process, your career page is enticing and current and you’re flaunting your company culture whenever you can.

📣 Elevate your employer brand and capture the candidates you need with our guide

13. University and college partnerships

Looking to hire entry-level candidates at the early stage of their career? 👀

Establishing partnerships with universities and colleges could be your best bet. You can recruit students and recent graduates for internships, co-op programs and entry-level positions on your team. For lesser-known businesses, this can be a fantastic way of getting eyes on your company and your job openings.

It’s a big bonus for you but also an incredible opportunity for keen students just getting started in their field. Participating in career fairs, campus events and employer information sessions lets you meet with students and promote worthwhile job opportunities within your team.

If you’re unsure how to start, universities and colleges have support services to help companies connect with students and alumni (job boards, CV databases — with consent! — and recruitment events).

🔥 Pro Tip: Conscious diversity and inclusion efforts can go a long way. We’ve worked with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs in the past like PlusPlusOne and have hired exceptional talent to join our team. It goes to show you how a bit of research and outside-the-box thinking can help you find the right person.

14. Industry-specific conferences

Sometimes the best way to meet candidates is to get out IRL and do some good old-fashioned networking. 🤝

Industry-specific conferences, trade shows and professional events bring pros from a particular industry together to share knowledge, network and discuss the latest trends in their field.

Attending these events allows you to connect with qualified talent, advertise your brand and promote job opportunities. If your budget allows for it, consider sponsoring conference sessions, hosting networking events and exhibiting at relevant trade shows to raise your brand awareness and attract potential candidates.

15. Freelance platforms for project-based hiring

Freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr connect companies with freelance professionals for project-based work.

You can post project requirements, receive proposals from freelancers and hire individuals with the skills and expertise needed to complete specific tasks or projects you don’t have help with in-house.

Freelance platforms provide access to a global talent pool of independent contractors who offer services like graphic design, web development, copywriting and marketing.

This can be an ideal option for your team if you have a ton of short-term projects, seasonal work or hyper-specialized tasks that require specific expertise.

🔥 Pro Tip: Be sure to adapt your interview process for freelancers. A freelance contractor won’t need the same, thorough interview process as you would when hiring a full-time permanent employee. Check out our tips for conducting an online interview which would be perfect for a freelancer.

16. Remote work platforms and communities

We’re sure you know the 2020 pandemic changed everything for knowledge workers and triggered the remote work boom. As a result, remote work platforms and communities have taken off.

Remote work platforms and communities connect companies with remote workers on the hunt for flexible job opportunities.

Some of our favs 🫶 include:

Post remote job openings, search for qualified candidates and engage with remote professionals to build your distributed teams and access talent from around the world.

Remote work platforms and communities offer a convenient and efficient way to recruit remote talent and support remote work initiatives within the organization.

To help you even further, take a look at our interview questions to ask remote workers.

📣 Homerun’s guide to remote hiring


Hot recruitment strategy tips from our in-house pro

Now that you’ve got a list of recruitment strategies to explore and try out, Rita shared her top tips to help you bring your hiring process together.

1. Consider what makes YOU apply for a job

When you see a job advert and you think “I’ve just got to apply to that gig”, what gives you that feeling? It could be the benefits, how the company described their mission, how transparent or reasonable they were. It typically comes down to writing a really good job description. When you consider what inspires you to apply and get excited about a job, you’ll better be able to replicate that feeling for your candidates.

Use our job description templates to kickstart the process.

2. Make hiring an everyday priority — even if you’re not actually hiring

To attract passive candidates all year long, Rita suggests making hiring a constant — or at least, keeping an open job application form on your website. “This can help you kind of maintain a talent pool and organize it in a way that you can find the candidates once you open a vacancy and you can re-engage with them,” says Rita.

3. Capture those employee testimonials

“I think recruitment goes beyond the traditional job posting,” says Rita. “Make a really compelling job description — think about what makes you special, what makes you stand out. Add employee testimonials to your website or career site so that once you do get the candidates in via job postings, via Linkedin, via other like job boards that they see something that will make them look at you as a company they want to work for.”

Choosing the right recruitment method for your hiring process

In the world of hiring, finding the perfect recruitment method is like simply picking the right tools for the job. From job boards to social media and everything in between, there's no shortage of options. The only thing stopping you is you. 😉 🙊

You can build a winning team by understanding what each method brings to the table and tailoring your approach to fit your company's needs. Don't be afraid to mix things up and see what works best for you.

With the right recruitment methods in your toolbox and a recruitment tool that brings everything together, you'll be well on your way to hiring success!

The simplest way to grow your team

The ultimate recruitment method — Homerun’s ATS gives you one clear overview for easy, collaborative hiring.

Learn more

About the author
Alessia is Homerun's resident Canuck and Content Writer based in London. She's been writing B2B content for small and medium-sized businesses for eight years and is passionate about helping people feel more confident (and happy!) in their jobs. When she’s not researching the ways growing teams can improve their hiring, she’s probably thinking about pasta, books, craft beer, and the importance of the Oxford comma.

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