Recruitment Sources

While it is important to understand where the best possible candidates would be, it is equally important to understand how to reach them.  The following list of sources can be used to help you find and expand your applicant pools.


Community Groups and Agencies

Postings and communications with various community groups and agencies that work with non-traditional candidates such as recent immigrants and persons with disabilities could be very useful for reaching untapped candidate pools. 

When employers integrate internationally trained immigrants into their workforce, the result is valuable employees with global experience and knowledge.  These different viewpoints can help the company to ‘think outside the box’ and gain priceless insight, unique ideas, and creative possibilities. 

Persons with physical disabilities can perform just as well as an able-bodied individual in certain positions.  Consider what is critical or absolutely required for the position and keep your doors open to all candidates who can effectively perform the job. 

Incorporating these candidates can not only increase your pool of qualified candidates and bring creativity and unique opportunities to your company but it can also increase diversity within your workforce and deter prejudice from entering the recruitment process. 

Educational Institutions

This source is ideal for entry-level openings and can access experienced workers through alumni associations.  Professors and teachers are usually active in their field and can give recruiters a ‘heads up’ on promising students and recent graduates.  Co-op placements can also bridge the gap between education and career and supply organizations with enthusiastic new professionals ready to put their knowledge to work.  Also, involvement with co-ops and internships often turn into permanent employment and can decrease training costs. 


This source can be used to develop and groom students into ideal employees.  Since students or recent graduates have minimal experience, it is easier to mould them into model workers who can work their way up to management. 

This minimal experience, however, can be a disadvantage.  Since students generally do not have much past experience to judge, it is more difficult to predict future behaviour on the job.  Employers must be able to evaluate potential rather than concrete experience

Temporary Agencies

These agencies aim to match people with jobs and charge a fee for doing so.  These fees are usually tied to a percentage of the hire’s starting salary or wage or subject to an ongoing mark-up in the case of a temporary worker.  This staffing model allows a company to see an employee’s performance first-hand while they meet a temporary staffing need.  Quite often, if the temporary need is related to a current vacancy, there is the potential that the temporary worker could transition into a full-time employee of the company if their performance is of an acceptable level.

Placement or Search Firms

The purpose of these sources is to find managerial, hard-to-find and/or specialized talent.  Generally, they seek out candidates who are already employed and not looking for employment.  Like temporary agencies, these sources take a heavy burden off of the employer and hold a portion of the responsibility for finding top talent.  They are also able to contact employed candidates directly to determine if they would be interested in the job at your company.  It is very active recruiting as opposed to the passive recruiting of most other advertising and posting activities.  

Search firms can be an expensive source; sometimes charging a fee of up to 30% of the employee’s starting salary.  However, when you look at the costs of having a position vacant, the costs associated with placing ads in many sources to try to attract potential candidates and the time associated with all of this, paying search fees in the right situations can save you money.


Internal Job Postings and Employee Referrals

Positions can be advertised internally through:


  • Online postings available to company employees only
  • Postings on bulletin boards throughout the company
  • Newsletters
  • Memos
  • Word of mouth

Advertising positions internally can have many benefits such as attracting existing employees to apply for positions within the company.  These applicants would already be familiar with the company’s mission, vision, and values.  These sources are low-cost or no-cost, can increase employee morale and can decrease costs associated with training.

Internal advertisement can also encourage existing employees to ‘spread the word’ to their friends, previous co-workers or classmates, or other contacts that they believe would be a good fit for the position and organization.  This could create a triple-win situation for employees, employers, and those being referred – the employee could receive a reward for a successful hire, the company hires a qualified and trusted worker, and the referral gets the job! 


Employers have the option of posting jobs on their own websites or on Internet job search sites.  National or international job search sites have many different options for job seekers including search specifications to narrow results (i.e. search by location, industry, job category, and/or date), candidates can compare pay ranges, and they can be linked to company websites to learn more information.  Another benefit to job search sites is that they are available to a large number of people, which gives job postings an extensive, far-reaching audience.

Applications to company website job postings indicate that the candidate has sought out the company specifically.  This reflects their interest in the company and shows that they’ve been to and explored the website.

The major drawback to Internet job postings is that they tend to generate many unsuitable applications.  Since it is quite quick and easy to apply online, people often send in their resumes for positions that they are unqualified for or positions that they are only slightly interested in.

Job/Career Fairs

The purpose of a job fair is to obtain applications from interested and highly qualified candidates and to introduce the company as a desirable employer.  Job fairs are best utilized when there are a large number of vacancies to fill and the target job fair audience possesses related skills for the positions needing to be filled.  This source can be a great opportunity to network with other recruiters, gain access to job seekers, and advertise your company.  Also, there is the possibility of filling a large number of positions in a small amount of time.  Generally, everyone attending the job fair is looking to gain something whether it’s recognition, job opportunities, or even freebie promotional gifts.  Job fairs usually last one to three days in order to allow for many people to attend. 

The drawback of this source is that it can be quite costly to attend when considering the cost of booth space, handout materials and the time of staff to be at the booth. 


Newspapers (Mainstream)

Job postings placed in newspapers can appear temporarily in the classified section or can be placed permanently in the newspaper.  Employers have the option of placing job postings in local or community newspapers or nationally distributed papers.  Keep in mind that increased distribution comes at an increased cost. 

Ads can be cut out and circulated between people.  They can be eye catching to all readers – even those who are not interested in the position themselves.  If the ad catches their eye, chances are, if they know of or hear about someone looking for a similar position they will tell them about the ad. 

A disadvantage to newspaper job postings is that they can be lost easily since they’re usually thrown out with the paper at the end of the day.  Also, they can be overlooked when they are small or in a sea of other postings.

Newspapers (Ethnic and Non-English)

Companies often only think about mainstream newspapers when advertising positions.  Given the significant number of skilled immigrants in this country who continue to seek news and information in their first language, it provides a fantastic opportunity to reach a valuable and fast-growing sector of the labour force.

Often local community groups can assist with translation for little or no cost.  It may be valuable to understand what community groups operate in your area as well as exploring non-English newspapers published and read locally.

Professional Associations

Job postings can be placed on professional associations’ websites, in professional periodicals, magazines, and in trade journals.  These sources allow employers to reach specialized groups of applicants.  Like newspapers, these sources can be local, regional, national, or international. Professionals with particular skills or qualifications can be accessed through these sources. 

Magazines can be quite expensive to advertise in and it can take months for an ad to be placed in a magazine or journal.  For example, deadlines for magazine material could be due months in advance of its actual publication.  This may be a good source for ongoing recruitment activities of certain skill types that you regularly need, as opposed to trying to fill an immediate need.

Professional Association website job posting boards can be effective at reaching candidates with generally the desired skills; however, because many of these websites are only open to members, there is a potentially limited audience.

Radio and Television

These sources are mostly used in smaller communities for general labour and similar types of positions, but can be an effective and unique way of promoting careers within your organization. 

The purpose of a radio or television commercial is to spark an interest in the listener or viewer and direct them to another recruitment source such as the company website, telephone or fax number, or encourage them to personally drop off their resumes.  Also, radio and television ads can be used to advertise job fairs and new company locations or openings.

A disadvantage to these sources is that they can be quite costly – even for a 15 to 30 second commercial.  It is difficult to squeeze important position information in such a short ad.  However, a series of radio ads may not be very expensive in smaller communities.


Often, the employer initiates recruitment; however, with walk-ins, recruitment is initiated by the applicant.  An advantage to this source is that only candidates who are seriously interested in a job hand in their resumes and try to initiate interviews.  Also, there is no lead-time between a candidate viewing an advertisement and when they can be interviewed.  This creates the possibility of reducing time and money spent on selection and minimizes the time for which a position is kept vacant.

If there is no position available at the time of the walk-in, employers generally keep resumes on file for future positions.  However, walk-ins are usually delivered because the individual is seeking employment as soon as possible.  By the time a position becomes available, the candidate might have already found work.

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