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Sources of Recruitment

Broadly, there are two sources of recruitment, viz, internal sources and external sources. While internal sources allows a company to fill the vacant positions from those who are currently employed, external sources allows a company to hire employees through advertisements, employment exchanges, college/university/institute placement services, walk-ins and write-ins, consultants and contractors.

Internal Recruitment

Internal recruitment seeks applications for positions from those who are currently employed. Internal sources include present employees, employee referrals, former employees and former applicants.

Present Employees

Promotions and transfers from among the present employees can be a good source of recruitment. Promotion to higher positions has several advantages. They are-: (i) it is good public relations; (ii) it builds morale; (iii) it encourages competent individuals who are ambitious; (iv) it improves the probability of a good selection, since information on the individual’s performance is readily available; (v) it is cheaper than going outside to recruit; (vi) those chosen internally are familiar with the organization; and (vii) when carefully planned, promoting from within can also act as a training device for developing middle-level and top-level managers.

Promotion, to be effective, requires using job posting, personnel records, and skill banks. Job posting means notifying vacant positions by posting notices, circulating publications or announcing at staff meetings and inviting employees to apply. This practice is not followed for senior positions which are generally filled with people hired from outside. Personnel records are also useful to effect promotions. Examining personnel records may help discover employees who are doing jobs below their educational qualifications or skill levels.

It may also help to track persons who have the potential for further training or those who have the right background for the vacant positions. Some companies develop skill banks that list current employees who have specific skills.

Another way to recruit from present employees is transfer without promotion. Transfers are often important in providing employees with a broad-based view of the company, necessary for future promotions.

Employee Referrals

This can be a good source of internal recruitment. Employees can develop good prospects for their families and friends by acquainting them with the advantages of a job with the company, furnishing cards of introduction, and even encouraging them to apply.

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Former Employees

Former employees are also an internal source of applicants. Some retired employees may be willing to come back to work on a part-time basis or may recommend someone who would be interested in working for the company. Sometimes, people who have left the company for some reason or the other are willing to come back and work. Individuals who left for other jobs, might be willing to come back for higher emoluments. An advantage with this source is that the performance of these people is already known.

Previous Applicants

Although not truly an internal source, those who have previously applied for jobs can be contacted by mail, a quick and inexpensive way to fill an unexpected opening. Although ‘walk-ins’ are likely to be more suitable for filling unskilled and semi-skilled jobs, some professional openings can be filled by applicants to previous jobs.

External Recruitment

External sources far outnumber the internal methods. Specifically, sources external to a firm are professional or trade associations, advertisements, employment exchanges, college/university/institute placement services, walk-ins and write-ins, consultants, contractors, displaced persons, radio and television, acquisitions and mergers, and competitors.

Professional or Trade Associations

Many associations provide placement services for their members. These services may consist of compiling job seekers’ lists and providing access to members during regional or national conventions. Further, many associations publish or sponsor trade journals or magazines for their members. These publications often carry classified advertisements from employers interested in recruiting their members. Professional or trade associations are particularly useful for attracting highly educated, experienced or skilled personnel. Another advantage of these sources is that recruiters can zero in on specific job seekers, especially for hard-to-fill technical posts.


These constitute a popular method of seeking recruits as many recruiters prefer advertisements because of their wide reach.

Want ads describe the job and the benefits, identify the employer, and tell those who are interested and how to apply. They are the most familiar form of employment advertising. For highly specialized recruits, advertisements may be placed in professional/business journals. Newspaper is the most common medium.

A number of factors influence the response rate to advertisement. There are three important variables- identification of the company, labor-market conditions, and the degree to which specific requirements are included in the advertisement.

Employment Exchanges

Employment exchanges have been set up all over the country in deference to the provisions of the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959. The Act applies to all industrial establishments having 25 workers or more each. The Act requires all the industrial establishments to notify the vacancies before they are filled. The major functions of the exchanges are to increase the pool of possible applicants and to do preliminary screening. Thus, employment exchanges act as a link between the employers and the prospective employees. These offices are particularly useful in recruiting blue-collar, white-collar and technical workers.

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Campus Recruitment

Colleges, universities, research laboratories, sports fields and institutes are fertile ground for recruiters, particularly the institutes. In fact, in some companies, recruiters are bound to recruit a given number of candidates from prestigious institutes every year. The IIMs are an important source for recruiting management trainees.

Walk-ins, Write-ins and Talk-ins

The most common and least expensive approach for candidates is direct applications, in which job seekers submit unsolicited application letters or resumes. Direct applications can also provide a pool of potential employees to meet future needs. From employees’ viewpoint, walk-ins are preferable as they are free from the hassles associated with other methods of recruitment. While direct applications are particularly effective in filling entry-level and unskilled vacancies, some companies compile pools of potential employees from direct applications for skilled positions.

Write-ins are those who send written enquiries. These job seekers are asked to complete application forms for further further processing.

Talk-ins are becoming popular nowadays. Job aspirants are required to meet the recruiter (on an appropriated date) for detailed talks. No application is required to be submitted to the recruiter.


ABC Consultants, Ferguson Associates, Human Resource Consultants, Head Hunters, Batliboi and Co., Analytic Consultancy Bureau, Aims Management Consultants and The Search House are some among the numerous recruiting agencies. These and other agencies in the profession are retained by organizations for recruiting and selecting managerial and executive personnel.

Consultants are useful in as much as they have nation-wide contacts and lend professionalism to the hiring process. They also keep prospective employer and the employee anonymous. But, the cost can be a deterrent factor. Most consultants charge fees ranging from 20 to 50 per cent of the first year salaries of the individuals placed.


Contractors are used to recruit casual workers. The names of the workers are not entered in the company records and, to this extent, difficulties experienced in maintaining permanent workers are avoided.

Displaced Persons

Siting and implementation of a project in an area would result in displacement of several hundred inhabitants. Rehabilitating the displaced people is a social responsibility of business. Such people are a source of recruitment, not only for the project which caused the displacement, but also for other companies located elsewhere.

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Rehabilitation of displaced persons is mandated by the government, and the World Bank has made it a conditionality for granting assistance to the concerned country.

Radio and Television

Radio and television are used but sparingly, and that too, by government departments only. Companies in the private sector are hesitant to use the media because of high costs and also because they fear that such advertising will make the companies look desperate and damage their image.

Radio and television can be used to reach certain types of job applicants such as skilled workers. Besides, there is nothing inherently desperate about using radio or television. Rather it depends upon what is said and how it is delivered that implies some level of desperation.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Another method of staffing firms is a result of the merger or acquisition process. When organizations combine into one, they have to handle a large pool of employees, some of whom may no longer be necessary in the new organization. Consequently, the new company has, in effect, a pool of qualified job applicants (although they are current employees). As a result of the merger or acquisition, however, new jobs may be created as well. Both new and old jobs may be readily staffed by drawing the best-qualified applicants from this employee pool.


Rival firms can be a source of recruitment. Popularly called ‘poaching or ‘raiding’, this method involves identifying the right people in rival companies, offering them better terms and luring them away.


E-recruiting involves screening candidates electronically, directing potential hires to a special website for online skill assessment, conducting background checks over the Internet, interviewing candidates via videoconferencing, and managing the entire process with web-based software.

Perhaps no method has ever had as revolutionary an effect on recruitment practices as the Internet. There are respective company websites devoted in some manner to job posting activities. Currently, employers can electronically screen candidates’ soft attributes, direct potential hires to a special website for online skill assessment, conduct background checks over the Internet, interview candidates via videoconferencing, and manage the entire process with web-based software. Companies benefit immensely through cost savings, speed enhancement and extended worldwide candidate reach which the Internet offers. From the job seekers’ perspective, the Internet allows for searches over a broader array of geographic and company postings than was possible before.

About Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.