Are Traditional Recruitment Techniques Becoming Obsolete?

By Suzanne Tanser - Aug. 20, 2018
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Suzanne Tanser – Reward Business Manager with Croner. Her opinions are her own. 

With just a few moments’ thought, you can probably list at least five or six recruitment methods that you’ve used during your time as a hiring manager or an employer.

Do you still use all of these methods?

If the answer is no, then why not? Did you find one method to be ineffective after the time and cost you’d given it? Or was it relatively cheap, and quick to prepare, but seemingly lacking in its ability to lure good fish (candidates, we mean candidates, of course) to your bait (job ad)?

Or perhaps a third reason: a new, innovative recruitment method came along and obviated your old lean-to.

Hiring the best candidates isn’t about sentimentality. It’s about being open-minded in your search, attractive in your ads, and competitive in what you’re prepared to offer.

Recruitment methods have certainly experienced an evolution since the real dawn of the Digital Age. Social media and the internet of things has enabled a person to search for a job whenever and wherever they want.

On the flip side, an employer can now use the internet to find out more about their prospective hire than they probably know about themselves.

With this in mind, let’s investigate which of the olde, traditional methods of recruitment are standing the fabled test of time.

The shop window ad

This recruitment method is almost certainly the frontrunner for what we should collectively title The Most Overlooked Recruitment Method of the 21st Century award.

Next time you’re walking down a thoroughfare or high street, pay attention to the shops, agencies, eateries, and so on. At least one of these will have a very basic A4-sized poster that screams WE’RE HIRING, probably in black arial font. It’ll tell job hunters to apply within with their CV, and it’ll almost certainly explain that it’s looking for part- or full-time staff.

A banausic job ad, and that’s being kind. No mention of hours or salary. Candidates are expected to discover this information when they push open the front door.

Now, if you’re an office firm nestled within an industrial estate that’s fastened onto a dual carriageway exit, there’s not much point in you having ads on your windows. But if you’re on Main Street, and you’re hiring, then give it a shot. Maybe differentiate from the crowd and note as much detail as possible.

Internal hiring

The beauty of internal hiring is that once someone has worked for you for a little while, you know what they’re capable of. You understand their attitude, you’re learning what motivates them, what they’re good at, where they can improve, how well they fit into your company culture, and what sort of career progression makes sense for them.

If a promotion opportunity comes along that fits their development path as comfortably as gloves that are… their size… would fit… then why bother looking externally?

If you didn’t know already, your staff are probably clued up on what positions you’re looking to hire for in the company. If somebody thinks you’re overlooking them, you risk obliterating their morale. If you’re unsure about their suitability for the role, mention it anyway and let them apply and compete with external candidates. They might surprise you.

Just remember to replace them if you do promote them.

And remember that once you start growing, you inevitably do have to add more staff. Employee A might be good for the available promotion, but who’s going to do Employee A’s job?

Offline publications

Believe it or not, many people still read offline, printed publications – newspapers, magazines, and industry journals.

Some newspapers are free and therefore accessible to enormous audiences – especially commuters. And if a potential candidate is unhappily shuffling through a newspaper on their way to work, your job ad might just inject a shot of motivation into them. You and them might be star-crossed lovers, cluelessly awaiting this lowkey moment when they rip the ad out of the paper and apply as soon as they get home.

Of course, not all printed publications are free, but they’re still reasonably cheap ways to advertise your job vacancy.

Remember that if you’re looking for top-end, skilled employees, a daily newspaper might not be where they do their reading… research which industry publications are big in your sector and consider getting your vacancies printed in them.

These journals, papers, and magazines all have websites too where you can post online ads. Embrace the digital and traditional together!

Job centres

Job centres. These dusty old ruins of the old ages live on, creaky and guarded. But they remain a great way for you to advertise job vacancies. What’s more is, many of these institutions, such as the UK’s JobCentre, offer candidates all sorts of handy tips for constructing and formatting a good CV/resume. So, in theory, you’ll get a nice crisp application coming in, rather than something that’s ill-formatted and out of date, with spelling errors to boot.

Recruitment agencies

Ahh yes. The bounty hunters of the recruitment world. Except, it’s not a case of dead or alive… that’d be a little redundant. And possibly illegal. Recruitment consultants are skilled at selling. They sell jobs to candidates, and they sell candidates to employers. They earn commission when they strike a deal, so they’re heavily motivated to do a good job. Their agency outfits them with all the latest job board credits and networking channels so that they can find the hottest talent in a given sector.

They’re the ultimate middle-man metaphor made real.

Of course, you’re going to pay a fee. And this fee will vary depending on the agency, and the skills/experience of the candidate, and the difficulty of the assignment, and whether it’s a full-time or part-time contract, and whether you’re using them as a one-time or retainer deal.

But recruitment as a sector isn’t going away. The best recruitment agencies are using technology and digital channels to entice candidates into contacting their consultants. Spend five seconds on LinkedIn and a recruiter will find you.

So wait a minute… none of these methods are obsolete?

That’s right. None of these “traditional” recruitment methods are strategies that you should overlook.

Because, let’s face it, you’re trying to find the best possible candidate. That might be someone who has certain soft skills, hard skills, experiences, or a combination of all of these. Why risk letting the perfect candidate slip through your metaphorical net by cutting one method out of your search strategy?

When it comes to hiring, you’re going to get a wider range of applications for your vacancies if you’re searching all corners of the earth, both physical and digital.

And what’s more, you’ll be better placed to avoid any kind of discrimination in your recruitment process if you do all you can to accept applications from everyone. Ultimately, once you close the application gate, you can use your shortlisting criteria to separate the good applicants from the bad.

Suzanne Tanser is the Reward Manager at HR and reward specialists Croner. Suzanne is a pay & benefits expert who has a long history of working in the legal services industry.


Suzanne Tanser

Suzanne Tanser is the Reward Manager at HR and reward specialists Croner. Suzanne is a pay & benefits expert who has a long history of working in the legal services industry.

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