The Five Most Common Recruiting Channels and Their Effectiveness

When it comes to sourcing qualified new candidates, JCSI has found there to be five core sourcing channels. Each varies in importance, depending on the type of business you are in and your hiring role.

  1. Direct Applicants = talent comes from a company’s career site or the job boards it uses to post its jobs.
  2. Employee referrals = candidates that current employees recommend for a job. This can happen through direct solicitation or syndication via personal owned social channels.
  3. Direct sourcing = building target lists and outreaching directly to candidates. This has expanded from email/call outreach to includes social media advertising, which engages passive candidates.
  4. Recruitment agencies = firms that specialize in specific roles or types of hires and charge a percentage of the candidate’s first-year salary (typically 15-33%).
  5. External solutions like Recruitment Process Outsourcers = these are partners that will supplement a companies HR/talent function and act as a hiring extension of these teams so that new full-time hires, contractors, or agencies do not need to be engaged. The savings are typically 30-80%.

Direct applicants account for the most volume of all five channels. A study by Lever found 1 in 152 job applicants are hired. JCSI has found that this depends on the type of role being employed. Job postings can be terrific for high volume broadly applicable jobs and low volume particular jobs. Provided, of course, that you pick the right channel!

The same study by Lever found the 1 in 16 referred candidates are hired. The challenge with this is it is challenging for organizations to institutionalize an employee referral program. And even upon doing so, it is very challenging to make the volumes work across a broad swatch of hiring needs/jobs.

One of the best ROI’s in the bunch (and most scalable) is direct sourcing. Strategic outreach is a grind but worth it if you put in the time. Whereas most organizations give up, pushing through using multiple outreach/outreach methods will provide the best results. 

Traditional recruitment agencies are expensive, highly variable, and not scalable. As most agencies focus on a specific area to gain scale, they can not be counted on the support of multiple types of hires. Additionally, these agencies mainly operate a sole proprietor model (even within larger agencies) where each agent is responsible for finding clients and filling job specs for said client.

Recruitment Process Outsourcers are a form of business process outsourcing, where an employer transfers part of its recruitment processes to an external service provider. This can take many forms, from an on-site recruiter to a dedicated virtual recruiter to an organization that owns many roles for an organization.