Other External Recruitment Sources

Whether or not you use an agency in your hunt for the ideal candidate, there are a number of other external recruitment sources which may work for you and your organisation


If you place details of your vacancy on a display card at the local job centre, it is likely to be seen by a large number of people, almost all of whom will be unemployed and looking for work. The staff at the Jobcentre will encourage suitable applicants to apply for the position.

This is ideal, as long as you bear in mind one or two points. First, remember that people on benefits are often looking for any job, not necessarily the position you have on offer. They may turn out to be ideally suited for the position, but remember that they may not have applied initially with the same interest and passion as an applicant who has specifically applied for the job.

Second, you should bear in mind that people already in employment rarely visit Jobcentres. So there are only certain types of job where you would advertise in a Jobcentre alone. Often, you will need to consider other sources of recruitment as well.

You should also consider that the role of a Jobcentre is to get people on benefits back into work as quickly as possible. So the Jobcentre may encourage some less suitable candidates to apply for your vacancy. So tt makes sense to specify to the Jobcentre staff precisely the sort of person you were looking for.

Jobcentres offer their services free of charge. You can advertise your position locally, regionally or nationally. Jobcentre staff are able to screen applicants for you, and put forward for interview only those who seem suitable. Jobcentres also offer a number of additional services. For example, you can use the Jobcentre to conduct your interviews.

Over all, the Jobcentre can be a good source of recruitment for junior, as well as less skilled positions. But you should rarely rely on Jobcentres alone.

Job fairs

If the vacancy is not urgent, or you have several vacancies to fill, there are two types of job fair that you should consider:

1. Recruitment fairs run by commercial exhibition organisers or jobcentres. These often take place throughout the year in regional exhibition halls and hotel conference areas all over the country. Contact your local jobcentre for details, or watch the regional press for upcoming fairs in your area.

2. Careers events run by schools, colleges and universities. If you are looking for graduates, then events run by educational establishments might be the answer. They tend to attract the large organisations and public bodies, but if you are a smaller organisation, and want to attend, get in touch with the careers officer at your nearest college, university or secondary school.

Job fairs are often overlooked as a good recruitment source, but they can be extremely effective. They attract a wide range of people, from the unemployed to senior managers looking for new positions. Hiring a trade stand at a job fair is expensive, so they work best when you need to fill several vacancies at once. They provide a good opportunity to meet potential candidates, and if you have time you can begin the interview process during the course of the fair.

One of the disadvantages of job fairs is that you cannot always be certain that there will be a fair at the same time that you are looking for staff. However, you may be able to predict your staffing needs such that attending one or more fairs each year is cost-effective. If yours is the sort of organisation that requires a regular intake of skilled, managerial or graduate level staff, recruitment or job fairs might prove ideal.

Professional Bodies, Clubs and Societies

Is there are professional body or organisation that serves your particular industry? For example:

  • Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
  • Institute of Management (IOM)
  • Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD)

If you are a member of a relevant body or professional institute, you will probably find that there is scope to recruit from amongst their individual members or member organisations. They may publish a journal that includes a recruitment section. Or they may be happy to supply you with their mailing list. Either option is worth considering, especially as you know that any recruitment drive you undertake will be sent direct to highly targeted prospects.

Schools and Colleges

If you are looking for unskilled staff for jobs that do not require previous work or related experience, you might consider contacting the local secondary schools and sixth form colleges. Most will have a dedicated careers officer with whom you can discuss your staffing requirements, and you will find that they are only too pleased to assist your recruitment campaign. There are several advantages to recruiting in this way:

  • The costs of recruitment are lower
  • There is often a pool of candidates to choose from
  • Because they have little work experience, you can mould your new recruits to your organisation’s culture

However, you need to remember that most school age candidates will have had no work experience of any significance, and may be slower to adjust mentally to the working world than staff you recruit from other sources. Talk to the careers officer about offering work placement opportunities to students. Virtually every secondary pupil will do at least a week’s work experience before leaving school, and getting involved might help you to identify some workers for the future.

Open days

Open days are becoming increasingly common in larger organisations, or at companies whose profile is particularly high in the local community. The idea is to throw open the doors of the organisation for a day, and encourage anyone who might be interested to take a look around, and to hear about the job and career opportunities available. You wouldn’t want to host an open day for a single vacancy, but if you need to recruit for a number of positions, then it is worth considering. Open days give potential applicants the chance to:

1. See your premises
2. Talk to you and your staff
3. Get a feel for what working for you might be like
4. Take away brochures, catalogues and other company literature

If it is not practical to host the event on site, it might be worth holding an open session at a local hotel or conference centre. If you held the event in the evening or over a weekend, more candidates will be able to attend.


Internships are usually part-time roles offered to students while they are still studying at college or university. The student benefits from getting practical work experience relevant to the course they are studying. As the employer, you get the chance to employ the services of someone whom you may wish to employ full-time when they have completed their course. You can also provide the college or university with practical feedback about the relevance and value of each element of the course. Could it be improved in such a way that makes students from the course more valuable to you?

Get in touch with your local college or university if you think an internship might work for you or your organisation.

Graduate Recruitment

In the past, most graduate recruitment was conducted by large organisations. These days, organisations of all types and sizes are taking advantage of the opportunity. There are a number of benefits. New or recent graduates are usually keen, intelligent, willing and untainted by a number of years working for other organisations. However, graduates can be demanding. They are looking for a competitive salary and a fast track career path. If they do not think you are providing them with sufficient challenge, career progression or reward, they are likely to leave.

What are you looking for?

When recruiting graduates, you should build your person specification exactly as you would with any other recruitment method. Don’t assume that because a candidate is a graduate they necessarily have the skills and attributes you are looking for. Consider the following:

  • Are you looking for a subject specialist, or will a graduate of any discipline do? For example, are you looking for an engineer or computer programmer?
  • What other specific skills (for example, languages) are either essential or desirable for the role?
  • Are you looking for a graduate with previous work or commercial experience? Will a graduate who has undertaken a work placement qualify?

Training and development

When putting together the job description and person specification, think carefully about the future:

1. What training and development opportunities exist for the graduate in the role?
2. What career progression is likely/possible?
3. How is the salary, and other remuneration, likely to develop in the future?

You need to put together a competitive package to attract graduates, but there is no advantage in being anything other than realistic. If the best you think you can offer is a year or so in a challenging role before the graduate will want to move on elsewhere, then it is probably best to say so.

The approach

When looking for your ideal graduate, approach two or more universities. Graduates are often prepared to study anywhere, so there is no need to approach only local colleges and universities. Talk to the Careers Officer, and get details of the job fairs, the milk round and the employer presentation opportunities that exist. Most universities have a system that enables employers to meet and talk to students on campus.


If approaching the universities direct sounds like hard work, there are plenty of employment agencies around the country that have graduates on their books. They will charge a premium (up to around 25% of the first year’s salary), but they will offer a range of services, including identifying appropriate undergraduate courses, screening applicants and conducting first interviews.


Most national newspapers have regular graduate recruitment sections. In addition, there is one national graduate weekly newspaper that is distributed around campus. It is called Prospects Today. Their website is at www.prospects.csu.ac.uk. Finally, remember that if you plan to take on a graduate, you must keep them motivated and challenged in their role. They will expect the best training and development you can offer, and periodic salary and career reviews.

External recruitment: Checklist

  • Could a jobcentre help in your search for the ideal recruit?
  • Are there any job fairs you can attend, either locally or nationally?
  • Are you a member of a professional body, club or society that can help you to recruit your new staff member?
  • Is it worth contacting local secondary schools and sixth form colleges for this, or other vacancies?
  • How about hosting an open day at your company or organisation?
  • Could you offer an internship to a part qualified student?
  • Does your vacancy demand a graduate?