Recruiting the Old Fashioned Way

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retro motoristWith the growth and proliferation of on-line jobs boards, social recruitment channels and now mobile recruitment, you could be forgiven for thinking that the traditional channels of recruitment, such as college recruiting, job fairs, newspaper ads,  were all but dead. And, of course you’d be correct in this assumption as, according to the CareerXroads Source of Hire Study, last year Careers Fairs accounted for only 1.9% of hires, Print just 2.2% and College Recruiting a more enterprising but still modest 6.6% of hires. Even when combined these traditional channels account for less than 10% of US hires, compared to 20.1 % from jobs boards.

Case closed then, right? Traditional recruitment tactics part of the ‘old ways’ and no right minded, modern HR or recruitment professional should be using them, right? Wrong. There is still life in the old dog yet, 10% of hires still come from traditional channels, making it still three times more popular than social media as a source of hire.

Do I hear a hushed silence? At least for the moment, the evidence suggests that corporations should still be giving the traditional recruitment channels at least equal billing with social media as a potential source of hire. Fortunately, it seems like 10% of you are already doing this and for the other 90% of non-believers, I thought I would write a quick guide to the features of benefits of traditional recruiting methods.

College Recruiting

Recruiting on college campuses is a great way to access talent and future potential, but it is not as if you can just go down there and quickly scoop all the best candidates before anyone else finds out about them, as there will be big competition from all the major players like Microsoft, Google and GE. Even if they are not physically at the college recruiting event, their presence will be felt and the best candidates will be weighing up your offering in comparison to the most well known employer brands.

As you can tell, I am not here to provide advice on how the major players can make the most of college recruiting events as they are big enough to take care of themselves. I’d like to provide some tips on how smaller businesses can successfully attract candidates in the face of stiff competition from larger businesses.

A 2010 article from Inc highlights that small and growing companies have a unique employer offering that can make them appealing when stood along side big players like GE and it is vital that small companies communicate these strengths when at the event. The Inc article identified the following appealing factors of working in small business.

1. Employees have a lot of room to grow
2. Employees may have more opportunity to innovate
3. Much shorter time to market for new products – so more fulfilling
4. Each employee is important and is not just a number

You should also consider the argument that Microsoft, Google and Facebook were all once unknown Silicon Valley start-ups, so try to enthuse students and let them know they might be joining the next ‘big thing’.

Some other good techniques for small business to connect with college talent are serving as a guest speaker on the business school classroom circuit, or judging/speaking in a business plan competition. Both these techniques will increase your company’s profile within the school and help you to make stronger connections.

Job Fairs

Much of the advice from college recruiting is applicable to college fairs, particularly relating to the point about explaining the advantages of working in a start up/small business environment. Also, employers should also take advantage of any guest speaking opportunities to raise their business profile. In addition, I have set out six further tips for recruiting employees at a job fair

1. Choose a job fair that is related to your industry or location.
2. Prepare a professional booth and plan to have it staffed by at least two people
3. Take a list of job descriptions of key target roles so you can assess potential suitability of candidates
4. Try and set up interviews in advance using the job fair’s candidate matching service.
5. Ensure your booth attracts employee attention by kitting it out with banners, brochures, video presentations, exciting product demos etc…


There are two ways to effectively use print media.

Certain jobs can be more suited to candidates who already live in the local area; this could be roles that are lower paid, in hard to access locations and/or have unusual hours. The big secret? These are most of the jobs that are out there – so they are very important. Specialized, senior, and executive level roles form but a fraction of the total jobs out there. The best place to reach local candidates is to advertise your vacancy in the local newspaper, as you will minimize the number of unsuitable out of state/locality applicants, saving yourself time.

If your company operates in a very niche sector or the role itself is niche, qualified candidates will be few and far between. The best way to reach them in one place is by advertising in the relevant specialist trade press, journals and magazines. An example would be trying to source creative retail talent by advertising in fashion magazines and online publications.

By Kazim Ladimeji