Recruitment refers to the process of attracting, screening, and selecting qualified people for a job at an organization or firm. For some components of the recruitment process, mid- and large-size organizations often retain professional recruiters or outsource some of the process to recruitment agencies.
The recruitment industry has five main types of agencies: employment agencies, recruitment websites and job search engines, "headhunters" for executive and professional recruitment, niche agencies which specialize in a particular area of staffing and in-house recruitment. The stages in recruitment include sourcing candidates by advertising or other methods, and screening and selecting potential candidates using tests or interviews.
The recruitment industry has five main types of agencies. Their recruiters aim to channel candidates into the hiring organizations application process. As a general rule, the agencies are paid by the companies, not the candidates. David Lord of Executive Search Information Services suggests that "...retained search is a management consulting service. Contingency recruiting is one of many forms of candidate identification, no more, no less."
Also known as employment agencies, recruitment agencies have historically had a physical location. A candidate visits a local branch for a short interview and an assessment before being taken onto the agency’s books. Recruitment consultants then work to match their pool of candidates to their clients' open positions. Suitable candidates are short-listed and put forward for an interview with potential employers on a temporary ("temp") or permanent ("perm") basis.
Compensation to agencies take several forms, the most popular:
A "headhunter" is industry term for a third-party recruiter who seeks out candidates, often when normal recruitment efforts have failed. Headhunters are generally considered more aggressive than in-house recruiters or may have preexisting industry experience and contacts. They may use advanced sales techniques, such as initially posing as clients to gather employee contacts, as well as visiting candidate offices. They may also purchase expensive lists of names and job titles, but more often will generate their own lists. They may prepare a candidate for the interview, help negotiate the salary, and conduct closure to the search. They are frequently members in good standing of industry trade groups and associations. Headhunters will often attend trade shows and other meetings nationally or even internationally that may be attended by potential candidates and hiring managers.
Headhunters are typically small operations that make high margins on candidate placements (sometimes more than 30% of the candidate’s annual compensation). Due to their higher costs, headhunters are usually employed to fill senior management and executive level roles. Headhunters are also used to recruit very specialized individuals; for example, in some fields, such as emerging scientific research areas, there may only be a handful of top-level professionals who are active in the field. In this case, since there are so few qualified candidates, it makes more sense to directly recruit them one-by-one, rather than advertise internationally for candidates. While in-house recruiters tend to attract candidates for specific jobs, headhunters will both attract candidates and actively seek them out as well. To do so, they may network, cultivate relationships with various companies, maintain large databases, purchase company directories or candidate lists, and cold call prospective recruits.
More and more we are seeing the emergence of specialized firms which only staff for a very narrow specialty. Because of their focus, these firms can very often produce superior results due to their ability to channel all of their resources into networking for a very specific skill set. This specialization in staffing allows them to offer more jobs for their specific demographic which in turn attracts more specialized candidates from that specific demographic over time building large proprietary databases. These Niche firms tend to be more focused on building ongoing relationships with their candidates as is very common the same candidates are placed many times throughout their careers.
Larger employers tend to undertake their own in-house recruitment, using their human resources department, front-line hiring managers and recruitment personnel who handle targeted functions and populations. In addition to coordinating with the agencies mentioned above, in-house recruiters may advertise job vacancies on their own websites, coordinate internal employee referrals, work with external associations, trade groups and/or focus on campus graduate recruitment. While job postings are common, networking is by far the most significant approach when reaching out to fill positions. Alternatively a large employer may choose to outsource all or some of their recruitment process (recruitment process outsourcing).
These firms are the new hybrid firms in the recruitment world able to combine the research aspects (discovering passive candidates) of recruiting and combine them with the ability to make hires for their clients. These firms provide competitive passive candidate intelligence to support company's recruiting efforts. Normally they will generate varying degrees of candidate information from those people currently engaged in the position a company is looking to fill. These firms usually charge a per hour fee or by candidate lead. Many times this uncovers names that cannot be found with other methods and will allow internal recruiters the ability to focus their efforts solely on recruiting.
The proper start to a recruitment effort is to perform a job analysis, to document the actual or intended requirement of the job to be performed. This information is captured in a job description and provides the recruitment effort with the boundaries and objectives of the search.  Oftentimes a company will have job descriptions that represent a historical collection of tasks performed in the past. These job descriptions need to be reviewed or updated prior to a recruitment effort to reflect present day requirements. Starting a recruitment with an accurate job analysis and job description insures the recruitment effort starts off on a proper track for success.
Sourcing involves 1) advertising, a common part of the recruiting process, often encompassing multiple media, such as the Internet, general newspapers, job ad newspapers, professional publications, window advertisements, job centers, and campus graduate recruitment programs; and 2) recruiting research, which is the proactive identification of relevant talent who may not respond to job postings and other recruitment advertising methods done in #1. This initial research for so-called passive prospects, also called name-generation, results in a list of prospects who can then be contacted to solicit interest, obtain a resume/CV, and be screened (see below).
Suitability for a job is typically assessed by looking for skills, e.g. communication, typing, and computer skills. Qualifications may be shown through résumés, job applications, interviews, educational or professional experience, the testimony of references, or in-house testing, such as for software knowledge, typing skills, numeracy, and literacy, through psychological tests or employment testing. Other resume screening criteria may include length of service, job titles and length of time at a job. In some countries, employers are legally mandated to provide equal opportunity in hiring. Business management software is used by many recruitment agencies to automate the testing process. Many recruiters and agencies are using an applicant tracking system to perform many of the filtering tasks, along with software tools for psychometric testing.
"Onboarding" is a term which describes the process of helping new employees become productive members of an organization. A well-planned introduction helps new employees become fully operational quickly and is often integrated with a new company and environment. Onboarding is included in the recruitment process for retention purposes. Many companies have onboarding campaigns in hopes to retain top talent that is new to the company, campaigns may last anywhere from 1 week to 6 months.
Such sites have two main features: job boards and a résumé/curriculum vitae (CV) database. Job boards allow member companies to post job vacancies. Alternatively, candidates can upload a résumé to be included in searches by member companies. Fees are charged for job postings and access to search resumes. Since the late 1990s, the recruitment website has evolved to encompass end-to-end recruitment. Websites capture candidate details and then pool them in client accessed candidate management interfaces (also online). Key players in this sector provide e-recruitment software and services to organizations of all sizes and within numerous industry sectors, who want to e-enable entirely or partly their recruitment process in order to improve business performance.
The online software provided by those who specialize in online recruitment helps organizations attract, test, recruit, employ and retain quality staff with a minimal amount of administration. Online recruitment websites can be very helpful to find candidates that are very actively looking for work and post their resumes online, but they will not attract the "passive" candidates who might respond favorably to an opportunity that is presented to them through other means. Also, some candidates who are actively looking to change jobs are hesitant to put their resumes on the job boards, for fear that their current companies, co-workers, customers or others might see their resumes.
The emergence of meta-search engines, allow job-seekers to search across multiple websites. Some of these new search engines index and list the advertisements of traditional job boards. These sites tend to aim for providing a "one-stop shop" for job-seekers. However, there are many other job search engines which index pages solely from employers' websites, choosing to bypass traditional job boards entirely. These vertical search engines allow job-seekers to find new positions that may not be advertised on traditional job boards, and online recruitment websites.