HR Tip of the Week

Posted on  |  Hiring and onboarding

9 Low-Cost Recruiting Options


When you're ready to fill an open job, using a wide variety of recruiting methods can help increase the likelihood of finding a qualified candidate. Of course, budget is often a consideration when looking for candidates. Here are some lower-cost options to consider when recruiting:

#1: Employee referrals.

Referrals can be an inexpensive way to find candidates. With employee referral programs, current employees are encouraged to recommend positions available in the company to qualified people they know. If a successful hire is made, the referring employee typically receives some sort of referral reward, such as a cash bonus or extra vacation days. If you decide to offer a referral bonus, establish a written policy addressing eligibility and other program rules.

#2: Company website.

Many employers have found success by posting their job openings on their company website. This is typically done via a "careers" page that enables candidates to browse, and apply to, the company's job openings. Since many job seekers use their mobile devices to seek and apply for jobs, make sure your website and application are optimized for mobile devices.

#3: Social media.

If you have a presence on social media, share job openings with your followers. More than likely, this group is already engaged and committed to your company's mission. Even if your followers aren't looking for a job themselves, they may know someone who is. Some employers may also choose to use social media to actively search for candidates. However, when researching applicants online, you may inadvertently come across information that would normally be "off limits", such as one's age or disability. If you're searching for candidates on social media, take steps to prevent protected information from influencing your decisions (intentionally or unintentionally). Consider choosing someone outside the decision-making process to conduct the searches. And, if you use social media's ad-targeting tools to attract applicants, make sure you avoid targeting ads based on a protected characteristic.

#4: School and community job boards.

Most universities have online job boards that allow students and alumni to search for employment. Many community-based, professional, and trade organizations also host job boards. To help promote diversity, seek out organizations and schools that serve communities that are underrepresented in your current workforce.

#5: Veterans Job Bank.

The federal government has resources to help connect employers and veterans looking for work. Employers that hire veterans may also be eligible for tax credits (contact your tax advisor for more information).

#6: Workforce Recruitment Program.

The federal government's Workforce Recruitment Program connects employers to a database of college students and recent graduates with disabilities seeking employment. There are also tax incentives available for employers that hire and accommodate people with disabilities (contact your tax advisor for more information).

#7: Internal job postings.

Hiring an internal candidate is typically quicker and less expensive because you don't have to pay to post a job ad or pay a recruiter to source candidates. Current employees are already familiar with your company and its processes and have already formed relationships with clients and coworkers. This typically decreases the learning curve since external candidates may require more time to get up to speed. When making the decision of whether to hire internally or externally, consider what expertise is within your current workforce compared with that of the external labor market. And, keep in mind that when an internal hire is made, you may need to backfill the employee's previous role.

#8: Previous applicants.

Another low-cost option is to look to the applications you have on file. Perhaps there's a candidate who wasn't the right fit for a previous opening, but is a good fit this time around.

#9: Rehires.

Employers can also look to former employees to fill job vacancies. This can be an attractive option if the individual was a strong performer since they already have a proven track record with your company.


Whatever your budget, consider a wide variety of recruiting methods to help you find a deep and diverse pool of applicants. Additionally, make sure you measure the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts so you can identify potential issues quickly and make adjustments as needed.

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