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Job Recruitment Methods

 This section identifies 17 traditional job recruitment methods - all require a different way of approaching the employer face to face and and use different types of job application writing methods.

 While the explosive growth of the internet has created an unprecedented access to thousands of jobs, there may be an over reliance on using only online job search via internet job boards or job sites such as Seek, CareerOne, Jobsjobsjobs,  and Monster (USA) for example, where there is a lot of competition. Nevertheless online job search is increasingly has become the primary way jobseekers look for work. 

However, job seekers may be missing out on Employment and Career Opportunities in Australia by not looking for work outside cyberspace where there is less competition.

The advantages and disadvantages of both traditional and online recruitment methods are discussed here and in Where to Find a Job

Understanding how employers recruit can help you in your job search and open up  avenues you had not thought of.

17 Traditional Recruitment Methods

1. Written job application in response to an advertised position - directly to the company.

This is the most common method of recruiting. Many people still seem to think that a written application means a hand written application.  If a company does want a handwritten letter they will say so. Go to Letter writing guide and also see an example of an advertised position and how to set out a letter. See also advanced information on how to apply for an advertised job at Application Letter - Advertised Job

 2. Written job applications to recruitment / employment agencies

Treat this as the same as a letter to an employer, however, refer to the employer as “Your client” as they are a second party in this process. 

See Application Letter - Advertised Job

 3. Registering with a Job Recruitment / Employment Agencies

Job Recruitment / Employment Agencies are an effective recruitment tool. Agencies advertise a position on behalf of the employer and conduct the interview to short list stage. This could be a pool or the best 3-4 applicants.

Recruitment agencies may specialise in in one industry or occupation. 

 In Australia it is illegal for applicants to pay a recruitment agency to find a job. The employer pays the fee and there is a trial period. Recruitment Agencies do not get full payment until the end of the trial period, so they are very selective and good job references are one of the most important job criteria.

  • This job search strategy requires less work and allows you to access to job opportunities you might not have found on your own.

  • Recruitment or employment agencies specialise only in recruitment.

  • They generally deal with high demand jobs and often specialise in job areas such as IT, accountancy and administration.

  • The recruitment screening standard is high.

Generally Recruitment / Employment Agencies tend to advertise most positions in the newspaper and through internet job boards or websites such as Seek and CareerOne (Australia), and Monster (USA).  However, if you register personally with these agencies and present well, with clear employment goals, you may be matched to a job through their electronic job vacancy database. This is why it is so important to have an electronically friendly resume, showing key words that don’t get altered in the scanning process. 

 Once the jobseeker registers with an agency, they can ring the company if they see a job they are interested in, and advise them that they have been interviewed and that their details are on file. 

Recruitment processes vary. Before you decide to register with a specific employment or recruitment agency, phone them first and check their minimum employment requirements. This may be a car licence, typing speed, computer knowledge or other specific job criteria.  Ask if you can send in your resume. If so, send a cover letter setting out clearly you employment needs and credentials and ask for an interview. The recruitment screening standard is high and your application and resume must also be high.

The disadvantage of this recruitment method is that the agency is working for the employer, and will need to satisfy all their criteria. 

Nevertheless, Recruitment Consultants who have developed a good rapport with a client may ask an employer to look at a "wildcard' - a person who may not meet all the criteria, but has potential.

You can test your typing speed through employment agencies.

4. Registering with a Job Search Firm

These are more exclusive employment agencies at the top end of the market - mainly executive recruitment.  As part of their hiring strategy Recruitment Consultants headhunt applicants from other firms on behalf of their clients. They often do career transition programmes for retrenched workers on behalf of companies. Expect some type of psychological screening test.

 5. Labour Hire Companies

Labour hire companies have companies generally meet short to medium term labour hiring needs in the blue collar job categories.  Workers are contracted out and labour hire companies pay all insurance etc.

 This was once a smaller section of the recruitment market. With the change in Industrial laws and recruitment patterns, business rationalisation and cost cutting, plus the range of work these companies receive, they are becoming a more attractive and popular recruitment method and contracts can be on-going. Some tips for using these agencies:-

  • Hourly rate will vary as the company take a proportion -so check around.

  • You need to fill out an application form and supply good referees. Make sure you take your resume with you to copy from. The agency may also keep your resume on file.

  • They generally want people with current driver's licences.

  • They will want your tax number before they can register you.

  • You must have a valid working visa

Jobseekers should ensure that the agency covers insurance, and only use reputable companies. Since Industrial law changes some labour hire companies have come under fire regarding workplace legislative requirements. This may change in the future under proposed new government industrial relations initiatives.

6. Temporary Staff Recruitment / Employment Agencies

This should be a popular recruitment method yet many job seekers feel it is too insecure. These agencies can make arrangements to transfer an employee to the company full time if required (at a fee to employer). Often companies use agencies to 'trial employees' as they do not have to deal with Industrial relations issues. Points to consider:-

  • Many people have been placed in good permanent jobs after proving themselves.

  • Often the company will make the approach to the agency to employ the temporary staff member full time.  It is all about "fitting in" with the company's organisational culture. Usually this arrangement is considered a 'perfect match' for both the employer and employee. 

  • Temporary agencies are very selective in their recruitment. jobseekers will have to do a range of work related tests. 

  • jobseekers may need to establish themselves and build credibility with an agency to be selected for some of the better positions.

  •  A wise jobseeker would take any assignment and use these placements to build a good employment profile.

  • Some unemployed people are afraid of the security of accepting temporary assignments. If they have good skills they should not be deterred by going down this path.

7. Group recruitment requiring telephone interviews

This recruitment method is used by employment agencies on behalf of a client and some Government Departments to short list candidates from a large pool. For example, through public service tests or the opening of a new company and in Government the introduction of a new policy initiative or increase in budget for new substantive positions). Potential employees will be given a time when someone will ring them and they will have to answer a series of questions.  The company will generally send an information package showing them what to expect.  Some facts:-

  • Telephone interviewing for group recruitment can often screen out good candidates. Applicants must prepare carefully for these interviews.

  • The interviewer will have a script so that everyone is asked the same questions.

  • The interviewer will use a ratings matrix and will give the applicant a value, or a mark. This will determine if they have passed the screening process to go on to an interview.

  • The interviewer needs to be very experienced to be able to evaluate answers at the same time as asking questions and may miss a potential match

This is a pretty hard job so the applicant needs to make it easy for the interviewer, or they may be unfairly rated. Answers need to be constructed almost the same as in selection criteria writing using processes used to make a decision. Pro-Active Human Resource Management can offer a tutorial in this area. Contact us  

8. Group recruitment - information sessions

If a company is doing group recruitment they may ask you to attend an information session if you pass the telephone interview. They may do recruitment testing or simply get you to play silly games meant as a recruitment assessment technique. I can only say "good luck". An arsenal of psychology tests are available for use, the main one is to find out if candidates are team players. If a jobseeker is attending these interview days I recommend reading up on assessment tests such as team building. Many recruitment agencies are staffed by people with psychology degrees, and use these tests as they look impressive and costly and they need to justify their qualifications. 

Other recruitment practitioners from the Human Resource Management stream, including academics, do not believe they have much validity.  It is a much debated topic. You can manipulate these tests as most are visual. Google “psychological testing", "psychometric testing" or recruitment or team building assessment tests, for example.

see Career support services for more information on carer tests

 9. Telephone or screening interviews

A warning about unscheduled screening calls in response to written applications or phone applications.

A screening interview may be conducted legitimately by a government agency or a new company who are bulk recruiting as already discussed and you will be advised in advance when this is to take place. (see above)

There is another type of screening interview that the jobseeker may not realise is happening.  An employer, (and also an employment agency/recruitment firm) may ring the jobseeker to talk or "chat" about their applicationThis is really telephone interviewing.  Consider this as an important screening interview. From this contact you will either be put on a shortlist for a face-to-face interview, or your application will be discarded. So if a company/agency phones you to talk about your application make sure you know what job they are referring to. Don’t be afraid to question them and to ensure you know the job and the requirements. 

  • If you are not ready to focus on a screening interview ask if you can call them in 10-15 minutes.

  • Ensure they know you want to speak to them but you need to refresh your memory. You can say that you have several jobs you have applied for and you want to be able to refresh your memory about their requirements. 

  • Look at the job and your application again and ring them back.

  • So you can see the need to answer the telephone professionally at all times and keep good records of your job search activities.

 10. Applying for jobs requiring selection criteria

If an advertisement states that you should send for the selection criteria you can be confident that it is a Government or Statutory Authority position or an agency funded by the Government.  If you have any doubts about your suitably you should ring the contact person to check it out. The package they send out will tell you how to set out and write the application.  This is very difficult if you haven’t done it before. It must be done correctly or they will not, and cannot, look at your application under State and Federal Legislation. Although Pro-Active Human Resource Management does not generally advertise this service, we do, however, offer a service to polish up your application.

For comprehensive information on how selection criteria is used see Selection Criteria before you even look at this method. Note: Graduate recruitment comes under this category, and the standard of job applications is getter higher, but could improve.

11. Phone application in response to an advertised position 

Generally this recruitment method used by smaller companies. If you are asked to phone (as opposed to submitting a written application) you must do so immediately. You will probably be screened by the receptionist who may take job and personal details. They will tell you that the employer will ring you back. This is a hit and miss method of recruitment and used by many smaller companies and very frustrating for job seekers. (See screening interviews)

 12. Applications by e-mail to recruitment websites or job boards

The two most well-known examples of a job bank are Seek and CareerOne (Australia) and Monster but other job boards are increasing at a rapid rate such as Jobsjobsjobs (Australia), an American company that is expanding rapidly. When you use these job boards ensure you use the method if the employer requests.  In today’s world everyone is afraid of viruses and will delete any messages they cannot recognise. Make sure that the subject line states that it is an advertised position and give the position title. Follow the employer’s directions.

 13. Accepting applications from job seekers cold calling

In the past smaller employers were impressed by the applicant who cold called, by visiting the company and leaving their resume. (from my personal experience as a Consultant).  Research confirms a view that has been held for a long time, that job seekers who cold call are considered to be highly motivated with a lot of initiative and confidence and really wanted to work. The extensive use of the internet for looking for work may have changed this view somewhat, and this is because it is not being done correctly.

 The attitude to cold calling may change and can be spam if you do not do it correctly. All cold calling letters that come to this office can be classified as spam, albeit they are not filtered by the ISP unless they are using an internet provider with a bad reputation. They are thoughtless, meaningless letters that show how lazy and uninformed the applicant is. They deserve to be ignored and deleted. If you really want to cold call do it properly. --->  How to cold call

 14. Industry/Corporate Websites

A good example is mining companies and larger organisations.  Most have vacancies advertised on their site. So do your See Market Research Use the search box below. 

15. Job Network (Australia)

If you are receiving unemployment benefits in Australia you will know all about job network. Private companies and community based organisations (and some private companies) are paid by the Federal Government to help place unemployed customers/clients. 

  However, many agencies will take private recruitment contracts for higher level positions and you do not need to be registered and receiving benefits to use this service.  Job Network generally operates at the mid -lower skill level, although there are some surprisingly good jobs that come, depending on where you live.  Refer to Job network and check out your local agency. In the current economic climate the use of these agencies may increase, as they are free to the employer.

 16. Employee referral

This method of recruitment occurs more often than you may think and can be a traditional method of employment for many companies. The advantage is that an employee would not recommend someone they know that is not up to the job as it reflects back on them.  Used more in USA than Australia. It was  first tried as a traditional recruitment method by American Express over  30 years ago.

 17. Networking

This is a very good job finding technique and is covered separately. How to find a job through networking  and How to develop a networking plan.

Try a combination of contacts methods

The best approach is to try about a dozen contacts in each of the categories and find out which ones are giving you the most leads and best contacts.  Don’t waste time on areas where you are not getting results.



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Job search book for older workers

If you are an older worker and have just been retrenched you are probably new to current methods of job search and job application writing. Let face it, older  workers need additional help and this book provides you with some excellent strategies


7 Step Recruitment Kit

Choose the kit suitable for your business needs.

Watch the Video to see what you will get in this very inexpensive kit



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