With the job description created, you’ll need to decide where’s the best place, and what’s the most suitable method, to advertise a role and attract candidates. The following tables list the pros and cons of internet recruiting, public and private sector agencies (including recruitment agencies), search consultants, press advertising, referrals, social networks, unsolicited applications and apprenticeships.

Online job boards and websites

General job boards (such as monster.co.uk) can be particularly useful for organisations without a strong employer brand that may be unlikely to attract candidates directly to their website. Many organisations, large and small, already have a dedicated ‘vacancies’ section on their websites.

table: advantages and disadvantages to private sector agencies

Recruitment agencies

Private sector agencies that provide temporary and permanent placements.

table: advantages and disadvantages to recruitment agencies

Search consultants

Search consultants (or ‘headhunters’) may be employed when a vacancy is not to become public knowledge, usually where the post is very senior and/or there may be market sensitivities.

table: Pro and con or search consultants

Press advertising

Specialist/trade journals, national and local newspapers are still valid methods of recruitment: people with specialist skills often look for vacancies in the relevant professional journal first, which are increasingly likely to have an online presence besides a printed edition. Recruitment agencies can often negotiate special rates with media groups.

table: pros and cons of press ads

Professional referral schemes

Also known as co-optation or internal referrals, professional referral schemes were rated more effective when filling managerial roles, according to the CIPD’s Resourcing and Talent Planning 2015 survey report.

table: pros and cons of professional referral schemes

Universal Jobmatch

Employers need to have a Government Gateway ID (available via www.gov.uk/advertise-job) to advertise a job, search for jobseekers with a matching CV and skills, and select the candidates you would like to apply. 

table: universal job match

Recruitment events

These can range from face-to-face fairs, often at universities and colleges to open days or webchats, where potential applicants can ask questions online.

table: recruitment events

Social networks

Professional networks such as LinkedIn have seen a steady rise in the number of organisations using them for recruitment, reflecting the rise of online recruitment. The Randstad Employer Brand Research revealed that 39% of candidates use social media to find their next job, with Facebook and LinkedIn the two most-used networks.

table: social networks

Unsolicited applications

The better known a company, the more likely it is to receive speculative letters from jobseekers. To develop a reputation as an ethical recruiter/employer with a strong employer brand, it’s important to establish a process for reviewing and responding to these applications in an efficient and professional manner.

table: unsolicited applications


Among employers, 75% say that recruiting through apprenticeships has helped lower their recruitment costs. The number of organisations offering apprenticeships is on the increase, largely thanks to government initiatives in this area, such as the National Apprenticeship Service, and measures to raise the profile of apprenticeships among employers and young people, such as Get In Go Far (https://www.getingofar.gov.uk/employers). This combines with a growing appreciation by employers of the value of training and developing their future workforce, and an awareness of the employee brand benefit. The government’s Apprenticeship Levy came into force in April 2017 to help create 3 million new apprentices by 2020. See also "apprenticeships".

table: apprenticeships