After reading this article you will learn about the meaning and sources of recruitment of candidates.

Meaning of Recruitment:

In case of need for manpower, managers hire people by inviting applications from candidates to apply for the post. It is ensured that people applying for specific posts have skills required for that job. There is need, therefore, to ascertain job description and job specifications. Managers invite applications only from candidates qualified for the posts. The process of inviting applications is known as recruitment.

It is the “process of finding and attempting to attract job candidates who are capable of effectively filling job vacancies.”

After conducting job description and job specification, the required position is advertised to attract sufficient number of candidates suitable for the job.


The number should neither be too large nor small as:

a. Attracting too many candidates requires sorting out large number of applications which is time consuming and also costly, and

b. Attracting too few applicants limits the choice for the suitable candidate.

Recruitment is not selection or appointment. It is only application for a job out of which personnel manager selects the most qualified and suitable person whose job specifications match the job description.

Sources of Recruitment:


There are two sources of recruitment:

1. Internal sources and

2. External sources

1. Internal Sources of Recruitment:


It invites applications from people within the organisation. Applications are invited to promote people to higher posts (promotion) or transfer to other departments at the same level. A senior post in production department, for example, may be filled by juniors in the production department or surplus staff in the production department may be shifted to the sales department. Employees assume responsibilities of the same status in transfers and higher status in promotions.

Merits of internal recruitment:

Internal recruitment has the following merits:

(a) Motivation:


Since employees know that higher positions will be filled from within the organisation, they work hard to get promotions at higher posts.

(b) Recognition:

When internal candidates are considered for promotion, they gain social recognition amongst the organisational members.

(c) Familiarity with the organisational set up:


Candidates promoted from within the organisation are familiar with the organisation structure and know the organisation better than outsiders. Both organisation and employees know each other and need for orientation does not arise. It promotes socialisation and familiarity with people and procedures as people internal to the organisation take less time in socializing with the organisation.

(d) Costs:

Recruitment from within the organisation is less costly than recruitment through external sources. Organisations save money on inviting applications from outside through advertisements or other ways.

(e) Loyalty:


If candidates are considered from inside the organisation, it develops positive attitude amongst employees. They associate with the organisation and work with dedication and commitment. This promotes loyalty as employees envision a secured future in the organisation.

Limitations of internal recruitment:

Internal recruitment suffers from the following limitations:

(a) Limitation on the number of employees to be recruited:


Since recruitment is made from within, the number is restricted only to internal employees. People outside the organisation who may be more talented are not considered to serve the organisation.

(b) Promotes complacency:

Rather than employees being motivated to work, they may become complacent because they are sure of promotions by seniority. They may work according to old work schedules and not change their way of working.

(c) Conflict amongst workers:

Employees not considered for promotion may develop conflicts with those who are promoted. This reduces organisational efficiency.

(d) Dynamic organisations:


Organisations working in the dynamic environment where technological and competitive forces are fast changing, may not find suitable internal candidates to manage the higher positions. People recruited from outside may be more innovative and dynamic.

Outside people may bring new ideas to promote growth of the organisation. It also facilitates diversification as new brains can manage new businesses. Expenditure on recruiting people from outside may be less than training and developing expenses on employees who are promoted from within. Internal recruitment is suitable for organisations operating in a stable environment.

Sources of internal recruitment: Internal recruitment can be made from the following sources:

(a) Notice boards:

Vacancies are put on the notice board. Candidates can see them and apply for the posts.

(b) Circulars:


Information about vacancies is circulated through circulars.

(c) Personal contacts and references:

Applications can be invited through personal contacts and references.

2. External Sources of Recruitment:

When organisations recruit people from outside the organisation, it is called external recruitment. It is the “process of finding potential external candidates and encouraging them to apply for and/or be willing to accept organisational jobs that are open.” If internal candidates are not suitable to perform the jobs, external recruitment helps the organisation take benefit of new, young blood by allowing outsiders to take up the jobs.

Merits of external recruitment:


External recruitment has the following merits:

(a) Suitable for dynamic organisations:

Organisations responsive to changing environment get more innovative, dynamic and experienced employees from outside.

(b) Large pool:

External recruitment offers a large pool of candidates to choose from. Chances of appointing worthy candidates increase in external recruitment.

(c) Infusion of young blood:


Young, new and dynamic people can be appointed with innovative ideas. Though existing matured employees are more experienced, young blood is more challenging. They adopt new ways of learning without following the old routine better than the matured and experienced.

(d) Spirit of competition:

Recruitment from outside motivates internal candidates to compete with them. They work to perform better to compete for higher positions.

(e) Realistic job preview:

It is a “technique used during the recruiting process in which the job candidate is presented with a balanced view of both the positive and the negative aspects of the job and the organisation.” When employees apply for a job knowing its positive and negative aspects, they perform their jobs better.

Limitations of external recruitment:


The external recruitment suffers from the following limitations:

(a) Costly:

External recruitment is costlier than internal recruitment as it involves advertising, tests, interviews etc. Above all, the candidates may not maintain stability of tenure with the organisation. They leave the organisation when they find better jobs elsewhere.

(b) Dissatisfaction amongst internal candidates:

Internal candidates who are denied promotions feel dissatisfied which can affect productivity. This can also raise conflicts as internal employees may not readily socialize with external candidates.

(c) Orientation:

Organisations have to spend lot of time in orienting the employees towards the organisation structure. However, time is a constraint if the new employees do not understand the organisation’s working to contribute to output. Investment in time is an asset as it tunes employees to understand their job.

Sources of external recruitment:

External recruitment can be made from the following sources:

(a) Advertisements:

This is the most widely used source of external recruitment. Job vacancies are advertised in the newspapers, specifying the nature of job, type and number of people required, qualification and experience of applicants, their duties and responsibilities, method of application etc. Special reference can be made to provisions for overtime, travelling etc.

A mention can also be made for salaries (whether negotiable or not). Interested candidates read the advertisement and apply for the post. Companies have a wide range of advertisement media like magazines, journals, newspapers, television, radio etc. They can choose a medium they find most appropriate to them. Advertisement must be appealing as it projects the image of the company.

The contents and presentation of advertisement should enable the candidate to make a firm decision on whether or not he wants to apply for the job. However, advertisements bring huge number of applications. It involves lot of time in screening and taking action.

(b) Educational Institutions:

Many companies approach educational institutions (colleges, universities etc.) and recruit candidates to suit their requirements. This is known as campus recruitment. Companies generally hold group discussions and interviews to recruit candidates from educational institutes. Some institutions have placement cells linked to companies.

They help the students find jobs suitable to their qualification and knowledge. Companies get fresh but inexperienced candidates through this source. Some employers also fund the education of students in schools and colleges on the agreement that students will work for their companies after completing their studies.

(c) Employment Agencies:

These agencies have list of candidates with different qualifications and experience. Companies approach these agencies and get information about people who can fill their vacancies. These can be public employment agencies run by the Government and private employment agencies managed by private individuals and institutions. They charge fees for rendering services which may be lump-sump or percentage of salary of the job attached to the service.

Though this is a costly source of recruitment and also takes place outside the organisation over which it does not have much control in terms of implementation of recruitment policies, it has the following advantages:

i. The organisation does not have to advertise the vacant position.

ii. It saves considerable time which organisations can use for other productive activities.

iii. It provides specialised services to organisations which do not have specialised human resource/personnel department.

(d) Media:

Television and Radio sometimes announce lists of candidates with specific qualifications who are in need of jobs. Companies can approach the media and recruit people of their requirement.

(e) Professional Associations:

Companies that need professionals for top positions can approach professional associations (Institute of Engineers, All India Management Association etc.) and get a list of candidates with desired professional qualification. These associations charge high fees for providing recruitment services but provide candidates whose qualifications meet the organisation’s requirements. The benefits usually far outweigh the costs of recruitment paid to these specialised agencies.

(f) Word of mouth:

Sometimes, recruitments are made through word of mouth. Trade unions or employees give references of people interested in joining the enterprise. Managers select desired candidates to fill the job vacancy. Employees’ recommendation also helps in recruiting people at the lower level. Employees satisfied with their jobs also recommend their friends or relatives for vacant job positions. Employers also have the advantage of recruiting people through known sources.

(g) Casual applications:

Many candidates submit applications to companies with their resume in the hope to get a job there. Companies prepare a list of such candidates and recruit them whenever there arises a job vacancy.

(h) On-the-gate recruitment (Gate hiring):

Generally, for appointing blue collar workers (semi-skilled and unskilled) for temporary periods, companies put notices on the gate mentioning the period of vacancies and number of people required. Workers assemble at the gate on the specified date and time. Managers select suitable candidates out of them.

(i) Trade unions:

Trade unions have a list of workers which can be used for recruiting labour with varying degrees of skills (skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled). Unions are usually considered a trust worthy source of recruitment and it is believed they will recommend people who will be loyal to the company.

(j) Other organisations:

Some organisations have competent, qualified and skilled employees who may be interested in leaving their jobs to join other organisations which offer them better compensation packages. Organisations wanting such employees can attract them by offering suitable incentives.