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External Sources of Recruitment

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Businesses compete for the best talent in the industry. For every hire, there lies a choice between internal placement or getting a candidate from the industry. Talent acquisition teams must choose between internal and external sources of recruitment 

The difference between the two is that one relies on the internal talent pool, while the other builds diversity. As cofounder of Alibaba, Jack Ma once remarked, “…When the team is a bunch of scientists, it is best to have a peasant lead the way… It is easier to win if you have people seeing things from different perspectives.” 

This inherent benefit of adding diversity of thought makes external sources of recruitment a priority for hiring professionals. We put this post together to inform you of the options you have as a recruiter if you are evaluating external sources of recruitment. 

Definition of External Sources of Recruitment 

HR teams look at sources of external recruitment when there is need for a larger spectrum of talent beyond the current perimeter of the organization. Access to potential employees armed with unique skillsets makes external recruitment an effective means to scout for profiles with niche skills, especially managerial and technical positions. 

For the process to be effective, there must be a delicate balance between internal and external sources of recruitment. This is influenced by necessary skills, management policies, and the existing talent pool. Looking externally is difficult but there are challenges to relying on internal recruitment as well. 

According to a McKinsey study, approximately 40 percent of employees are looking to quit their jobs in the short term. In India, that share is far higher at 60 percent. The growing rate of potential attrition makes external recruitment a preferred choice. 

That said, external recruitment can also be a time-consuming process. It requires investment and time. Yet, the resulting value addition to the business far outweighs the expenses.

Advantages of External Sources of Recruitment

external recruitment advantages

Let us take a closer look at the advantages of external recruitment. 

1. Wide Choice

External recruitment methods empower recruitment teams with the ability to select candidates from a much larger pool of talent. Besides, the pool being considered can also be revised considering immediate business and hiring priorities.  

In a Deloitte report, Anish Singh, Head of HR, Unilever Australia and New Zealand is quoted as saying, “We’re beginning to think about each role at Unilever as a collection of skills, rather than simply a job title.” This industry trend of approaching talent as a collection of skills makes diversity a must-have for organizations.  

2. Infusing Freshness into the system

Bringing in new talent from the external world with specialized skills and experiences helps breathe new life into your workforce. Bringing in fresh blood can function as a catalyst to boost creative thinking thereby injecting vitality into your organization. 

Jay Shankar, VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Amazon Web Services asks one pertinent question while hiring external talent: “What is the most innovative thing you have ever done?” In fact, this principle “Invent and Simplify” is a core pillar among Amazon’s leadership principles. The company believes leaders must be externally aware and look for ideas everywhere and not be limited with internal inventions. That is the guiding principle behind opting for external recruitment. 

3. Motivational Force

Tweaking the hiring process to ensure a competitive work atmosphere can be a powerful motivational tool for your internal employees. An infusion of competition by hiring new talent helps build a motivational team. 

4. Long-Term Benefits

Implementing external recruitment sources does pay off in the long term. With talented individuals joining the ranks in an ongoing manner, there is a continuous flow of innovative ideas. Besides, the increased motivation and competitive spirit ensures that growth and rewards follow. These methods of external recruitment can prove to be an investment for the future.  

Disadvantages of External Sources of Recruitment 

external recruitment disadvantages

Despite all the benefits with external recruitment sources, the journey will seem complex. When you implement external sources of recruitment, you are likely to experience the following pain points.  

1. Higher costs 

Hiring externally does involve significant costs associated with advertising, screening (including time of senior leaders to assess potential hires), and testing candidates. Despite all the costs involved, the return on investment often justifies the expenditure, as it fuels innovation and growth. 

2. Time-Consuming 

Unlike internal recruitment where the potential candidate for a job role is known within the system, external recruitment is not a swift process. It involves advertising position externally, screening applicants, and conducting assessments. In cases where suitable candidates are not readily available, the process might need to be repeated several times over. While it requires patience, the outcome is often worth the wait. 

3. Challenging 

As external candidates get hired for roles in place of talent available internally, it is common for long-serving employees to feel overlooked. External recruitment efforts also need to be balanced by recognizing the contribution of internal talent.  

It is crucial to maintain a motivated and engaged workforce. Communication and opportunities for growth are key to addressing this challenge. 

4. Uncertainty 

Although external recruitment can yield exceptional candidates, there is no guarantee that you will manage to find the perfect fit. There are risks involved. For instance, a candidate may check the right boxes with experience and qualifications but may just not be aligned with your organization’s culture. Implementing a robust onboarding and integration process can help smoothen the transition. 

Wrapping it Up:

In a nutshell, external sources of recruitment offer organizations the advantage of enhancing diversity and innovation, while bringing challenges like team conflicts and adapting to new practices at the forefront. Recruiters, thus, play a key role in balancing the use of internal and external sources to hire the best talent. Thus,  its the delicate balance between the benefits and challenges that define the success of external recruitment, shaping organization’s success and profitability in the long run.

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    Meet the author

    Keka Editorial Team

    A bunch of inspired, creative and ambitious youngsters- that’s Keka’s editorial team for you. We have a thirst to learn new subjects and curate diverse pieces for our readers. Our deep understanding and knowledge of Human Resources has enabled us to answer almost every question pertaining to this department. If not seen finding ways to simplify the HR world, they can be found striking conversations with anyone and everyone , petting dogs, obsessing over gadgets, or baking cakes.


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