The 3 Recruiting Channels That Deliver the Best Candidates

Where are you looking for your candidates? And which channels are bringing you the highest quality recruits? We asked more than 450 HR professionals globally which channels they were using and which ones delivered the highest quality candidates.

Companies who participated in the 2015 McQuaig Global Talent Recruitment Survey are using, on average, four channels to source candidates as part of their recruitment strategies. The top four being: employee referrals, online job boards, social networking sites, and their corporate website.

Most companies are seeing good results from employee referrals and the majority of companies say they are using this channel. Other research I’ve seen suggests that 69% of companies have a formal employee referral program in place.

The top three recruiting channels in terms of delivering quality candidates are:

  1.        Employee referrals
  2.        Agencies
  3.        Online Job Boards

When we look at just those companies who told us they’re having an easier time finding talent year-over-year, we call them Winners in our report, the results are a little different.  Our Winners’ group are much heavier users of employee referrals (94%). They also rank social media as their 2nd most effective channel (twice as high as companies that are struggling) right behind employee referrals. Their top three channels for effectiveness are:

  1.        Employee referrals
  2.        Social networking sites
  3.        Online Job Boards

Successful companies twice as likely to get good candidates from social media.

Top Social Recruitment Strategies

Social recruiting is constantly growing in popularity and buzz. In our survey, 76% of respondents said they were using social media as one of their recruiting channels (81% of companies in our Winners group). Digging a little deeper, we asked those who are using social media to recruit, how they’re using it. 


Use of LinkedIn, for either candidate search or job posting, topped the list for how companies are using social media. We found that usage was highest for LinkedIn in the US, where 84% were posting jobs there and 71% were searching for candidates; but in the UK and Europe those numbers fell to 54% and 42%. And use of social media in general was higher in the US and Canada.

Only ¼ (26%) are using employees as brand ambassadors and tapping into their social networks. This is one of the key reasons that so many companies just aren’t seeing results from social recruiting. To effectively engage passive candidates (and most high-potentials are passive) companies need to enlist their employees in carrying the employer brand message to their networks.`

Only ¼ of companies are tapping into employees to help as brand ambassadors in social recruiting.