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A comprehensive guide to the different types of recruitment

Recruitment | 6 Min Read

A comprehensive guide to the different types of recruitment


Globalization and technological advancement have empowered HR (Human Resources) professionals with myriad ways to succeed in the talent war. The types of recruitment today are innovative and versatile, ensuring higher efficiency in building highly competent workforces. From job portals to social media, modern methods of hiring remain one of the key differentiators of success. This guide dives deep into these methods to help you discover talent in cost-effective and impactful ways.


What are the different types of recruitment?

Experts use various categories to explain the different types of recruitment. While some types fall under the “internal hiring” category, others are more reliant on external sources. Moreover, with trends favoring the remote work culture, recruitment categories now include the offline and online types.

There are also non-traditional methods of hiring which can yield results because you never know where you will meet your next star performer.

Talented people don’t need to work for you; they have plenty of options.

Peter Thiel
Founder of PayPal and the author of the worldwide bestseller, Zero to One

Fixing the above problem is complex and requires a careful analysis of the several types of recruitment available. Though Thiel’s advice primarily targets startups, his assessment will touch a chord with hiring executives across the globe. It is a crucial task to find the right people to work for you. Moreover, once you find them, it is tough to convince them to join you. The key lies in discovering the hiring method that works most effectively for you.


Types of internal recruitment

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Internal recruitment is the process of identifying candidates within a company’s internal workforce who can step into new roles. It is an exceedingly popular source of upgrading the talent pool in any company. For example, promoting someone who is part of the organization can save the time and resources required to hire someone new.

Major types of internal recruitment include:


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Promotions are among the most common types of hiring internally. As people join the organization, they expect professional growth during their tenure. Similarly, organizations, as they grow, require trained hands to handle the rising responsibilities. Therefore, promotions are mutually beneficial:

  • They fulfil the employees’ ambition to contribute more to the company.
  • They enable organizations to fill vacant positions quickly.


Internal job postings

Every organization has professionals who do not necessarily want to leave but might be interested in migrating to other departments due to reasons like:


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Many times, employees are hesitant to ask Human Resources managers or their bosses for a different position in the company. It is also possible that employees have been training themselves for a job in higher ranks. That is why opening a portal for internal job postings can be very encouraging for healthy talent exchange/circulation among teams and departments. When an internal job posting occurs, the right talent tends to come forward and embrace the opportunity.



In large organizations, transfers across cities and states, even countries are common. Transfers entail moving employees to the same job or a similar professional level at a different branch/location of the company.

For employees, transfers or reassignments can be an excellent opportunity to hone their skills and expand their network.


Internal job postings

Many organizations offer a standardized incentive to employees who refer candidates to the company. This can be effective in prompting employees to identify suitable talent in their close network. Referrals have always been a prominent method of hiring and continue to be a key type of recruitment in creative industries.

The distinct types of internal recruitment possess a set of key advantages. They help speed up hiring processes thereby supporting time management.

Internal hiring can be a massive motivator for the workforce. As employees see their colleagues gain mobility within their organization, they realize the growth opportunities. They are likely to stay for longer as they feel assured that they will find promotions as well as exciting work profiles within the organization.

Besides, getting someone from the outside can sometimes backfire because a person who is professionally qualified and competent may turn out to be a misfit in the organization.


Types of external recruitment

Exploring the distinct types of external recruitment is necessary for fast-growing companies. It is also the most sought-after option among hiring processes. As companies are growing fast, they need people who will support and boost that growth. External hiring is also vital because it is always a great idea to absorb notable talent wherever you find it.

The major types of external recruitment include:


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All companies use job portals to post their labor requirements. This type of hiring has been one of the most effective options for connecting employers and employees. Job portals serve as a useful database of resumes and are a welcome upgrade from newspaper job postings.

Job portals can also be designed to serve specific niches. For example, AngelList, which is a website that enables startup funding, has a section catering to job postings from startups.

To make postings effective, it is necessary to craft the job description carefully, or else one runs the risk of getting too many irrelevant resumes to filter through.

Campus hiring

One of the common types of hiring young talent is visiting college campuses. Big companies, as well as mid-size ones, visit reputed colleges and universities to recruit talent as per their requirements. An employer can choose a campus to visit based on a range of factors such as specialization, budget, and alumni performance.

While top corporations may prefer hiring from Ivy League schools like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, it is true that smart candidates exist irrespective of location/institution. For example, when we look at founders and CEOs (Chief Executive Officer), the Ivy League alumni are just one section of such people. In fact, only 11% of the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies come from Ivy League institutions.

Job fairs

Job fairs, also known as career fairs/expo, are an event bringing together employers, recruiters and educational institutes to help candidates carve thoughtful professional paths for themselves. They focus on hiring people for entry-level roles.


Hackathons are turning into an essential exercise in recruitment. When many candidates remain undiscovered gems in the interview process, a hackathon allows individuals of craft and expertise to come forward and display their skill sets and capacity for innovation.

Hackathons are conducted to recruit people from outside as well as within organizations. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft – all the major tech giants conduct hackathons, which shows how much the exercise has matured. Virtual hackathons are a growing trend and enables organizations to discover talent remotely. Overall, hackathons represent the fact that conducting a live project can help reticent candidates display their reservoir of talent.


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External hiring is an integral part of all types of recruitment. A company is always looking to fill in vacancies created due to attrition, as the era of employees staying in a company for decades is over. External hiring is also necessary because technology is changing products and services very quickly. Therefore, a company needs to find people who have learned new skills.

For example, strategy-consulting firms today would hire people from the tech startup industry now because the new giants that have emerged in the last decade are from this sector. A decade ago, strategy consulting had a vastly diverse workforce profile. Understanding the different types of external hiring can enable a recruitment choice that is right for the relevant roles.


Non-traditional hiring methods

There are many non-traditional methods of hiring. People can get hired because the employer met them on a bus or in a cab and liked their profile or their attitude toward work. Hiring can also be done from the pool of vendors and freelancers working for the company. While there are several non-traditional methods, here are two that are beginning to gain popularity.


Facebook and WhatsApp

It is now acceptable for jobseekers and recruiters to send out messages on Facebook or WhatsApp. A message sent to WhatsApp groups or a direct message can also help recruiters and hiring managers connect with talent from their pool of acquaintances. There are also cases of people reaching out beyond their network through Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and being successful at finding a job.


Training the existing workforce

Training your existing workforce is a powerful form of recruitment. As the team is already familiar with the culture and business of the company, it can grasp things faster and be prepared for new roles within the firm. It is common for successful companies to conduct formal training programs to prepare their workforce for other positions in the firm.

Training and upskilling the workforce can help strengthen employee loyalty, boost motivation and improve performance. Besides, a powerful L&D program also helps build efficient strategies in the following areas:

There is a plethora of methods to ensure effective hiring. The ones mentioned above are broadly the key types of recruitment. However, many more factors go into it. For example, the way companies hire a chief executive officer (CEO) could be quite different from the way they look for an entry-level employee. Effective hiring managers consider the different types of recruitment processes to find the best talent for the company.

Behind the success of the world’s best organizations is the process they use for finding and recruiting the right talent. And weighing the different types of recruitment gives us a sound perspective of the various hiring strategies. Depending on one’s workforce requirements, a company can choose one of the external or internal recruitment methods right for them.

The digital era continues to witness rapid changes in the efficacy of various hiring strategies. Thus, hiring managers must be vigilant about what works best at the time. Simultaneously, seeking expert advice and harnessing the power of technology can ensure success and innovation in their people processes.



The different types of recruitment can be categorized as internal or external, simply because a company either looks within to find a new employee or outside. Job postings, promotions, referrals and campus hiring are well-established recruitment processes. Hiring through LinkedIn, Facebook, hackathons and advanced recruitment software have taken over the HR world in a big way in the last few years.

The COVID-19 disruption has popularized new recruitment opportunities, as companies are now more open than ever for hiring people from other cities who will continue working remotely. However, the hiring process still requires expert intervention and holistic assessments because even finding people through LinkedIn is not as simple as it may seem. One of the best exercises is to take a strategic view of the different types of recruitment available today and proceed from there.


Originally published March 25 2022, Updated March 28 2022

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About This Topic

The primary objectives of recruitment and selection are to ensure high-quality candidates who are culturally fit and work toward shared organizational goals and vision.

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