How do recruiters find candidates?

How do recruiters find candidates?

The word recruiters use for ‘finding’  is ‘sourcing’.  Now we will explain the many ways that a good recruitment consultant sets out to find candidates for the client.  

You will also learn that starting to search for suitable candidates when a job becomes vacant is the hardest and least efficient way of going about this.


Many people think that recruitment agencies rely on advertising jobs to source candidates but, although advertising is effective for some positions – generally more junior ones – a good recruiter cannot rely on this strategy to find high quality talent. In reality sourcing the best talent means the recruiter has been developing relationships with potential candidates long before the client needs them. This explains why using a recruitment agency to source senior talent is usually much more effective than when an in-house recruiter does it.


Being creative and innovative is essential – as technologies add tools to the recruiter’s techniques so we have to change our ways of reaching people. A recruitment consultant’s network is the most valuable place to go to source candidates, because it has been built with the purpose of being the sourcing place for candidates. It takes time and effort to build and maintain it but it is the foundation of the consultant’s professional success.

A network is built by talking to people and growing relationships. This is the reason that Linked In is so misunderstood – it is not a replacement for a database, it is just another tool and it is only as useful as the network you have built on it.


So where do recruiters find candidates?

Whether they work for an agency or work for a company in Talent Acquisition, most recruiters use a combination of these techniques to find candidates:


All serious recruiters are active on Linked In – building their company’s employer brand, mapping the market, posting content and commenting on content as well as using the search tools to find potential employees.

Other social media

Despite its shortcomings, Facebook can be useful when you are sourcing for junior positions as Facebook posts reach a high proportion of young smartphone users.

Networking events

It sounds a little obvious but the best way to kick off a relationship with someone is to meet them! By attending business events and functions you build a network. Recruiters attend events with the goal of meeting people who may be potential employees for one of their clients.  Perhaps we don’t have a great job for everyone we meet today but we may well have a position for them in the future.


A referral is a suggestion which leads to an introduction to a person. Referrals can be the strongest channel for a good recruiter and even in the US where a range of other tools and techniques are available referrals or personal recommendations still probably accounts for 20-40% of new hires. The hard part of recruiting through referrals is that the candidates being referred are only as good as the supply chain. This means that this channel is limited by your network and your employees’ networks. The way to overcome this limitation is to go to a recruitment agency where the consultants spend their time building their database and networks with the goal of finding strong candidates.

A CV database

Today all serious recruiters have an ATS or Applicant Tracking System which is a piece of software which manages the recruitment process and effectively builds a database. Here at Top Recruitment Cambodia we have a huge database of candidates built up over many years. We have technology which helps us match candidates to positions our clients have open. Saying that, an ATS is just another tool for recruiters and the process still relies on building personal relationships.

Job Fairs

As we said before, starting relationships with a face-to-face meeting is a great idea. Organisations that need a steady supply of fresh graduates use job fairs as a place to make initial contact. It is an opportunity to promote the employer brand, pass out information on the company, present the team’s face to the world and at the same time quickly and efficiently gather a high number of CVs and have lots of preliminary meetings.

Temporary or Outsourced Hires

This is not yet common in the Cambodia market but in more developed markets employers reduce the risk of making a bad hire by using ‘agency staff’. This means that the agency supplies people under their own employment contracts. If staff supplied by the agency do not perform then they can quickly be replaced at no cost. If they perform well then they can move from being the agency’s employee to the organisation’s payroll. This ‘temporary to permanent’ agreement with an agency costs no more than using a recruitment agency and it removes all the risk from the organisation. It provides a buffer for the ups and downs of the business cycles so that you do not have to lay off any core staff during down times. Top Recruitment Cambodia offers this Temporary to Permanent Service.

The model works well in developed economies which are generally employer-driven (that is there are fewer jobs than qualified candidates to fill them). It only applies to junior and blue-collar jobs in economies like Cambodia, because those levels are employer driven. Semi-skilled, skilled and professional levels of the Cambodia employment market are employee driven – there are shortages of qualified candidates at those levels.

Recruitment Agencies

In Cambodia there is often misunderstanding about the role of a recruitment agency, but it is simplest if you look on using an agency as a way to outsource risk – the risk that you will not find the right candidate. Employers develop long-term relationships with recruitment agencies so that they can turn to the agency quickly when needed. An agency which has a strong relationship with you can also handle confidential recruitment – usually a search for a replacement when an organisation is planning to terminate an employee.

In the past many people in business felt the a recruitment agency ‘sells people’, a totally wrong way of looking at things. A recruitment agency sells service and the service is finding and selecting people who fit the client’s requirements.

A recruitment agency’s main responsibility is to source the best possible candidates for its clients and they compete with each-other on expertise and service. The agency you work with should have a history of recruitment experience in your sector as well as a reputation for good customer service. The consultants themselves should be people you feel comfortable working with who are open and straightforward to deal with and who clearly work hard to deliver good service.

A recruiter asks for as much information on your business as possible so that as they are meeting candidates who might be suitable for the job they can “sell” the role to them. This is important because many candidates an agency will talk to are passive. Because the agency recruitment consultants spend all their time and effort building a network of relationships the agency will have a huge database of candidates built up over many years so our clients can immediately tap into this resource.

The agency will go through the entire recruitment process for you – up to managing the job offer stage. This means that the process is taken out of your hands which leaves you free to do other work. In the end it is a question of allocating resources. Your own time and effort has a cost, if the cost of paying an agency for a particular piece of recruitment work is lower than the cost of your own time and effort and the risk of not finding the right candidate is higher if you do it yourself, then you should be using an agency for it.


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