There are three main ways to source candidates: advertising, agencies and networking.
Advertising is relatively inexpensive, especially online and in local press, and can be fairly well targeted on social media and specialist job boards. Writing the advert is crucial – get that wrong and you will not attract the right candidates. It is also likely to generate a lot of admin, responding to candidates and having to sift through both appropriate and inappropriate applicants. For generalist roles and other non-qualified roles it can be the best option, if you have the time and the patience.
Agencies should provide a much higher chance of success. If you choose the right consultant and brief them correctly, they should take away a lot of the leg work. However, if you don’t get the right consultant, or you fail to be 100% clear in your brief, then it could turn into a very painful process. Most recruiters are, due to the nature of their targets, sales people and will put their efforts into those assignments that offer their best chance of a fee in the short term. Unless you are very lucky, then all but the most mainstream recruitment will result in a short burst of effort and then a loss of interest. Typical agencies are expensive, but if you pick the right one then they will make hiring the right person a lot less time consuming.
Networking is potentially free, if you already have a strong local network. Likewise asking for referrals from your existing team, even if an incentive is offered, only costs a fraction of the price of traditional routes. You also have the facility to use LinkedIn or Facebook to search for appropriate candidates. To do this you need to make sure that your business looks good on Social Media and that your company ethos is strong. It can be a very rewarding way of recruiting, but it does require some expertise and a reasonable amount of time and patience. Without the safety net of an advert or an agency it can also have a detrimental effect on your brand, if not done properly.
Most companies opt to use a combination of the above either by design or as they run out of options. Cultivating a good relationship with a trusted recuritment consultant, having a strong profile on LinkedIn, getting editorials in the local press all help in the long run even if you need to use a more expensive option for quick hires. Setting out your recruitment strategy both in the short term and longer term will help you reap the rewards of all three methods.