4imprint, LLC


2019 recruiting trends

Canada edition



Hiring brings new skills and personalities to your team and helps you build products, services and relationships. For many organizations, finding key skill sets that are in high demand while dealing with changing unemployment rates can make attracting staff a challenge.

This e-book shares recruiting trends, comparing tactics organizations use with tactics that work best. Inside, you’ll also learn which hiring giveaways HR professionals are using during the hiring process, from introductory job fair giveaways to “You’re hired!” gifts for new employees.

It’s an all-in-one look at how Canadian HR pros hire—jam-packed with data and tips to help you find your next exceptional employee.


Hiring a great new staff member is the ultimate win-win situation.

When you add someone to your team, they get a new opportunity and your organization acquires a new set of skills.

But how do you go about locating the perfect hire?

In a tight labor market, you might be tempted to replace current tactics with new ideas—only to wonder whether they’ll work. To find out which practices hold the most promise, we surveyed hundreds of HR professionals across a variety of organization sizes and industry types.

The results contain a few surprises.

Simply put, the most commonly used tactics aren’t always the most  effective. And, the most effective aren’t always the most commonly used. That’s good news for leaders looking to amp their hiring game. And, it’s good news for anyone looking to land the next top hire.

Happy hiring!
Kevin Lyons-Tarr
CEO, 4imprint, Inc.



4imprint surveyed Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) Conference attendees in-person and other Canadian Human Resources professionals online. Data was collected January-March 2019.

Respondent industries

OTHER 33.9%

Recruitment strategies

Even as social media, job boards and other online recruiting methods become more popular, tried-and-true offline recruitment strategies, like employee referral programs, are still effective in finding employees.

Recruitment methods used

Online job boards (Indeed®, CareerBuilder®, etc.) 69%

Online recruiting platforms (LinkedIn® Recruiter, etc.) 64%

Employee referral programs 52%

Job fairs 42%

Organic social media posts (Facebook®, LinkedIn, Twitter®, etc.)36%

Recruiting agencies 36%

Networking events (in-person) 34%

Paid social media posts 27%

Print publications (newspapers, etc.) 16%

Totals may exceed 100% because respondents were asked to provide multiple answers.

Recruitment methods rated most successful

Online job boards (Indeed®, CareerBuilder®, etc.) 29%

Employee referral programs 26%

Online recruiting platforms (LinkedIn® Recruiter, etc.) 14%

Networking events (in-person) 7%

Job fairs 5%

Organic social media posts (Facebook®, LinkedIn, Twitter®, etc.) 3%

Recruiting agencies 4%

Paid social media posts 3%

Print publications (newspapers, etc.) 2%

Totals do not equal 100% because responses for “don’t know” and “other” are not shown.

Online job boards

Online job boards are the most frequently used recruitment method, with good reason. HR pros also rate them the most successful.

69% Use online job boards
29% Rate online job boards the most successful recruiting tool

Employee referral programs

HR pros say tapping your existing employee base helps bring new team members into your organization.

52% Use employee referral programs
26% Rate employee referral programs the most successful recruiting tool

Online recruiting platforms

Online recruiting platforms (LinkedIn® Recruiter, etc.) came in third among the most successful tools.

64% Use online recruiting platforms
14% Rate online recruiting platforms the most successful recruiting tool

Interview assessments

A survey of HR pros reveals that a wide range of assessments are used during the interview process to help evaluate candidates. While HR professionals assess a variety of attributes, they consider a few to be the most important when making a hiring decision.

Attributes assessed

85% Work experience

78% Qualifications

72% Professionalism/ presentation

68% Cultural fit

66% Education

60% Willingness to learn

Totals may exceed 100% because respondents were asked to provide multiple answers.

Most important attributes assessed

34% Cultural fit

22% Qualifications

14% Work experience

12% Willingness to learn

9% Professionalism/ presentation

7% Education

Totals do not equal 100% because responses of “Other” were removed.

Cultural fit

While cultural fit was the fourth most evaluated attribute, respondents consider it the most important attribute.
68% Evaluate cultural fit during the interview process
34% Consider cultural fit the most important attribute evaluated during the interview process


According to HR pros, qualifications come in #2 among attributes assessed and attributes identified as the most important.
22% Consider qualifications as the most important attribute evaluated during the interview process
78% Evaluate qualifications during the interview process

Work experience

85% of HR pros say they evaluate work experience as part of their interview. But few rate work experience as their top interview assessment.
85%  Evaluate experience during the interview process
14% Consider work experience to be the most important attribute evaluated during the interview process

Willingness to learn

Two-thirds of organizations look for willingness to learn during the interview process, but just one in ten consider it the most important attribute in an employee.

12% Consider willingness to learn the most important attribute evaluated during the interview process
60% Evaluate willingness to learn during the interview process


Employee recruitment giveaways

Promo items are most often used as job fair giveaways and gifts for new employees, with some organizations also using them during the
interview process.

Top uses

During the hiring process, promotional products are most commonly used for:

46% Job fairs

41% Networking events

38% First day of work

Ideas you can use

Top 5 employee recruitment giveaways, according to HR pros
#1 Pens

#2 Journals and notebooks

#3 Drinkware

#4 Apparel

#5 Totes and bags


#1 Promotional pens draw a line from recruits to hires

More than half of the HR pros surveyed use branded pens during the interview process.


Pens are ideal because they are small enough to keep with you and functional enough for daily use. A perfect combination.

#C145469, Incline Soft Touch Stylus Metal Pen

#C111049 Abyss Metal Pen


#2 Noteworthy Journals

HR pros rate notebooks and journals the second most effective recruitment giveaway item.


Pack a one-two hiring punch by pairing promotional pens and promotional notebooks together to make a memorable impression on candidates and new hires!

#C136825 Tonga Notebook Set

#C133180 Mercury Notebook with Stylus Pen


#3 Raise a glass to your newest employee!

More than 1 in 3 HR pros say their organizations use branded drinkware during the hiring process.


Use logo drinkware to catch attention at a recruitment table, quench an interviewee’s thirst or introduce new hires to the office coffee pot.

#C141199 Duo-Tone Bistro Ceramic Mug

#C143771 Refresh™ Simplex Tumbler with Straw


#4 Apparel welcomes new employees to the team

Nearly 1 in 3 HR pros say their organizations use branded apparel during the recruitment and hiring process.


Give new hires logo apparel to help them immediately feel like part of the team.

#C136205 Crossland® Microfleece Jacket

#C123894 Gildan® Heavy Cotton T-Shirt


#5 Branded bags bring recruits to your door

During the hiring process, just over 1 in 4 HR pros say they use branded bags.


Offering branded bags to potential employees is a great way to put your brand in front of other potential recruits.

#C9812 Two-Tone Tote Bag

#C143409 Etched Pocket Drawstring Sportpack


You’re hired!

Recruitment giveaways are a great way to greet potential employees at a job fair, first interview or first-day orientation. Doing so gives future team members a fun, tangible way to remember your organization. And, it increases the likelihood you can use your favourite phrase: “You’re hired!” Happy hiring!

Share your favourite employee recruiting giveaways!

Do you have a favourite job fair giveaway or gift for new employees that allowed you to expand your employee roster?
Share your ideas with us! Email 4ideas@4imprint.ca with photos and your recruiting success story.

Read Less

Find hiring help by reading our e-book. Inside, HR professionals describe the latest recruiting trends and share interview and hiring approaches that work.

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