4imprint, LLC

| Updated: November 13, 2020



Recruiting awesome employees is always a challenge. But with unemployment at a nearly 50-year low, finding, interviewing and hiring staff has become more competitive than it has been in decades. This e-book examines trends in recruiting and interviewing and offers tips for employee recruitment giveaways that will help you find your next stand-out staff member.

To get a better grasp on the job interview process in the United States, 4imprint surveyed HR professionals across the United States at a human resources conference and via an online survey. Data was collected in October and November 2018.

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Learn which recruiting strategies work.

Low unemployment is a wonderful thing. It means the economy is thriving and business is booming. For HR professionals, the thriving economy and low unemployment rates mean employers need to be at the top of their game when it comes to attracting new team members.

To see how organizations are finding success with recruiting, we surveyed hundreds of HR professionals across the country. This e-book is the result of our deep dive into that data.

In the pages that follow, you’ll learn how traditional and digital recruitment channels compare. You’ll also find how culture, education and experience are used by HR pros to assess candidate fit—and which of those they believe is the most effective predictor of success.

And, we share how employers are using promotional products to take their recruitment to the next level.

We hope this e-book helps you in recruiting your next great employee.

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

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Survey results: Who are our respondents?

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The respondents were part of the following industries:

  • 35.2% OTHER
  • 9.8% EDUCATION
  • 7.6% NONPROFIT

The organizations ranged in size from fewer than 10 employees to more than 5,000.

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Exploring the recruitment and interview process

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On the hunt: Top recruitment tactics

Even as the world becomes a more digital place, companies are still recruiting employees with a variety of online and offline methods.

Online methods:

  • Online job boards (Indeed®, Career Builder®, etc.) 78%
  • Online recruiting platforms (LinkedIn®, Recruiter, etc.) 60%
  • Organic social media posts (Facebook®, LinkedIn®, Twitter®, etc.) 52%

Offline methods:

  • Employee referral programs 65%
  • Job fairs 65%
  • In-person networking events 41%
  • Recruiting agencies 33%
  • Print publications 31%

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

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Recruitment methods that work

HR pros say the most popular recruitment methods are also the most effective. In fact, survey respondents said employee referral programs are more effective than any other two methods combined.

Most successful recruitment methods:

  • 38% Employee referral programs
  • 10% Online recruiting platforms
  • 22% Online job boards
  • 9% Job fairs

Data on this page shows the top four responses from survey respondents.

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Inspecting how interviews are conducted

Most interviews are performed one-on-one, rather than with a group, according to survey respondents:

  • 79% In-person one-on-one
  • 64% Phone one-on-one
  • 54% In-person group
  • 20% Phone group

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

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Beyond the interview

Some employers use additional assessments in the interview process.

  • 1 in 5 use personality assessments
  • 1 in 9 use cultural assessments
  • 1 in 25 use homework assignments

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Who’s at the interview table

Human resources representatives and managers are most likely to be involved in the interview process, according to survey respondents, while co-workers and teammates are only involved about one-third of the time.

Interview-process participants:

  • 81% Human resources representatives
  • 69% Manager for the role
  • 58% Manager’s manager or department leader
  • 37% Co-workers/teammates
  • 15% Direct reports

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

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Training the team

Most companies take time to train HR associates and managers on interviewing.

  • 77% of the time, that training is provided by HR.
  • 58% of companies provide training.

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What makes a great team member?

Qualifications and work experience are the two most evaluated attributes during the interview process. Cultural fit is considered the most important attribute.

  • Qualifications Evaluated 84% Valued 21%
  • Work Experience Evaluated 84% Valued 21%
  • Cultural Fit Evaluated 75% Valued 44%
  • Willingness to Learn Evaluated 69% Valued 11%
  • Education Evaluated 61% Valued 6%

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Employee recruitment giveaways

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Using employee recruitment giveaways

Recruitment giveaways are most often used at the beginning and end of the interview process, with the majority of giveaways offered during job fairs and on the employee’s first day.

  • 66% Job fairs
  • 47% On the candidates first day of employment
  • 38% Networking
  • 14% When the candidate accepts an offer
  • 9% Before/during/after an in-person interview
  • 8% As part of employee referral programs

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

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Ideas you can use: Employee recruitment giveaways

  • Pens page 17
  • Journals and notebooks page 21
  • Apparel page 25
  • Totes and bags page 19
  • Drinkware page 23

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Promotional pens draw in employees

  • 61% of organizations use logoed pens for the recruiting or interview process, which makes pens the most popular employee recruitment giveaways.

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TIP: People love (and keep) practical promotional products—like pens! They can serve as an alternate
business card during a networking event.


#136785 Nolan Stylus Metal Flashlight Phone Stand Pen. “Smooth writing pen. Great product.” Donna from Clover

#123303 Wave Pen. Rubber grip adds comfort to their writing experience.

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Branded bags help you carry employees through the interview process

  • 1 out of 3 organizations surveyed offer custom tote bags during the hiring process.

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TIP: At job fairs, bags turn potential employees into billboards that help you find more potential employees!

#1972 Cotton Sheeting Colored Economy Tote. Bags make a great job fair giveaway!

#104773 Square Tote. “Logo came out awesome! All my coworkers love the bag. Thank you!” Jessica Thonotosassa

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Noteworthy Journals

  • Almost 1 in 10 organizations found that branded notebooks and journals were effective for recruitment.

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TIP: Journals offer recruits the opportunity to jot down notes and questions during the interview process.

#102314 Spin Doctor Jotter. “The Jotter is a great product. The quality is very good and it really looked sharp with our logo.” Vincent from Summit

#135075 Luigi Notebook with Pen. Your audience will be ready to write with this high-end journal and pen set.

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Toast a new hire!

  • More than 1/3 of all organizations use branded drinkware for the recruitment and interview process.

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Drinkware is a fun gift for new employees that lets you say, “Welcome to the team!” when someone accepts your job offer.

#126434 h2go® Force Vacuum Bottle. “Great color and functionality. Our employees are very happy!” Jennifer from Auburn

#150857 CamelBak® Eddy+ Tritan® Bottle.

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Apparel welcomes new employees to the team

Logoed apparel is considered the most effective promotional product for recruitment.

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TIP: Offering an employee logoed apparel on their first day can make them feel like they’re already part of the team.

#100167 Moisture Management Polo with Stain Release. “Very well made and the embroidery was beautiful. Very happy with this shirt.” Lydia from Ocala

#130685 Sport Stretch Performance Jacket.

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Promotional products add the finishing touch to your recruitment experience.

Employee recruitment giveaways can serve as an introduction at a job fair, a congratulatory gift for getting the job and so much more. In this tight labor market, they can help set your organization apart. And that’s one important key to landing top talent!

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Share your favorite employee recruiting giveaways!

Do you have a favorite employee recruiting giveaway that has helped you find your incredible staff? Share your tips with us! Email 4ideas@4imprint.com with photos and your recruiting success story.

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Read Less

Looking for ways to headhunt your next great hire? Our e-book discusses new research on hiring trends for recruiting, interviewing and hiring top talent.