Police Officer Recruitment: Digital vs. Traditional Recruiting

When planning police officer recruitment, it’s essential to budget for both internal and external costs. What exactly do we mean by this?

With over 16 years of experience in private sector recruiting, we have seen first hand what police departments nationwide are challenged with. It’s no longer just taking your recruiting budget to attend job fairs and events to scout the perfect candidate. Departments across the nation are all pulling from the same pool of potential candidates and doing the same type of traditional advertising to find them. 

So, how do you stand out and attract quality recruits? Are you solely focusing on traditional recruiting efforts or do you have a strategic online law enforcement recruiting strategy that is reaching diverse, qualified candidates? Strategically modernizing police recruiting efforts in today’s digital world generates more qualified applicants.

Traditional recruiting efforts are effective, but don’t have the capabilities to reach a large number of people. Billboards are local, job fairs are small and your officers’ time is so valuable. That being said, let’s break down digital vs. traditional recruiting and what is best for your department.

Police officer recruitment

then: Traditional Recruiting

Job fairs at near by colleges, billboards, news advertisements, radio, TV… does this sound familiar? These traditional recruiting efforts are not only challenging to track effectiveness and ROI, they are more expensive than alternatives. 

When you consider the benefits and takeaways of a job fair, of course the face-to-face interactions with potential candidates goes a long way in building rapport and trust. This type of recruiting is valuable, however, the time law enforcement agencies have is limited. Plus, not all attendees are interested in law enforcement careers. There’s a limited amount of time and potential candidates. Additionally, job fairs take hours away from police officers. Recruitment costs add up when time, travel, accommodations, and various event fees are taken into consideration. All this, for sometimes little to no result in your police officer recruitment. 

Same goes for other traditional recruiting efforts like billboards, radio, and tv commercials. Sure, you are generating brand awareness in the local community and sometimes neighboring cities, but how effective and successful are these advertisements?  


Now, let’s look at digital recruiting strategies. The best part about online police officer recruiting is that we are accumulating data and we can successfully track the success of our campaigning. Invest in online recruiting, run multiple ads on multiple platforms, track the results, and watch quality candidates roll in.

For most, this is a new and unfamiliar way to recruit police officers. Digital recruiting is the combination of online marketing efforts including Google ads, YouTube advertising, social media channels, a recruiting website, and more. Therefore, it’s common to hire outside police recruiting agencies to build an effective digital recruiting plan. 

A police recruiting website is the modern version of a traditional job fair booth. The way your site is built, Google draws candidates to you while they’re actively seeking a career in law enforcement. That means everyone you’re advertising to, is actively looking for a law enforcement career. Search Engine Optimization is how your website ranks organically, resulting in free and constant online recruiting traffic. Digital recruiting is a 24/7 job fair, minus the extra costs and manpower with more interested potential candidates.

digital recruiting in action

Search Engine Marketing is online paid advertising that generates awareness and incentives to those looking for police departments that are hiring for lower costs than traditional advertising. Top page results for law enforcement jobs are 80% cheaper per click than job boards. Google helps candidates find you when they’re actively seeking a career in law enforcement. Not only when your candidates are searching, but when they’re on YouTube and social media channels as well.

Digital police officer recruitment means multiple platforms marketing your department 24/7. Plus, since digital recruitment is online, your team has more time in the field. It’s a win-win! Take a look at some of the ways that digital recruiting draws in quality applicants. Through these platforms, we’re able to cost effectively market to a wider and more qualified candidate pool. 

google search

The world’s largest search engine! Each month, over 170,000 law enforcement career related searches are conducted nationwide. This is where your department gets to the first page of search results. With this, we can get your department in front of candidates ready to begin a career in law enforcement. 


The world’s second largest and most utilized search engine. Potential law enforcement applicants turn to YouTube videos to receive answers to their questions and explores what’s unique about your department. If a candidate likes what they see, they are directed to your website for more information.

social media

Social media is where all of your millennial applicants are spending their time. 84% of  employers use social media for recruitment and law enforcement agencies should be no different. With over 3.1 billion active social media users, reaching qualified candidates with targeted approaches is easier than ever.

making the move to digital recruiting

Epic Recruiting knows what it takes. The focus isn’t about re-creating the wheel, but making the wheel more effective. We do that by offering modern solutions increasing quality applicants. Our online efforts allow your department to stay ahead of the game. Attract the next generation of police offers and overcome the challenges most police departments face in today’s digital era.

Police officer recruitment strategies will continue to change with the times, as should your department. While completely dropping traditional efforts might not be the way to go, creating a combination of law enforcement recruiting that starts to integrate digital as well is what draws in recruits. Additionally, Epic Recruiting creates traditional assets that are branded cohesively with your online presence. 

Start improving your police officer recruiting efforts today. Contact an Epic Recruiter and let’s develop a strategy that optimizes your department. 

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