Advertising and Recruitment: An In-Depth Look

Before filing a PERM labor certification application, the sponsoring employer must conduct “recruitment.” This refers to the steps the employer takes to recruit U.S. workers for the job position. As a process, recruitment ranges from advertising to interviewing, and some of the requirements change based on the nature of the job being offered. Accordingly, we highly recommend you retain qualified PERM attorneys to help you with your recruitment. Errors in recruitment cannot be corrected after a labor certification application has been filed, and so it is imperative to ensure no errors affect your filing.

Professional or Nonprofessional?

For purposes of recruitment, most jobs can be categorized as either professional or nonprofessional occupations. The main distinction between the two is that professional occupations generally require at a minimum a bachelor’s degree. Recruitment processes vary depending on whether the job being offered is professional or nonprofessional. According to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) standards, certain jobs are always considered professional occupations, and a sponsoring employer’s recruitment process for such jobs must conform to professional occupation standards.


With the exception of employers whose labor certifications involve college or university teachers selected pursuant to a competitive recruitment and selection process, Schedule A occupations, and sheepherders, all petitioning employers must attest to having conducted recruitment prior to filing a labor certification application. Petitioning employers using the regular PERM process must conduct recruitment no more than 180 days before, but no fewer than 30 days prior to filing the application. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations explicitly defines how days are counted, and DOL offers FAQ resources for the recruitment process.

General Recruitment Activities

The following recruitment activities are required for all applications involving professional and nonprofessional occupations that are not filed for Schedule A positions or Special Handling:

  • Job order

    -The employer must place a job order with the local State Workforce Agency (SWA) for a period of 30 days. While the start and end dates of the job order entered on the application will serve as documentation of this step, we still advise maintaining dated printouts from the SWA’s job posting website as part of an employer’s recruitment documents.

  • Advertisements in newspapers and/or in professional journals, appearing on Sundays

    -The employer must place an advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation on two different Sundays. If the job offer requires experience and an advanced degree, the employer may place an advertisement in an appropriate national professional journal in lieu of one of the Sunday advertisements.

    -If the job opportunity is located in a rural area lacking a newspaper that publishes a Sunday edition, the employer may advertise in the newspaper with the widest circulation in that area. This exception applies to rural newspapers only. If a suburban newspaper has no Sunday edition, the employer must publish the Sunday advertisement in the most appropriate city newspaper serving the suburban area.

  • Internal Job Posting

    -The employer must post an internal job posting (also called a notice of filing) for a period of 10 consecutive business days. If the position is a union position, the employer must give proper notice to the bargaining representative. The notice of filing must contain the same information as do advertisements in newspapers and/or professional journals.

    -Even if the employer’s newspaper advertisements do not list the wage offered, the internal job posting must list this information.

    -Finally, an internal job posting must state that it is being posted as required by an application for permanent alien labor certification; it should also include the disclaimer that any person may provide documentary evidence bearing on the application to the appropriate DOL certifying officer, and include the contact information of said certifying officer.

Extra Recruitment Activities for Professional Occupations

If the job being offered is a professional occupation, as is the case for all EB-2 positions and for most EB-3 positions that require a degree, then the employer must post a job advertisement in at least three of the following forums during recruitment. The employer is allowed to complete one of the three activities within the 30 days prior to filing.

  1. Job fairs

  2. Employer’s website

  3. Job search website other than the employer’s

  4. On-campus recruiting (usually for positions requiring no experience)

  5. Trade or professional organizations

  6. Private employment firms

  7. An employee referral program, if such a program includes identifiable incentives

  8. A notice of the job opening at a campus placement office, if the job requires a degree but no experience

  9. Local and ethnic newspapers, to the extent that they are appropriate for the job opportunity (Note that these may be the same media in which the mandatory Sunday advertisements appear.)

  10. Radio and television advertisements

The Content of Job Ads

Job advertisements do not need to include every minute detail regarding the position. However, they must be sufficiently thorough, including the following information:

  • Employer’s name and contact information
  • Physical address of the site of employment, and address where applicants should send resumes, which may be an e-mail address or P.O. Box
  • Description of the job with sufficient detail (i.e. the same description used in the prevailing wage determination)

Advertisements do not have to list the wage offered, but if an employer does list compensation, the wage cannot be lower than the prevailing wage determination.

Further, advertisements shouldn’t contain job requirements not normally required for the position (unless there is a demonstrated business need), and likewise cannot contain wages or terms of employment that are less favorable than those being offered to the prospective alien employee.

Interviewing Candidates

After the job has been advertised, the employer must interview U.S. applicants who meet the minimum requirements. Employers are required to cite lawful, job-related reasons for rejecting U.S. applicants.

Recruitment Documentation

Particular documentary requirements for recruitment vary according to DOL’s evolving specifications. Though employers do not submit supporting documents at the time of online filing, the employer should have the full set of recruitment documentation at the time it files, and must keep all recruitment documentation for at least five years after the date of filing. DOL reserves the right to audit an application at any time during this five-year period.

Overall, PERM labor certification is an extremely complicated and time-sensitive procedure. We recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Over the years, Zhang & Associates has successfully handled hundreds of PERM cases. If you would like to contact us, we’re available by phone at (713) 771-8433, or you can visit us at one of our eight U.S. locations. We’re also conveniently available by e-mail at Our attorneys will use their experience, expertise, and teamwork to ensure the highest quality of service for your PERM case.

For more detailed information on PERM labor certification, including minimum requirements and USCIS policies, refer to the following links:

Updated 04/14/2017