As we have noted time and again in this blog, a passive strategy of sitting at one’s computer and responding to online help-wanted ads is among the most ineffective ways to find employment in any job market, but especially one that is as weak as the current environment. Firstly, online ads actually account for less than 20 percent of the available jobs out there. Secondly, a resume sent to an employer in response to an online job board posting is far more likely to be overlooked, as the company is flooded with thousands of electronic applicants like you.
While searching and responding to online job ads should not be entirely abandoned, the bulk of one’s job-search time and energy is better spent expanding and mining one’s social and professional network. Further evidence of the effectiveness of a networking-driven approach is found in a new study by talent management software firm SilkRoad and reported by human resources industry publication Workforce Management. According to the report, while organizations utilize job search engines and job boards, nearly two-thirds of recent hires found their positions through internal sources, such company career sites and employee referrals.To obtain the results, SilkRoad culled data from more than 700 customers using its OpenHire applicant tracking system in 2011. Here are some of the most relevant findings, as reported by Workforce Management:
Combined, the organizations posted more than 222,000 jobs, which led to more than 9.3 million applicants, according to the study. Those job postings resulted in more than 94,000 hires.
More than 147,000 applicants were interviewed, and internal and external sources each yielded half of the interviewees. Yet internal sources accounted for 63 percent of those hired, according to the study.
Of those employees who came to the organization through internal sources, about half came through referrals, the study says. Internal recruiting and corporate career sites each accounted for about one-quarter of new hires. For those who were hired by an organization after initially connecting through an online site, such as a job board or corporate career site—the largest portion of new hires, or about 12,500—came to the companies through their corporate career sites.
A couple of things in these findings should really stand out for job seekers. One is that more than 98% of the applicants were eliminated prior to interviews, as employers narrowed the field of 9.3 million applicants to just 147,000 candidates to meet face to face. The other aspect of the data that stands out is that while more than 222,000 job openings were posted, employers ended up hiring around 94,000, less than half the number of original openings. This suggests that many companies post job openings that they have no intention of filling immediately, perhaps as a way to test the labor pool or replenish potential candidates for future hiring.
The fact that employers are filling less than half of advertised job openings and eliminating nearly 99% of applicants prior to the interview stage both indicate that finding a job is a bit like playing the lottery, and like the lottery, the odds are stacked heavily against the players. However, unlike the lottery, there are steps job seekers can take to greatly increase their odds of success.
Those who utilize their networks of personal and professional contacts to gain access to people in a position to hire or otherwise advance one’s job search will experience greater success than those who blindly fire off emails to online job postings.