5 Statistics that Matter for Your Job Search

5 Statistics that Matter for Your Job Search

Each year for the past nine years CareerXroads has conducted a survey about the sources of new hires. The most recent survey (full report available here) solicited source of hire stats for 43 large companies, who collectively filled 176,000 positions in 2009. While the sample size is small, and arguments can and have been made about the accuracy and applicability of the statistics, the survey results are nevertheless revealing, and have some important implications for how job seekers invest their job search energy.

1. Internal transfers and promotions were the source of 51% of all full-time hires in 2009. This is up by 19% from 2006.

Why it matters: It is the perennial job seeker debate: should I take a lower level or lower paid position, just to get back in the workforce, or should I wait for my dream job? Three years ago, it may have been good advice to hold out for your dream job because two thirds of positions were being filled externally. Today, it may not be such a good strategy. If you can get your foot in the door of a good company, you stand a better chance of being able to work up to your dream job.

2. Referrals account for 26.7% of all external hires, and yield an average of one hire for every 15 received.

Why it matters: You hear it all the time: if you want to land a new job you must network, network, network. This stat demonstrates why. More than a quarter of jobs are filled with somebody who leveraged their network of contacts to get a referral. Outside of internal transfers and promotions, referrals were the single largest source of new hires. BUT, and it’s a big one, nearly 75% of external hires were NOT referrals, which means as a job seeker you need to have a multi-pronged job search strategy.

3. Job boards and corporate career sites accounted for 22.3% and 13.2% of new hires respectively, 35.5% in total.

Why it matters: There is a lot of noise about job boards being dead. Don’t believe it. Don’t spend all day, every day, scanning job boards, but do make sure you are checking in on a regular basis to see who is hiring. Use aggregator sites such as Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com to monitor multiple boards at once, and Linkup.com to monitor new postings on corporate boards.

4. Third party recruiters accounted for 2.3% of all external hires in 2009, down from 5.2% in 2005.

Anecdotal auxiliary stat on this: a typical recruiter will have some kind of contact with an average of 100 candidates a week, but will place a fraction of 1% of them.

Why it matters: A lot of job seekers have the misconception of the importance of recruiting firms in the grand scheme of job placements (a lot of recruiters do too). Candidates are often outraged about recruiters who focus exclusively on passive candidates, and begrudge the seeming injustice of it. But 97.7% of jobs aren’t filled through external recruiters. Those 2.3% of jobs that are tend to have very specific technical, sales or leadership pre-requisites that are hard to find, or have a mismatch between the location of the talent pool and the location of the job. Be findable by recruiters, but don’t invest a huge part of your job search energy on trying to break down the recruiter’s door. And don’t sweat it if the recruiters aren’t returning your calls.

5. 2.3% of external new hires were people who walked in the door.

Why it matters: It’s a comparatively small number, but here’s the thing. Most job seekers don’t do it. My guess is less than 20% do it. In fact, I’d be venture to say less than 10% do it. This means 23% of job seekers who are so bold as to walk into a company and ask for the job actually end up landing a job. Polish up your cold-calling technique if you want to be one of them.

So job seekers, now that you have some insights on sources of hire, how will you change your job hunt strategy?

[This article was originally posted on an earlier date]

Karen Siwak, founder of Resume Confidential is a Canadian certified resume strategist with 10+ years of experience in coaching & counseling.

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