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Thursday, October 04, 2012

How People Find Jobs Today

Note: This series is written for others who are in career transition, either from the same company I left or elsewhere. Having been fortunate to have transitional benefits, and a great network of HR pros,  these posts are written for the benefit of those who don't have as much time or the good advice available to me.  

Although this information is well-known in HR circles and intuitive to some, for others it may be news. This is especially true if, like me, you haven't been on the job market in years if ever.  I have worked since I was 14 (farm kid) and have been recruited to every job I've ever gotten.  Being on the offensive, actively looking for a job, is a totally new experience at age 52.

If you are similarly uninitiated here are some statistics about how people are finding jobs in this economy.

Job Boards - Only 10 - 15% of job seekers land a job off an Internet job board.  This is disproportionate to the percentage of time people spend looking for jobs, as most spend the majority of their time completing on-line applications.  With the average Monster or Career Builder add getting 1,400 responses it is the longest of long shots that any human will ever look at your application or on-line-submitted resume.  You still should submit one, but to a potential employer where you know someone and have a networking contact.

Recruiters - About 10 - 12% of seekers find jobs through recruiters.  This statistic is a little misleading, however, in that recruiters are far more effective in their work that the numbers show.  The issue is that very few people know a for-profit, independent recruiter who works across many clients.  If you know these folks and can get to them they can be helpful.  Also many of them are Executive Recruiters which means they won't look at you if you aren't making $80 - 100k in base salary.  For those making less you should try to make contact with temporary agencies who also have a recruiting arm.

Other -  About 5% land jobs through word-of-mouth, somebody you worked with knows-about-you-and-gives-you-a-call type of situation.

Networking - 75 - 85% of job seekers find their next job through their network of friends and professional acquaintances.

What's important about these statistics is how it should inform the job seeker in allocating their time.  So many times jobs seekers retreat from public life out of fear, confusion, shame, or a belief that getting 50 on-line apps out a day will create motion.  More accurate is that the job seeker should be out in the community making sure everyone they know knows that they are in transition.  When you find out about an opportunity then you network your way into that organization through a referral (ask the person who told you about it to make a phone call or send an email) and then complete the on-line application. The HR person or manager looking to fill the job then has your resume or application in their system and can readily assess your candidacy.

Remember, get out from behind that PC or laptop and engage the community, especially those you've helped along the way or who have been your advocates in past jobs.  Avoid the black hole of the Internet except when you have a personal connection to a specific company.


Jeff Fleming said...

Hi Jim,

I was wondering where you got your statistics on how people find jobs today? Are they from the parachute book or generally accepted stats for job searching or did you find them in a research paper on the subject?


Jim Thomason said...


Just saw your comment so I'm very sorry to take so long responding. These are statistics that I received going through Lee Hecht Harrison's outplacement program, plus some other web sources that I came across during my search.