Internet Pervasive in Hiring, but Who You Know Still Gets You Hired

Even though external hires bring innovative talent to corporations, most companies report that referrals, at 25%, and internal promotions, at 34%, still rank high among recruiting habits.

This data is fresh from a recent CareerXroads study, conducted by principals Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, who got inside more than 40 well-known multinational firms for more information about their hiring practices in 2006.

It’s an increasingly six-degrees-of-separation kind of world, and the data suggests that employers will have more trouble competing for the job-seekers unless they understand the power in social networking.

Crispin notes that it’s not just who you know, but it’s also how you use the people you know to help you find even more people through in-person networking, online networking, and beyond.

The results of the sixth-annual “Sources of Hire” study do not disclose who participated in this study. Instead, Crispin and Mehler note that the companies represent a cross-section of “highly recognizable” retail, technology, transportation, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and finance firms.

By the Numbers: The Respondent Profile

  • CareerXroads asked 200 major companies to participate; 54 firms responded within 30 days, and of that number, 40 submitted fully qualifying information.
  • The 40 companies participating in the survey employ 1,281,429 people.
  • 1,880 recruiters filled 207,702 full-time U.S. openings in 2006.
  • Approximately 60% of all the hires reported were for exempt-level employees (58% of internal fills and 64% of external fills.)
  • Contract, part-time, and contingent workers are a growing percentage of the workforce; only 10% of the respondents have no contract workers.

Crispin and Mehler, who will be leading webinars (LinkedIn on March 6 and ZoomInfo on March 15) to discuss more details, explain that sources-of-hire information can be better used at the recruiter level, where it would be preferable to establish access to sources-of-hire data for recent/similar hires in real time.

“If staffing professionals have any hope of improving their investment decisions or credibility with colleagues knowledgeable in supply-chain analysis, then investment in improving the collection, analysis, and dissemination of sources-of-hire data is a must,” says Crispin.

The Internet is Everywhere

Other key findings for 2006 suggest that the Internet’s impact can be felt in each step of the hiring process.

Crispin says it is so pervasive that “it is reasonable to imagine that every source of hire has an Internet component, and it now no longer makes sense to look at the Internet as a source of hire.”

“The Internet is rapidly becoming the same thing as the telephone,” says Crispin.

“No one has mentioned the importance of the telephone in recruiting for the past 70 years, and the Internet is beginning to be that as well, as it fades into the background.”

Crispin says some exceptions might exist in executive-level roles or the lowest-level jobs, where the Internet will play a less-pervasive role.

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“But even there, with jobs where people literally walk in off the street and have a decision made, the likelihood is a background check is being done to speed things up,” he says.

Other key Internet-related findings include:

  • Hires attributed to the corporate career websites represent 20.7% of all external hires, and 13.7% of all positions filled.
  • Hires attributed to specific boards (Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs) and other niche boards represent 12.3% of external hires and 8.1% of all positions filled.

Personal Contacts Key

Echoing the CareerXroads study, a new Hudson survey found that networking was the most common way workers (28%) and managers (33%) alike secured their current job.

Among workers who earn $75,000 to $100,000 per year, 39% found their current job through networking.

Plus, the Hudson survey reiterates what CareerXroads suggests: managers overwhelmingly consider familiar resources, such as employees and personal contacts, to be the optimal source of job candidates.

Specifically, the Hudson survey indicates that 40% of managers state internal promotions are the best way to fill an opening, followed by employee referrals and personal recommendations (24% and 20%, respectively).

And 73% of the managers surveyed by Hudson say their company typically looks at the current employee base first when conducting a job search before considering any other candidates.

Email and the Internet make replying to an online job posting easier than ever, but in this situation, easy does not necessarily mean effective, according to Hudson officials.

“Developing and maintaining a strong network of professional as well as personal contacts can mean the difference between landing an interview and getting lost in the crowd,” explains Steve Wolfe, Hudson’s senior vice president.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


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