Recruiting Trends Survey, Part 2

article by Kevin Wheeler and Erik Foss In this second part of our report on the findings from our recent survey on recruiting trends, we will look more closely at sourcing and candidate relationship management. Both of these topics have generated many recent articles on ERE, and CRM is of particular interest to us. We strongly believe that organizations that do not have robust CRM capabilities will find themselves less and less effective in attracting and closing candidates with scarce skills. Unfortunately, our findings are not encouraging. Last week we reported the disturbing trend that fewer companies are developing or maintaining a talent pool resource or database. Sixty-five percent of respondents say they do have a talent community, which is the lowest response received over the four years we have conducted this survey. We also asked respondents how long it takes them to respond to a resume, and, consistent with last year, 58.6% said it takes less than 72 hours (however, just 26.6% respond in less than 24 hours). Another 15% take more than three days to acknowledge a candidate’s resume, while 20% simply choose to acknowledge select applicants only. These figures were little changed compared to last year’s survey. While not horrible, it is still confounding why more organizations are not responding within 24 hours to a candidate ó not even with a simple, template-based, thank you email. Obviously, effective CRM requires not only the cursory reply to an inquiry, but also more meaningful responses such as telephone calls or personal emails. These are only provided to candidates by a handful of organizations. One bright spot related to candidate relationship management is the slight shift toward more frequent communication with the pool among those organizations that do have a pool of candidates. While still only 16% of respondents said they communicate with their talent pool once a month or more, that is nearly 7% higher than last year. Also indicative of a shift is the fact that fewer respondents said they “never” communicate with their talent pool ó 11.2% this year versus a startling 18.8% last year. While we cannot say so with certainty, it does appear that many organizations have shifted from “never” to “we need to be in front of our candidate pool once a month or more.” This is a good sign. Candidate Sourcing Consistent with other key areas of our survey, this year’s version showed little significant change in how respondents regard which sources for candidates are most effective. Respondents were asked to choose the most effective source from a list of choices. While there were slight shifts in the numbers that selected them, the top six most effective sources remain consistent from last year:

  1. Employee referrals (34.7%, a 3.3% decrease from last year)
  2. Networking (18.7%, a 3.9% decrease from last year)
  3. Internet job board postings (12.4%, a 4.7% increase over last year)
  4. Your organization’s own website (9.3%, a 4.2% increase over last year)
  5. Internet searching (6.7%, a 0.3% increase over last year)
  6. Cold calling/direct sourcing (6.2%, a 2.8% decrease from last year)

While many reading this may find it interesting (or potentially useful for press releases and marketing copy) that there was a nearly 5% increase in “Internet job board postings” as the most effective source, these findings, again, were not significantly different compared to last year. When searching for diversity candidates, the number of sources identified as effective are narrower, with just four consistently acquiring any significant response. Similar to last year, with no significant change, the top four most effective sources for diversity candidates include:

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  1. Networking (22.1%, a 3.7% increase over last year)
  2. Professional associations (18.0%, a 2.2% decrease over last year)
  3. Employee referrals (15.2%, a 4.0% increase over last year)
  4. Internet job board postings (12.0%, a 3.2% decrease over last year)

Among other key areas we surveyed, which we’ll report on in greater detail in our full report, include the following:

  • Some 28.8% of respondents said they use service level agreements internally ó the highest “yes” response in the four years of this survey. (57.8% use SLAs with third parties, which is little changed over the last four years.)
  • Web-based pre-screening tools are shifting slightly, from being a purely separate, third-party tool to being included as part of an applicant tracking system.
  • While 50.2% do not have an internal recruiting research function, that is 6.8% fewer than last year, with the shift going to functions of at least two full-time employees.

While little has changed since last year, the positive trend is more interest in and focus on candidate relationship building and candidate communication. The full report will be available for download soon, and we’ll announce it in an upcoming column when it is ready.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at


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