September 6, 2007   view past issues

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How Are People Finding Jobs?

How are people finding jobs? It’s an important question, of course, because answering it correctly enables you to make smart decisions when selecting recruitment advertising venues and, as a result, upgrade the quality of the candidates you are able to recruit.

Traditional “source of hire” surveys turn to us, the recruiters who interact with job candidates, to answer the question. It’s a reasonable approach, I guess, but one that has at least two serious problems:

  • First, we rely on our applicant tracking systems and the data they collect from candidates to provide the answer. Many of these systems, however, force candidates to identify their source of information about an opening by selecting from an often incomplete and out-of-date list and thus are notoriously inaccurate.
  • Second, source of hire surveys normally sample a very small population of employers and collect the data they report as averages. They then establish an overall set of results by averaging the employers’ averages, an approach which can overemphasize data trends and minimize important data anomalies.
  • To avoid these deficiencies, we at WEDDLE’s launched a Source of Employment Survey last year. This study has the following benefits:

  • First, it acquires information directly from working men and women. As a consequence, it avoids the distorting filter of applicant tracking systems and the inaccuracies of their data.
  • Second, it samples a huge population. WEDDLE’s 2007 report is based on responses from over 11,500 people. The data were collected between January 1, 2007 and July 31, 2007 at the WEDDLE’s Web-site,
  • Our 2007 survey confirmed some previously reported trends and yielded a couple of interesting surprises. As shown below, the five largest sources of new employees were online job boards, staffing and executive search firms, tips from friends and family members, networking in a business context, and two methods that have been pooh-poohed recently by the cognoscenti of employment: career fairs and newspapers.

  • The #1 source of employment: answering ads and posting a resume on job boards, reported by 13.22% of respondents;
  • The #2 source of employment: a call from a headhunter or staffing firm, reported by 11.3% of respondents;
  • The #3 source of employment: a tip from a friend or family member, reported by 11.1% of respondents;
  • The #4 source of employment: networking at work or at a business event, reported by 10.5% of respondents;
  • The #5 source of employment: a virtual tie between career fairs and answering an ad in a newspaper, reported by 5.8% of respondents.
  • As you can see, these five sources accounted for almost six out of ten (57.7%) of the positions that people took during their last job search.

    What were the least helpful sources of employment, as reported by our survey respondents? Beginning with the least effective, they were:

  • Networking at a social event;
  • Answering an ad in a publication of their professional association;
  • Using a social networking site;
  • Sending a resume directly to an employer; and
  • Responding to a notice posted in a store.
  • What can we learn from these results? First, while social networking sites and social networking, in general, obviously have their benefits, one of them is clearly not finding a job or, by extension, connecting us with viable employment prospects. Second, while associations serve a number of important functions, many are apparently not meeting the employment needs of their members and, by extension, our requirements in recruiting. And third, many of our own employers aren’t faring much better. In a War for Talent, such crude recruiting tactics as placing placards in a window are the functional equivalent of using a bow and arrow. Equally as important, the technology we’ve deployed to fight that war-those applicant tracking systems so many of our organizations have purchased-are letting us down. They’ve created a black hole experience out of resume submission that turns off and turns away the best and brightest.

    What should we do about these findings? I have the following suggestions:

  • Devote more time to online or e-networking. This activity enables you to leverage the job seeker’s confidence in networking while capitalizing on the productivity benefits you can achieve online. I’m not suggesting that you forego traditional telephonic and face-to-face networking, but rather that you augment those more labor- and time-intensive methods with the Web’s capacity for efficient mass 1:1 relationship building.
  • Invest in multimedia advertising. Regardless of what you may have heard about the demise of newspaper advertising, it’s clear that job seekers still turn to that medium as a trusted and useful source of employment. You can capitalize on that view by creating relatively inexpensive “teaser” classified ads that connect job seekers to more fulsome and persuasive job postings online. However, don’t make candidates laboriously search a job database (on your own corporate site or on a commercial job board) to find the opening in which they’re interested. Instead, include an alphanumeric code in your print ad that will return the exact job they want to see and do so without any effort on their part.
  • Expect more out of your applicant tacking system.
  • Re-read the text that’s included in your system’s auto-responder. If it’s something only a lawyer could love, change it so that it reflects the attributes of your employment brand and delivers the courtesy and respect that applicants deserve. Also check the functionality the system is using to identify the source of candidates. Some of the better systems are now using a form of tagging, but most still rely on simple drop down windows with a list of options for job seekers to select. If that’s what your vendor is providing, make sure its list is up-to-date and that the vendor has an effective way to help you keep it that way.

    The WEDDLE’s Source of Employment Survey will be reported here in my newsletter each year in September. We hope it helps you to maximize the return you achieve on your investment of recruiting time, effort and advertising money in the War for the Best Talent.

    Thanks for reading,


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    This Issue’s Sponsor:

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of

    Diversity is an important component of any online recruiting campaign. Achieving a diverse workplace is not merely a destination, but an ongoing process. offers a variety of diversity job posting, resume database and branding packages to meet your online diversity recruitment needs. For more information please contact or call us today at (973) 992 7311.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use announced that it has a solution for the lonely dinner that’s often endured by the single business traveler. Although it clearly could be used for other purposes, the site promises to connect out-of-town visitors with locals for a “lasting friendship, a one time dinner or concert date, a discrete encounter, or simply some poker night buddies.” Not to be outdone, offers the same kind of connection right in one’s own back yard. It brings people together for lunch based on their shared interest in politics, arts, music, literature or sports as well as by age and gender, and they do so for free.

    Harvard Business Review published an article by Gary Klein entitled Performing a Project Premortem. The idea is simple enough. Instead of the traditional post-project review of what went wrong with the plan, the premortem brings team members together before the project even gets started and engages them in imagining what might go wrong. Then, of course, the team must figure out how to correct the plan and implement the fix. What does that have to do with recruiting? I think it might be an effective way to manage a recruitment process reengineering effort. Clearly, changes in technology, best practices and the labor market will require that we make adjustments in our processes and policies from time-to-time. Before we implement such significant and often unsettling changes, however, it would be helpful to assess what might go wrong with them and then brainstorm how best to avoid the problems. Of course, no one’s crystal ball is perfect, but the premortem, at least, encourages us to use one.

    Monster and Development Dimensions International (DDI) reported the results of a study that examined the impact that employment interviews have on job candidates. Called The Selection Forecast 2006-7, the study surveyed staffing directors, hiring managers and job seekers. Two of its findings are particularly troubling. First, seven-in-ten (70%) job seekers reported that hiring managers and staffing directors acted as if they “had no time to talk to me” during an interview. Second, two-thirds of the job seekers said they now evaluate an employment opportunity based on the caliber of the interview they are given. In other words, when interviewers arrive late or are unprepared, uninterested or simply impolite, the candidate with choices (i.e., the top prospects) will go someplace else. In a War for the Best Talent, such behavior is the functional equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

    WEDDLE’s announced that its Publisher, Peter Weddle, will be offering two public workshops this fall:

  • Recruiting Alchemy: Transforming Passive Prospects into High Quality Hires will be presented on September 17, 2007 in San Francisco, CA. The workshop is being offered in conjunction with OnRec’s Global Summit for Online Recruitment. For more information and to register, please click here.
  • Improving the Quality of Your Yield: Best Practices in Online Recruitment to be presented on November 12, 2007 in Orlando, FL. The workshop is being offered in conjunction with Kennedy Information’s Recruiting 2007 Conference & Expo. For more information and to register, please click here.
  • Peter is one of the most popular trainers in our field. As one course participant put it, “WOW!! I had the opportunity to listen to Peter Weddle speak last week at a conference and ‘WOW!!’ does NOT do justice to how I felt after listening to him!”

    WEDDLE’s also introduced its 2007 Fall/Winter Training Series. It provides a full curriculum of training programs that are delivered by toll-free teleconference. You get the PowerPoint slides for each program in advance, and on the day of the training, you simply call a toll-free number and have the presentation delivered right to you. All of the programs are presented by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, and draw on WEDDLE’s 10+ years of research into the Best Practices for sourcing and recruiting online. The Fall/Winter 2007 series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group and includes:

  • October 2, 2007: Optimizing the Candidate Experience: The Secret to Selling Top Talent
  • October 23, 2007: Staffing Metrics That Count in the Corner Office
  • November 6, 2007: Googling, Blogging & Other Sourcing Techniques for Passive Prospects
  • November 27, 2007: Blink Recruiting-Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • December 4, 2007: Building a Corporate Career Site for Top Talent
  • December 18, 2007: A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • These are great learning opportunities and priced hundreds, even thousands of dollars less than other training programs. Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To get pricing information and sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.916.9424.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 40,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to recruiting top talent online, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for each of your requirements. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the optimum yield for you. For example:

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-Consulting

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Fee to post a job: None

    Posting period: 63 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 12,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from individual

    Top occupations among visitors: Wide range

    Other services for employers: Assessment instruments, Status report on advertising

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Please Support Our Sponsor:

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of

    Diversity is an important component of any online recruiting campaign. Achieving a diverse workplace is not merely a destination, but an ongoing process. offers a variety of diversity job posting, resume database and branding packages to meet your online diversity recruitment needs. For more information please contact or call us today at (973) 992 7311.