Job Seekers Still Mostly Offline!

I was sent some research recently from Whale Path, a business research company, that was looking at how employers really find their employees.  What they found might surprise many within the Talent Acquisition space.  Their research found that a majority of employees under the medium U.S. wage scale (around $50k per year) actually found their jobs offline!

Does this jive with your hiring?

Here are some of the actual stats from their research:

– Only 7% of jobs paying $25 per hour or less are filled through online sources

– Personal referrals account for 46% of hires for positions paying less than U.S. median income, up from 41% in 2008

– Craigslist was cited by more than half of businesses as a low-cost resource for finding employees.

We tend to believe everyone is online.  We then believe since they are online, they must be looking for jobs online.  Do you know why you believe this?You’ve been told to believe this, over, and over, and over, through great marketing by companies who are selling online hiring solutions.  We see and CareerBuilder ads on the Superbowl.  We are bombarded with emails daily about easy, fast ,cheap hiring solutions.  We see constant media reports about the growth of LinkedIn.  We are told everyone will be searching for a job on their phone, you MUST have a mobile solution. Yet, we don’t actually know anyone personally who applied and got a job on their phone.  We are conditioned to believe everyone must be searching for a job online.  Marketing is so strong, you don’t even know it’s happening to you.

But they aren’t.  At least millions and millions and millions of our potential employees aren’t searching for job online.

They’re finding jobs like your grandparents found jobs.  They are networking, they’re letting their friends and family know they’re looking, they’re letting the members of their church and synagogue know they’re looking, they’re letting their bowling buddies know they’re looking.  Eventually, someone refers them to a job, and they get hired.  We tend to thing we’re all just trying to hire professionals for $100K jobs, but we aren’t.  Most of the hiring done in the U.S. is for positions under $50K, and most of your budget is being spent on tools that don’t attract these individuals.  Individuals that don’t need a resume, they just need to fill out an application, because they have people who will vouch for their skills.

Interesting research, much of it we don’t normally focus on.  What are you spending your hiring budget on today?

5 thoughts on “Job Seekers Still Mostly Offline!

  1. Tim, your post brings up important issues. The first is that, despite whatever newfangled technology comes along, the fundamentals of sourcing and recruiting have not changed. Talent acquisition pros still need to understand what sourcing and recruiting approaches work to create the candidate flow required to fill positions quickly to meet business objectives.

    Interestingly, my company’s (eQuest) data shows that the jobs most responded to in eQuest last year were for jobs in the pay range you referenced – Admin roles, Helpdesk/Call Center, Front desk, etc. We represent a very large customer base, comprised mostly of large employers. Our data may not be representative of the entire labor market—or of the sources cited in the Whale Path research. For our client set, however, online recruitment marketing is proving to be an effective channel.

    Also interesting, and weirdly coincidental: eQuest’s infographic on recruitment marketing, and the ongoing importance of job boards as part of that mix, came out the same day as this post. Here’s the link if you’d like to take a look: In any case, thanks for spurring discussion on this important topic.

  2. Great post Tim. It is for this reason as a recruiter I make an effort to connect people in my network at least once a week. I spend time on the phone catching up and get caught interviewing strangers on the weekend. Informal conversation to engage the raw of someone’s interest and character will always trump sending a resume and filling out a screen. Given the facts you have sited what are the foreseeable implications? More recruitment organizations at job fairs and networking events? More recruiters attending niche conferences? How might funding be re-allocated? Keep the good thoughts coming!

    • Megan –

      Great comments.

      I think it’s mostly a reminder to the recruiters who have come up in the industry in the last 5-8 years. There is more to recruiting than sourcing online pools of candidates. It’s tough to get them to understand that building a network and staying in touch with that network, within your niche, is ultimately the most valuable thing you can do as a recruiter.

      That means – you have to get out to multiple events that those you want to recruit attend (probably not job fairs) – then actually make connections. It means making connections with them before they get big in their career and following them in their career. Get into the mind of what you’re trying to find. Go where they go.


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