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This Single Job Hunting Statistic Will Blow Your Mind

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Here are some statistics worth considering whether you’re looking for a job or looking for some great people to hire.

Some shocking job hunting statistics –

  • 130 million people viewed 112 thousand job postings.
  • 13 million applications were completed for these jobs.
  • 112 thousand people were hired from these completed applications.

This means less than one percent of the people who applied to these jobs actually got hired. It also means that 117 million people who looked at these postings didn’t apply for the 112 thousand jobs available.

This is a enormous waste of time, energy, technology and resources. More surprising, companies are now investing billions of dollars to do this more efficiently.

The data is from a company that processed the 13 million applications over the last three years for their 100+ clients. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I asked the head of the company that processed the applications what was the source of the people who did apply. (Caution: You need to sit down before you read this.)

Source of Hire (estimates of the 112 thousand jobs that were filled)

  • 15% saw the job posting and applied (16.8 thousand of the 112 thousand).
  • 45% were direct sourced. This means a recruiter found the person on either LinkedIn or on a resume database and contacted the person to determine interest and fit.
  • 40% were referred by someone who was either in the company or knew someone in the company.

This means that of the 13 million people who applied to the job postings only 16,800 found the jobs via a job board. That’s only one-tenth of one percent – one person hired for every thousand who applied.

This data maps closely to LinkedIn’s annual research on this topic and our own on-going surveys of fully employed candidates asking them how they got their most recent jobs.

Given the realities of hiring at scale, here’s some quick advice on how to improve your odds whether you’re a job seeker or seeking people to hire.

Job Seekers Need to Implement a 20-20-60 Job Hunting Program

Here’s a summary of a video program I prepared a few years ago for job seekers detailing the multi-pronged job hunting process I recommend.

  • Spend 20% of your time looking for jobs it’s obvious you’re fully qualified to handle. New tools are being developed that automatically screen resumes based on skills, experiences, track record and the quality of companies worked at and schools attended. That’s why the chance of getting a job by applying is so low.
  • Spend 20% of your time making sure your resume and LinkedIn profile can be found. Recruiters search for candidates based on their skills, academic backgrounds and special achievements and honors. If you can’t be found, you’re losing a better chance (20-50X better in fact) at getting a job than applying directly.
  • Spend 60% of your networking on being creative to get interviewed for jobs you’re fully qualified to handle but it’s not obvious based on your resume. When you find a job of interest use the backdoor to get an interview rather than applying directly. Here’s a post with more details but the big idea is to either find someone to refer you or to do a mini-project or video to get an audience with the hiring manager or department head.

Recruiters Need to Implement a 40-40-20 Sourcing Program

Rather than rewrite a book on this recruiting approach, here’s a quick summary:

  • Spend 40% of your time networking and proactively getting referrals of great people. This is the real power of LinkedIn Recruiter: Searching on your connections’ connections. For example, for a construction manager’s position we contacted architects who worked with these people and not only asked who the best ones were but also found six connections that looked outstanding and asked for referrals. We then recruited these people.
  • Spend another 40% of your time searching for high quality candidates who would see your job as a career move. For example, for a controller spot for a fast-growing manufacturing company in the Midwest I found 20 people who were working in bigger companies who would see the move as a career enhancing job. It only took two emails and one phone call to have conversations with 14 of these people. This is called targeted sourcing combined with campaign marketing.
  • Spend the remaining 20% of your writing compelling job postings that outclass the competition. Shifting to a performance-qualified approach broadens the candidate pool. It starts by replacing the laundry list of must-have requirements with a summary of what the person hired will learn, do and become.

Overcoming the lottery-like statistics requires a shift from an impersonal hiring at scale mentality to a more personal and targeted approach. For hiring managers and recruiters the result will be working with fewer but more talented candidates. Job seekers need to reverse the process: Finding jobs of interest then figuring out how to get personal rather than being a statistic and complaining.