In 2009, these large US company reported that 51% of the hirings were internal. This is much higher than the normal rate of 35% for internal hirings, but even in the usual case this is a very significant figure. Think about this for a minute; more than one third (last year one half) of open positions in corporations are filled by people already working at the company, either those receiving a promotion or making a lateral transfer. For job seekers on the outside looking in, this can be a depressing figure, but you can also use this to target companies that are interesting to you and consider accepting a position at a level lower than your main objective, knowing that once you are an employee and doing a good job, you may be much better placed to get the targeted role. Most intuitively recognize this, but at least for me, seeing such a big figure associated with this statistic adds credence to such an approach.
Now let’s take a look at the breakdown of jobs that are sourced externally. Of these (one half to two thirds of all opportunities), it is instructive to see how the times have changed. Here are the top five employer sources, then and now:
- Then (1997) – Newspaper (29%), Referrals (20%), Agencies/Recruiters (19%), Job Fairs (8%), Internet (2%)
- Now - Referrals (27%), Job Boards (13%), Company Career Site (22%), College (6%) and Direct Sourcing (7%)
Referrals remain dominant. If we break down the source of these referrals, again you may find some surprises: The main source of referral is employee, but others include: alumni, friends, vendors and customers. Most of us, when we think of seeking a referral, we focus exclusively on current employees at the company. What we need to do is broaden our approach, as past employees, as well as trusted vendors/customers can also serve as facilitators to your targeted company.
Companies have diverse ways of finding employees. Job seekers need to tap into this, and make themselves visible through all means possible.