How Employers Fill Jobs: Top Hiring Sources for 2016

how employers fill jobsWhat are the top hiring sources for 2016? How do employers fill jobs today?

You may think you really care how an employer fills jobs and contracts. You just want a simple, fast, efficient way to submit your qualifications for an open job.

But what if you could beat the odds by searching for a job differently?

Let’s look at the data provided by thousands of employers to see how they made over 300 thousand hires in the past year. SilkRoad, an end-to-end HR system (meaning a system for talent acquisition, talent development, a talent portal and HRMS), released their fifth Top Sources of Hire Report (2016) which analyzed data from  1,200 companies, ranging from small to large employers. It also included anonymous data pulled from SilkRoad’s applicant tracking system.

How Employers Filled Jobs in 2016

You won’t be surprised by this information. The top three sources of hire last year were

  1. Employee referrals (22%)
  2. Job search engines (19%)
  3. Job boards (12%)

What You Need to Know

Get referred!

The best way to increase your odds of getting a job offer is to be a referred candidate. (You’ve heard this before and I’ve provided tips on how to get referred here.)

employers fill jobs

What’s The Difference Between a Job Search Engine and a Job Board?

So what’s the difference between these two things?

Job Search Engines include Indeed and Simply Hired. These platform pull job postings from many different sites/sources including job boards, online classified advertisements, and association and employer websites.

Job Boards include CareerBuilder, Monster, Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor(just to name a few). Companies pay money to post jobs on these platforms.

Job Search Engines Outperform the Boards

Hands down, Indeed leads to more hires than all the other job sites. When analyzing sources of hiring within job search engines and job boards, 58% of hires came from Indeed! Pretty powerful…

job engines versus job boards

What You Need to Know

Invest more of your time using Indeed and less time on the other boards. One caveat, there are niche or specialty job boards for certain occupations and industries. Though they may not make the list here, due to smaller numbers of hires, niche job boards are absolutely worth your time.

Focus Your Search

Because you are searching online, you’ll want to prioritize how you invest your time across all the different activities. By the way, there is such a thing as offline sources of hire which include campus recruiting, agencies, walk-ins, and events. These sources provide far fewer hires (22%) as compared to online (78%).

From all online sources, here are the top four sources of hire:

  1. Employee Referral (28%)
  2. Indeed (24%)
  3. Current Employee (15%)*
  4. Customer Career Site/Website (14%)

Note: “Current Employee” means an employee was selected for the job as in a promotion or internal hire.

source of hire

What You Need to Know

First, continue to find people who work inside companies with opportunities you are interested in. Next, create job alerts on Indeed and monitor jobs posted by companies you are interested in. And finally, go to company websites and monitor or set alerts for jobs you are interested in so you don’t miss out of them. And remember, if you are unhappy with your current job, often a move to a new department or new role can be just the fix needed to reinvigorate your career.

External and Internal Sources of Hire. Which Is better?

First, let’s see how SilkRoad has defined external and internal sources of hire.

Top external sources of hire include:

  • Indeed
  • Agencies
  • CareerBuilder
  • Campus recruiting
  • Niche job boards
  • Craigslist
  • LinkedIn
  • Job fairs
  • Monster

Top internal sources of hire:

  • Employee referral
  • Company career page/website
  • Current employee
  • Recruiter sourced
  • General referral
  • Former employee
  • Walk-in

And the winner is…

  • INTERNAL sources of hire = 58 percent
  • EXTERNAL = 42 percent

Which means if you want to play the odds, you must become connected with someone already working at that company.

Every Employer and Job Seeker Is Unique

When looking at these results of how jobs are filled, there are always exceptions to the rules. Yes, you want to follow the rules, but you will also want to know how to appropriately break them in order to stand out. Follow the instructions for every job you apply to. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go above and beyond and do more. For example, if you apply online, submitting your resume as a Word doc (when instructed to do so), that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone inside the company to act as a referral or even as an informant.

Based on how employers fill jobs today, the best job search strategy is to appropriately diversify the methods you use. The next ibest thing to do is to try really, really hard! Go after jobs with enthusiasm! This effort alone could help set you apart. Isn’t that the whole point?


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa!


Career Sherpa


Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa, and follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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