Job Hunting Still Comes Down to Who You Know

By Deborah Perelman  |  Posted 02-21-2007

Supporting the old adage that who you know often determines where you go, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of managers said their company looked internally for job candidates before considering applicants from the outside, according to a survey released by Hudson, a staffing company, on Feb. 21.

Yet, the survey makes it clear that this is far more than nepotism at play. Managers considered current employees as the best source of qualified talent, followed by employee and personal references.

Forty percent of managers said that internal promotions were the best way to fill an opening, 24 percent felt that employee referrals were the best, and 20 percent preferred personal recommendations.

Unsurprisingly, more than one-quarter (28 percent) of workers and one-third (33 percent) of managers surveyed had secured their jobs through networking. Among workers who earned $75,000 to $100,000 per year, an even higher amount, two-fifths (39 percent), had found their current job through networking.

"E-mail and the Internet make replying to an online job posting easier than ever, but in this situation, easy does not necessarily mean effective," said Steve Wolfe, senior vice president, Hudson North America. "Consequently, developing and maintaining a strong network of professional as well as personal contacts can mean the difference between landing an interview and getting lost in the crowd."

Though 41 percent of responding workers said that they expected to stay with their current employers for more than six years, 28 percent anticipated switching companies in the short-term. More than half (54 percent) were considered active or passive job seekers, people who either were currently looking, or would consider leaving if the right opportunity presented itself, suggesting that their employers would have many upcoming opportunities to find positions.

Read more here about employers' efforts to retain talent.

"Hiring and retaining top talent in today's job market is a challenge, which is only going to intensify as the pool of highly skilled professionals continues shrinking," added Wolfe. "This is why it is imperative for employers to not just react as jobs open up, but develop a formal recruitment strategy that provides a healthy pipeline of talent."

Wolfe is not the only workplace specialist who advocates that companies look at hiring from within as more than convenient--it can be essential to employee morale. In workplaces where employees continually see managers and directors brought in from outside the rank, they typically feel stagnant and begin looking toward the door.

"The highest levels of workplace retention are in environments where there is a clear investment in the career track of individuals. It brings people in and when you can see what development roles are laid out for people," said Kevin Young, VP of EMEA Sales for SkillSoft, a provider of content and technology for IT professionals.

The Hudson survey also found that just 14 percent of workers had their resumes available online. Among them, workers were equally divided between those who thought their company knew it was online (41 percent) and those who did not (42 percent).

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