Need a Job? Get an Internal Referral: Report

The best way to find a job in 2010 is via a referral, preferably from someone inside a company. If using a social network happens to yield this result, all the better, shows a January recruiting and sourcing study.

A slight majority of full time hires in 2009--51 percent--were internal employee promotions or lateral internal moves, according to a recent study focused on hiring and employee sourcing. The report comes from CareerXroads, whose annual Source of Hire study evaluates the who, what, where and how of company hiring and recruiting trends. The jump in internal hires is up 12 percent from 2008 where internal hires accounted for 39 percent of total employee sourcing.

"The spike in internal movement is a strong artifact of the recession and suppressed many other Sources of Hire," wrote the authors of the study and founding partners in CareerXroads, Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler. "Expect internal movement to fall to more normal levels in 2010."
It's no surprise that 2009 was a tough year on hiring, but the study that polled 41 enterprise companies suggests a decrease in internal hires and some growth in external hiring in 2010 is coming.
"This year, only 10.8 percent predicted further reductions in hiring while 48 percent expect to grow and the remainder to hold steady," said the study. "If realized, the predictions for 29 percent growth in 2010 would bring the recruiting function back to front and center."
Where are recruiters looking to source job candidates in 2010? Social media, search engine optimization and reduce the number of external job boards used "major job boards particularly." The No. 1 source for external hires of full time employees was employee referrals at 27 percent. Other sources included Website job boards and social media, though social networks saw a decrease in the number of sourcers using social media to track candidates, so the technology was not as leveraged as expected. On referrals and social media, the study said:
"The yield for referrals is one hire for every 15 referrals, making this category the most efficient source by far. The growth of social media could change the dynamic of referrals and firms need
to re-examine their efforts to stay ahead of the curve."
The implication is that the best way to find a job in 2010 is via a referral, preferably from someone inside a company. If using a social network happens to yield this result, all the better. Here is how Mehler characterized the study's implications to The Wall Street Journal:
"Job seekers should use job board and corporate sites to find information about openings, but they should use their network to apply."
Some of the most telling information in the study, outside the large internal hire spike, is the lack of tracking of what the human resource industry calls "contingent" workers, or what we know as temporary, freelance, contract or consultant work--something that is expected to keep growing in 2010, especially in technology. Essentially, the report suggests that recruiters and sourcers are not responsible for tracking contingent workers at all. Here is some "contingent" perspective from the study:
"[W]e did ask firms to provide us with an estimate of the size of their contingent population. Figure 1 shows 30 percent of the respondents saying they 'really don't know and can't even guess' the size of their contingent population. The reality is that most firms do not have responsibility for managing or tracking contingent workers. Of the firms who can estimate the size of their contingent population, the average percentage reported is 13.6 percent. Some experts predict this number may double or triple in the next few years and staffing leaders not in touch with contingent workers are likely to fall behind.
The technology job board Dice, which is known for having a large base of contract and consulting opportunities, garnered .8 percent of the number of hires. By comparison, CareerBuilder took 42 percent (though the WSJ reported that one company used them extensively, hence the skewed results), while took 12 percent, Craigslist 2.8 percent and The Ladders .8 percent. A host of other sites accounted for 27 percent of external hires.