According to the Department of Labor, 235,000 more people got jobs last month. While impressive job growth, the quality of these jobs and how they got them is what should matter. To get a sense of this it's worth reviewing the details in a comprehensive study just released by Lever – a hiring management system used by small and mid-sized companies around the world – that describes how their 600+ smaller clients hired 15,000 people.
The big news is that 1.5 million people applied for these 15,000 jobs. That's only 1% of the total. So if you're a job seeker it's pretty depressing news. However, digging deeper into the numbers tells a different story.
As both a successful contingency recruiter for 10 years and retained recruiter for another 15, these numbers overall seem pretty accurate to me. However, there's a big mix difference when hiring for more senior-level staff and mid-management positions. My estimate is that for these types of jobs less than 20% are filled via people who apply online, 40% are referrals (including recruiting firms and staffing agencies) and 40% are direct sourced.
For job seekers, the specifics matter less than how the information is used to get a better job. Here are some ideas I've been dispensing for years with a few new twists.
The Lever data is insightful. While primarily designed to help companies design better-recruiting practices, it's invaluable for job seekers, too. Knowing how to beat the system allows you to concentrate your efforts where they'll do the most good.