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The Best Ways to Get a Job [Research-Based]

Matt Glodz
The Best Ways to Get a Job [Research-Based]

2019 Recruiting, Hiring, and Job Application Trends 

There is a stark difference between how most job seekers prefer to apply for roles and the way most successful applicants end up getting hired.

Looking for a job can be overwhelming - especially if you were recently laid off, are looking for your first job out of college, or aren’t currently employed.

Before you start aggressively sending out copies your resume, let’s stop to consider what strategy is actually the most effective in landing people jobs.

Recruitment and Hiring Trends 2019

First, we’ll look at what research shows about job seeker application preferences in more detail. 

Then, we’ll look at the statistics on how most applicants actually got hired.

You may be surprised by the findings, and hopefully, they encourage you to think twice about your application strategy!

Preferred ways to apply for a job, according to job seekers

According to Glassdoor research, 51% of job seekers say they prefer to find opportunities online, and 35% of candidates say they prefer to apply for positions via their phone.

These statistics make sense, as desktop and mobile are, after all, the easiest and most convenient methods!

Jobvite’s 2019 Recruiting Benchmark Report shares interesting statistics on where job applications actually come from.

Jobvite analyzed over 13 million applications and reported that "from a pure volume perspective, 2019 shows that most applicants still come from career websites and job boards, followed by referrals."

Job boards and career sites accounted for 84.3% of all applications:

  • 49.3% of applications came from job boards
  • 34.9% of applications came from career sites

Referrals were the third-highest source of applications, making up just 2.63%!

Who actually gets hired

We know that most candidates apply for jobs online, but which applicants end up getting offers?

Is applying to jobs online an effective use of your time?

212,875 of the 13 million applicants Jobvite analyzed were ultimately hired. 

Of these 212,875 hires, the following number originally applied via:

  • Career Sites - 69,502
  • Job Boards - 45,928
  • Recruiters - 31,172
  • Referrals - 29,458
  • Internal Candidates - 19,242
  • Hiring Managers - 6,425 

However, as Jobvite explains, "looking only at the absolute numbers can be misleading if you are trying to find the most effective source."

The report confirms what we already suspected from anecdotal data:

"The sources that deliver the highest percentage of applicants don’t necessarily translate to the highest percentage of hires. After all, it’s not about the quantity of candidates, but the quality of hires."

Let's simply look at what percentage of applicants from each source were actually hired (the total number of hires divided by total number of applications for each category):

  • Hiring Managers - 32.5%
  • Internal Candidates - 25.9%
  • Recruiters - 14.1%
  • Referrals - 7.8%
  • Career Sites - 1.4%
  • Job Boards - 0.7%

To put these figures into perspective, Harvard's acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was 5.3%. 

Your odds of getting into Harvard are higher than your odds of getting a job via a career site or a job board!

What this research means for you

The Jobvite data clearly shows that you are significantly more likely to get hired if you apply for a job through a hiring manager or recruiter at the company.

If you have been applying to jobs online and aren’t hearing back, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your application strategy!

Instead of submitting your application online and passively waiting for a response, why not dig deeper?

Questions to consider include:

  • Who is the hiring manager (or leader) of the department that you applied for a job with? Can you find them on LinkedIn and send a quick introduction?
  • Who is the internal recruiter at the company dealing with the job posting? Can you find their email address or phone number?
  • Do you know anyone who works at the company who may be able to refer you?

Due to the high volume of applications and low hiring rates for candidates who apply online, it's also important to optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems if you plan to do so.

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About the AuthorMatt Glodz


Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he observed what drove the decision making of recruiters and hiring managers first-hand, noting that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his solid business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He currently works with applicants ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.


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