The International Association of Employment Web Sites recently released a study examining where job candidates are searching for job opportunities, and where organizations are hiring their candidates from. This study – the 2015 Source of Employment Survey – evaluated the hiring landscape by speaking with both candidates and recruiters throughout 2014 to find out where job seekers find their jobs, and where talent acquisition teams find their candidates. The study also compared their 2014 results to the results found in 2006.


The top way for candidates to find jobs in 2014 was by “responding to an ad posted on a commercial job board” such as Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, or some other site. This result as almost one fourth of total respondents at 24.5%. Interestingly, however, is that this number has dropped since 2006, when 31.7% of job candidates were finding their opportunities on a job board. Although the drop off is not huge (less than 8%), it does indicate something significant: candidates aren’t relying solely on online job boards the way they were in 2006.

What changed for candidates in the eight year span between these two data points? Referrals and company websites. Keeping in mind that between 2006 and 2014 there was a recession, getting a foot in the door became more important than ever. With so many people responding to online postings, candidates needed to find a way to separate themselves from their competition, and thus a surge in referrals came about. In 2014, a candidate “referred by an employee of the company” was the second-most used method for finding a job at 12.8%, compared to 2006 when this method wasn’t even used. Additionally, candidates “responded to an ad posted on a company website” came in at 10.2% of those surveyed, which was also not found in 2006. The reason for this likely has to do with the advancements and increased usage in mobile technology, as well as company websites being better designed and easier to apply to jobs on. Additionally, aggregate sites such as Indeed which serve as a job board will also redirect to the original posting many of the time, adding to this statistic.

One statistic that dropped off entirely was that, in 2006, 9.5% of applicants “responded to a newspaper ad” to find their position. In 2014 that statistic was notably absent. This is because newspapers are considered too outdated to be reliable, and generally not worth investing in to find prospects. Additionally, applicants are recognizing the importance of getting an application in as soon as they see a job posting, since they believe the longer they wait the harder it will be to get that position. Thus, responding to newspaper listings isn’t just outdated for today’s applicant – it’s counterproductive.

This information reinforces the importance of a contemporary talent acquisition strategy. With more candidates relying on message boards and your company’s website than ever before, now is the time to evaluate digital options for job listings, and then execute a strategy that meets those areas. Furthermore, with more candidates finding their jobs through referrals, it would be wise to invest in an employee referral program that not only rewards employees who bring you good candidates, but keeps employees actively looking on your behalf – especially since candidates are already looking to your employees anyway. Finally, pull away from older, outdated channels such as newspaper ads. They don’t have the payoff they once did, and the best candidates aren’t looking there anyway.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can help build a strong strategy for your talent acquisition campaign. And, if you’re looking to implement pre-hire assessments but aren’t sure if your company needs them, read this e-book on must-ask questions before beginning a hiring assessment process below: