Facts about Hiring

FACT: Survey of 411 human resources recruiters (2014 Society for Human Resource Management survey: “Résumés, Cover Letters and Interviews” survey, 4/28/14):

  • Although two-thirds (66%) of organizations prefer chronological résumés, which list education and experience in reverse chronological order, government agencies (30%) prefer functionally organized résumés more than private-sector organizations do (18%).
  • Government agencies (34%) are more likely than private-sector organizations (20%) to consider a missing cover letter a mistake. Smaller organizations (those with fewer than 500 employees) (33%) are more likely to consider a missing cover letter a mistake than are larger organizations (17%).
  • Government agencies are more likely to use panel interviews and structured interviews, whereas private-sector organizations are more likely to use semi-structured interviews and screening interviews. Although online interviews are rarely used, they are more likely to be used by larger employers (100 or more employees), as are structured interviews and panel interviews.
  • Only 4% of private-sector employers (and 15% in the government sector) believe an interviewee should try to explain in their cover letter (or résumé) why they were fired or laid off from a position. Seventy-seven percent of respondents believe this information should only be relayed during the interview.
  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents indicated that job candidates should neither emphasize nor hide gaps in employment, while 39% indicated candidates should clearly indicate gaps in employment. Only 2% agreed that gaps were not relevant.
  • The majority of respondents said they prefer to receive résumés through their organization’s website.
  • It takes most HR professionals less than five minutes to determine whether a job candidate will proceed to the next step of the selection process.

FACT: According to Jobvite’s 2014 hiring report, 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet candidates, yet only 36 percent of job seekers are active on the site. (U.S. News and World Report, 2/12/14)

FACT: According to Jobvite’s 2014 hiring report, 40 percent of job seekers found their best or favorite job through a personal connection, and 64 percent of recruiters rate the referred candidates as the “highest quality. Social networks and corporate career sites tied for second place, with 59 percent of recruiters citing it for high quality hires. (U.S. News and World Report, 2/12/14)

FACT: More than 75% of recruiting/human resources professionals have used social media networks to hire someone (June, 2013, Jobvite survey; US News, 9/11/13):

  • 92% of them used LinkedIn.
  • 24% of them used Facebook.
  • 14% of them used Twitter.

FACT: The vast majority (93%) of recruiting/human resources professionals say they’re likely to look at the social media profiles of job candidates (June, 2013, Jobvite survey; US News, 9/11/13).

FACT: Where recruiting/human resources professionals say they find the “highest-rated” job candidates (June, 2013, Jobvite survey; US News, 9/11/13):

  • The majority (61%) are discovered via referrals and corporate career sites.
  • Very few (14%) are discovered on job boards.

FACT: According to a recent study, the chances of an unemployed job-searcher getting called in for an interview drop dramatically once they’ve been out of work for six months or longer (The Atlantic, 4/13/13):

  • The study was performed by Rand Ghayad (a scholar at the Boston Fed and a PhD candidate in economics at Northeastern University) and William Dickens (a professor of economics at Northeastern University).
  • Ghayad sent out 4,800 fictitious resumes to 600 job openings, with 3,600 of them for fake unemployed people. Among the 3,600, he varied how long they'd been out of work, how often they'd switched jobs, and whether they had any industry experience. Everything else was kept constant. The mocked-up resumes were all male, all had randomly-selected (and racially ambiguous) names, and all had similar education backgrounds.
  • The average callback rate for those unemployed for six months or longer (with industry experience): less than 2%.
  • The average callback rate for those unemployed “medium” length of time (with industry experience): 14%.
  • The average callback rate for the “short-term” unemployed (with industry experience): 16%.
  • The average callback rate for the short-term unemployed with NO industry experience: 9%.

FACT: 49% of the companies surveyed in 2012 said they were using personality and competency assessments to evaluate current employees and job candidates. (That’s an increase from 40% in 2011.) The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is used by 89 of the nation's Fortune 100 companies. Other assessment tools include: ProfileXT, DiSC, Keirsey Temperament Sorter and others (Aberdeen Group survey; Workforce magazine, 1/28/13).

FACT: “Duncan Mathison, an outplacement executive and co-author of the 2009 book "Unlock the Hidden Job Market," concedes that anything hidden is difficult to measure but, by parsing labor statistics and recruiting surveys, he calculates that around 50% of positions are currently filled on an informal basis” [when the hiring manager promotes a current employee or hires an outsider he knows personally]. (Wall St. Journal, 1/8/13)

FACT: “This year through June 18, there were 67 CFO changes among the 1,000 large companies tracked by executive-recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International. That translates to an annualized turnover rate of 15% — compared with 12% in each of the past two years” (Wall St. Journal, 6/25/12).

FACT: “Hiring an outsider typically is more costly than promoting from within, recruiters say. ‘A CFO brought in from the outside often has to be compensated for perceived risk, relocation’ and other factors that don't apply to internal candidates, Egon Zehnder's Mr. Dhingra said. Companies also try to compensate ‘for part or all of the unvested equity or deferred compensation’ that incoming CFOs may be leaving behind at their prior employer, he said” (Wall St. Journal, 6/25/12).

FACT: According to a formal eye-tracking study of job recruiters by The Ladders, it takes the typical recruiter six seconds to determine if a resume they’re looking at for the first time deserves continued review or can be removed from consideration. The six things they spend 80% of their time reviewing are (Yahoo News, 4/11/12):

  1. The candidate’s name.
  2. Current job title and employer.
  3. Previous job titles and employers.
  4. How long the candidate has been in their current position.
  5. How long the candidate was in their previous positions.
  6. The candidate’s education history.

FACT: Adding pictures and graphs to a resume or online profile is distracting to job recruiters and reduces the recruiter’s decision-making ability (formal eye-tracking study of job recruiters by The Ladders; Yahoo News, 4/11/12).

FACT: “Only 19% of hiring managers at small companies look at a majority of the résumés they receive, and 47% say they review just a few, according to a recent survey by Information Strategies Inc., publisher of Your HR Digest, an online newsletter” (Wall St. Journal, 1/24/12).

FACT: The costs of hiring a new employee now averages $3,479 (research by human-resources consulting firm Bersin & Associates; Wall St. Journal, 1/24/12).

FACT: "Starbucks Corp. attracted 7.6 million job applicants over the past 12 months for about 65,000 corporate and retail job openings; Procter & Gamble Inc. got nearly a million applications last year for 2,000 new positions plus vacant jobs" (Wall St. Journal, 1/24/12).

FACT: “Most recruiters report that at least 50% of job hunters don't possess the basic qualifications for the jobs they are pursuing” (Wall St. Journal, 1/24/12).

FACT: “At many large companies, applicant tracking systems screen out about half of all resumes, says John Sullivan, a management professor at San Francisco State University” (Wall St. Journal, 1/24/12).

FACT: “The deep, dark secret of human resources is that traditional job interviews don't work very well. In fact, there's been quite a bit of research on the topic. One example is a famous experiment that Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal of Harvard did in 1992, with videotapes of traditional interviews. People who saw 10-second clips of an interview had roughly the same opinion of the interview subject as did the actual interviewer — making a strong case that job interviewers go by first appearances and are fooling themselves into believing they've gleaned additional information from everything that comes after,” (Wall St. Journal, 12/31/11).

FACT: According to a study from Bersin & Associates, a human-resources advisory firm, “Companies with more than 10,000 employees world-wide pay a median figure of $1,949 per hire, compared with midsize companies, which pay $3,632, and small firms, which pay $3,665.” The reason: “Small and medium-sized organizations tend to have fewer dedicated recruitment employees, they often have to outsource hiring, which ‘can be very expensive,’ says Josh Bersin, chief executive and president of Bersin & Associates. Of the industries analyzed, manufacturers had the highest recruitment costs per hire, with median spending of $6,443. That's because those jobs require specialized skills like familiarity with particular types of equipment or software, Bersin says. Health-care companies had the lowest costs, at $2,127, because the skill and certification requirements for many medical positions, such as nurses, are rigidly defined, which simplifies hiring, Mr. Bersin says” (Wall St. Journal, 11/28/11).

FACT: “In some companies, in industries such as retail, turnover rates among hourly workers are as high as 80% to well over 100%” (according to Joan C. Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, who studies work-life issues; Wall St. Journal, 10/3/11).

FACT: “Replacing a single hourly employee can cost some 30% or more of a worker's annual salary” (according to Joan C. Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, who studies work-life issues; Wall St. Journal, 10/3/11).

FACT: Human resources managers spend just 30 to 60 seconds reviewing a resume (survey of human resources managers by CareerBuilder.com; Workforce Talent, 9/8/11).

FACT: Human resources managers receive, on average, 25 applications for every job opening (survey of human resources managers by CareerBuilder.com; Workforce Talent, 9/8/11).

FACT: “Recruiters say finding people who will move is an obstacle in an executive search” (Wall St. Journal, 9/2/11).

FACT: Managers in a multinational corporation can “be expected” to relocate six to eight times in their career with the company (Peter Crist, chairman of executive search firm Crist|Kolder Associates; Wall St. Journal, 9/2/11).

FACT: 64% of recruiters say they use two or more social-media networks (primarily Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter) to find candidates. About 40% report using three or more of these networks. Of all the social-media networks (most notably Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, BranchOut and BeKnown), the vast majority of respondents (84%), say they use LinkedIn (Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey 2011 — a survey of 800 recruiters and HR professionals; Workforce Management ezine, 8/25/11).

FACT: Management assessments are booming again as companies scramble to find the best leaders amid a hiring rebound. Companies are using business-simulation exercises, role-playing, online personality tests and sit-down talks with an educational psychologist to gauge key traits of C-suite candidates. According to market-research firm Aberdeen Group, 72% of the 516 employers it surveys are now using assessments to help make executive promotion decisions — nearly a 100% increase from 2010. Assessing a C-suite candidate can cost up to $30,000 and last two days (Wall St. Journal, 5/12/11).

FACT: In 2010, companies hired 58% of their interns — the highest rate of intern-to-staff hiring since this method of hiring started being tracked in 2001 (National Association of Colleges and Employers, study; CNN Money, 4/28/11).

FACT: In 2010, 86.5% of the interns offered jobs accepted them — a slight increase from 2009 when 83.9% accepted these offers (National Association of Colleges and Employers, study; CNN Money, 4/28/11).

FACT: Where companies have the most success finding new-hires (Jobs2web analysis of 1.3 million applications and 26,000 hires in 2010; Wall St. Journal, 4/4/11):

  1. Employee referrals (one new-hire for every 10 employee referrals received).
  2. Company career site (one new-hire for every 33 applications received via the company’s own career site).
  3. Social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook (one new-hire for every 116 applications received via social networks).
  4. Large job boards (one new-hire for every 219 applications received via a job-board posting on Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and other “major” job boards).

FACT: According to the latest CareerXroads’ survey of employers, 50.3% of all jobs are filled by promotions and internal transfers of current employees. Plus, the research shows this internal-hiring trend is only growing stronger: In 2005, just 38% of jobs were filled by internal candidates, compared to 50.3% today (10th annual CareerXroads Source of Hire Study, 3/11).

FACT: According to the latest CareerXroads’ survey of employers, 27.5% of the people hired from outside the company were referred by current employees (10th annual CareerXroads Source of Hire Study, 3/11).

FACT: According to CareerXroads’ surveys from 2005 through 2009, employers typically find about 13% of their new-hires (people hired from outside the company) via job listings posted on job boards. However, in the 2010 survey, employers reported that 25% of their new-hires were coming via job boards (9th and 10th annual CareerXroads Source of Hire Study, 2/10 and 3/11).

FACT: According to the latest CareerXroads’ survey of employers, 18.8% of their new-hires (people hired from outside the company) used the company’s website to find and apply for open positions. However, the researchers are quick to point out the major flaw in this statistic: Many of the job-seekers who end up on a company career page were routed there via other sources, such as job-board postings, referrals, etc. (10th annual CareerXroads Source of Hire Study, 3/11).

FACT: According to a December, 2010, survey from the Corporate Executive Board, about 24% of companies plan to decrease their usage of third-party employment websites and job boards this year, because, they say, the tools generate “mostly unqualified leads.” In place of job boards, nearly 80% of the survey respondents said they plan to increase their use of alternative hiring methods, such as employee referrals and social media websites (Wall St. Journal, 1/18/11).

FACT: Although 63% of recruiters and recruiting supervisors say their organizations use social media to search for job candidates, the success rate is relatively low. Almost 53% of those organizations said 10% or fewer of their hires came through social networking. That said, more than half of senior recruiting executives say they expect their companies to increase the use of social networking to attract talent in the next 12 to 18 months (December 2010 Workforce Management survey; Workforce Management magazine, 2/11).

FACT: Reasons employers cited for not using social media more often to search for candidates (December 2010 Workforce Management survey; Workforce Management magazine, 2/11):

  • Too difficult to find the right candidate = 44%
  • Risk of litigation (from learning too much about a candidate, such as age, sexual orientation, disability, race or other person information) = 31%

FACT: “Employers use credit reports to screen workers because they say they believe it allows them to predict future behavior based on financial history.” Today, some 60% of employers use credit reports for some or all of their background checks (Workforce Management magazine, 11/10).

FACT: 48% of HR managers say they typically review up to 25 applications for open positions (CareerBuilder survey of 2,500 employers; Workplace Management, 9/16/10).

FACT: "State universities have become the favorite of companies recruiting new hires because their big student populations and focus on teaching practical skills gives the companies more bang for their recruiting buck" (Wall St. Journal, 9/13/10).

FACT: "According to a Wall Street Journal survey of top corporate recruiters whose companies last year hired 43,000 new graduates: Big state schools Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were the top three picks among recruiters surveyed. Recruiters made clear they preferred big state schools over elite liberal arts schools, such as the Ivies" (Wall St. Journal, 9/13/10).

FACT: "The trend towards intern pool hiring [hiring interns for full-time jobs] has come on very strong in the past three to five years, according to Monica Wilson, acting co-director of career services at Dartmouth College. 'Internship recruiting will largely replace entry-level recruiting in the next few years,' she says" (Wall St. Journal, 9/13/10).

FACT: "A quarter of the nearly 480 respondents to The Wall Street Journal's survey of college recruiters said more than 50% of their new-graduate hires had been interns at their companies; 14% said more than 75% were. Similarly, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported in its 2010 Internship & Co-op Survey that nearly 57% of students from the class of 2009 were converted from interns to full-time hires, up from 50% the previous year" (Wall St. Journal, 9/13/10).

FACT: More than 80% of the new-graduates General Electric Co. hires each year have worked as interns for the company, according to Steve Canale, head of GE's recruiting efforts (Wall St. Journal, 9/13/10).

FACT: "Recruiter salaries, travel expenses, advertising and relocation costs run upwards of $500,000 to recruit 100 college grads, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers" (Wall St. Journal, 9/13/10).

FACT: On average, 21% of job seekers are taken out of consideration by hiring managers after a check of their professional references (survey of 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees by OfficeTeam, a division of Robert Half International, Inc.; Workforce Management magazine, 6/23/10).

FACT: To recruit a white collar worker, it typically costs the company about half the position's annual salary (Right Management estimate, Wall St. Journal, 5/25/10).

FACT: Only 27% of large companies (those with at least 500 employees) have a formal process for declining external candidates (CareerXroads survey of 56 large employers; Wall St. Journal, 1/26/10).

FACT: Some experts report that up to 85% of hiring managers "Google" a candidate soon before or after an interview (Wall St. Journal, 3/14/10).

FACT: When reviewing the resumes of candidates, 75% of HR managers report that they don't look at the LinkedIn and other social-media profiles (Society for Human Resource Management survey of nearly 500 HR professionals; Wall St. Journal, 11/14/09).

FACT: Percentage of employers reporting that they perform background screening in the following areas (HireRight survey of 1,400 employers; Workforce Management e-zine, 9/24/09):

  • Identity (documents, address history, etc.) = 72%
  • Criminal = 93%
  • Employment (previous employers, etc.) = 72%
  • Education = 63%
  • References = 48%
  • Motor vehicle records = 57%
  • Credit = 42%
  • Sanctions (exclusion lists, prohibited parties, enforcement, etc.) = 16%
  • Regulated (health care, transportation, finance, education, etc.) = 14%
  • Other = 3%

FACT: 40% of employers say they expect to hire back some of the workers they laid off in the recession (as full-time employees, consultants or freelancers). About half of financial companies surveyed said they planned to rehire workers, and 47% of manufacturing companies said the same (OI Partners survey; U.S. News and World Report, 9/17/09).

FACT: 61% of hiring managers are willing to negotiate higher compensation for qualified candidates (CareerBuilder.com and Robert Half International Inc. survey of 500 hiring managers, 8/25/09).

FACT: The average time it takes a company to recruit a new full-time employee: 4.5 to 14.4 weeks (CareerBuilder.com and Robert Half International Inc. survey of 500 hiring managers, 8/25/09).

FACT: The average per-employee cost paid to an outplacement firm (by a company looking for a new employee): $7,518 for an executive; $3,793 for a manager; $2,615 for a salaried employee; $1,472 for an hourly employee (American Management Association and Institute for Corporate Productivity 2009 survey of 355 employers; Wall St. Journal, 8/20/09).

FACT: Even in slow periods, the typical corporate headhunter is scrambling to fill 20 positions at a time (Wall St. Journal, 5/5/09).

FACT: 23% of senior manager say cover letters are "very valuable;" 63% say they're "somewhat valuable;" and 14% say they're "not valuable at all" (Office Team survey of 150 senior executives; McClatchy Newspapers, 4/10/09).

FACT: "Recruiters say the percentage of online applications viewed by an actual human being ranges from 5% to 25%." The other 75% to 95% are purely screened by automated applicant tracking systems (Wall St. Journal, 3/5/09).

FACT: Sixty-one companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index changed CEOs during 2008, up from 56 a year earlier (survey by executive search firm Spencer Stuart; Wall St. Journal, 2/3/09).

FACT: "The stock performance of 23 companies that performed their own CEO search (and brought in an outsider) was better than 117 companies that used one of the big four recruiting firms to hire an outside CEO. The stock price for the do-it-yourself companies beat the S&P 500 by an average of 34% over the 12 months following the CEO's date of hire; the stock price for companies who had professional help beat the S&P by 12%" (Forbes study, Forbes magazine, 2/2/09).

FACT: "The amount most public companies pay an outside recruiting firm to find a chief executive is typically a flat $1 million, or about one-third of that CEO's first-year cash compensation" (Forbes magazine, 2/2/09).

FACT: The world's four largest executive-recruiting firms are: Heidrick & Struggles, Korn/Ferry International, Russell Reynolds Associates, Spencer Stuart (Forbes magazine, 2/2/09).

FACT: Only about 3% of jobs are filled by outside headhunters (year 2000 Forrester Research study; Seattle Times, 1/18/09).

FACT: "While the vast majority of companies — about 90% — perform background checks on potential employees, the vetting process can vary widely. Practices range from simply contacting references provided by candidates to hiring an outside investigator to check employment history, academic credentials, credit history, press coverage and legal and criminal records" (Wall St. Journal, 11/17/08).

FACT: 61% of HR professionals say they "often" or "sometimes" uncover false claims when vetting prospective hires (2004 survey of HR professionals, Society for Human Resource Management; Wall St. Journal, 11/17/08).

FACT: Executive job candidates most frequently lie about reasons for leaving a previous post, results and accomplishments, and past job responsibilities. Academic credentials were the fifth most-frequently exaggerated type of information. (2004 survey of consultants at executive recruiter Korn/Ferry International, Wall St. Journal, 11/17/08.)

FACT: More than 80% of mid- and large-size companies use personality and ability assessments for entry- and mid-level positions (Scott Erker, a senior vice president at Development Dimensions International, a global human-resources consultancy Wall St. Journal, 8/26/08).

FACT: 43% of hiring managers say they spend one minute or less looking at a resume when first reviewing applications; 14 % spend less than 30 seconds (CarrerBuilder.com survey, July 30, 2008).

FACT: "Only 8% of job applicants admit stretching the truth on their resumes. However, nearly half (49%) of hiring managers report they've caught a candidate lying on their resume. Of those employers, 57% said they automatically dismissed the applicant." (CareerBuilder.com survey of more than 3,100 hiring managers and over 8,700 workers nationwide, conducted from May 22 to June 13, 2008.)

FACT: "In the past five years, 60% of companies have increased their use of personality and ability assessments in the hiring process to confirm a candidate's cultural fit or skill competency" (Spherion Corp. survey of more than 500 human-resources professionals at U.S. companies; Wall St. Journal, 1/22/08).

FACT: A pre-hire personality or ability assessment "is almost an absolute for jobs that pay salaries of $300,000 and up" (survey of more than 500 human-resources professionals at U.S. companies by Spherion Corp., a staffing firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla; Wall St. Journal, 1/22/08).

FACT: The employee turnover rate for the fast-food industry is 300% annually — which means every year all employees need to be replaced three times (Fast Company magazine, 5/07).

FACT: "At 1,000 large companies, annual turnover of executives listed in proxy statements between 2002 and 2004 was 17%. When a new CEO was promoted from within, executive turnover rose to 22%. When a new CEO was hired from outside, executive turnover rose to 33%. 'Involuntary turnover' was 7.5% typically. When a CEO was promoted from within, involuntary turnover increased to 12.5%. When new CEO from outside, involuntary turnover increased to 26%." (Wall St. Journal study, 4/24/07.)

FACT: Head-hunters typically receive 20% to 25% of the first-year salary for placing a permanent employee (Seattle Times, 7/06).

FACT: The industry average hiring cycle time for companies using talent-management services is 48 days (Taleo survey, 1/25/06).


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