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Stop Relying on Job Boards

A number of my Getstart-ed clients and almost all of my White Hawk (outplacement) clients have landed jobs this year. Most of them found the job and gained an interview through networking or an employee referral.

Studies indicate this is typical. In addition:

· Studies show that most jobs are found through networking.

· Up to 2/3 of all open jobs are said to be hidden, that is, they never are never posted at job boards.

In spite of all the above, informal polls on LinkedIn and anecdotal evidence from my clients [that have not landed] and colleagues [generally discussing their clients’ strategy] say that most people continue to make job boards the focus of their job search.

Please, stop doing that!

I’m not saying to ditch the job boards totally. I myself landed four jobs through job boards.

I am saying the job board should not be the focus; should not be the primary strategy for your job campaign.

I advise this, because studies indicate relying on job boards as the primary strategy is similar to relying on the lottery for your retirement strategy.

Consider these odds:

· In 2018, on average, 12% of candidates who applied for jobs were asked for an interview. Out of those interviewed, 28% received a job offer.

· 41% of candidates interviewed by the largest organizations receive a job offer (20% in companies with less than 500 employees).


· Less than 1% of candidates who apply for jobs through job boards and career sites are offered the position.

· Depending on the source, between 70% (Forbes) and 85% (LinkedIn) of jobs are not posted online at all—these positions are filled via networking and internal referrals.

So, if you make the job boards the primary focus of your strategy, you are missing out on over 2/3 of the opportunities that might interest you, and you reduce your chances of being hired to around 1%!

On the other hand, if you network and find referrals, you not only gain access to more jobs, you find people to stand up for you.

Here’s a personal example:

After I was laid off from a hi-tech job in January 2013, I informed friends and colleagues. A former work colleague (Sales Director) contacted me and invited me to apply to the company where he worked as the Sales VP. I interviewed and landed the job.

Eight months later I was laid off. During the exit interview, the HR person told me how he had not wanted to hire me, but the Sales VP had stood up for me—acted as my champion—and persuaded the HR person to approve my hiring. The HR person actually apologized to me during the exit interview; said I did a great job for them.

Without networking, I might never have learned about or found the job. If I had found that job and applied via a job board, odds are I would not have had a champion to speak up for me.

In short, it makes total sense to make networking your primary strategy.

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