As you a already well aware, I believe that job boards won’t exist in the future and that the transaction between hiring managers and applicants will be completely networked. Therefore, your network will become your only insurance policy and people will become the ultimate asset to your career.  You won’t be conducting a job search because you won’t need to.  Instead, you’ll be locating people who work for companies you’re actually interested in and they will process the “transaction” on your behalf.  This saves companies a lot of money and creates a more emotional and relationship-based job search instead of a submission (to a black hole!).

How are people finding jobs today?

I conducted a survey on this blog for the past few months to see how people were getting jobs and test my hypothesis.  The sample size was 220 and I’ll leave this survey active till I hit around 500 and then report back.  As you’ll notice, 64% of people found their last job through a referral and only 5% found a job through social media.

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Adoption is slow for social recruiting. Most people think social media is mainstream, yet I don’t think it is at all.  Social media has mainstream awareness, yet is not adopted by the mainstream as much as you think it is.  There aren’t even 20 million people on Twitter and some people aren’t even on Facebook yet.  Also, there are less than a thousand recruiters on LinkedIn and most companies aren’t promoting jobs through social media either.  I don’t think a lot of recruiters are comfortable or trained in how to use social media for recruitment and I think job seekers are clueless as well.  In the future, you’ll obviously see a lot more recruiting on these networks.
  2. Correlation between social media and referrals. What isn’t accounted for in this study is how many people are networking using social media tools to get jobs.  Basically, are people maintaining relationships with people they’ve met years ago through social networks?  If so, then there might be some overlap here.  Social media tools allow you to reconnect with past friends and acquaintances, both directly and indirectly.  They get to keep in touch with you based on what you share and you get to connect with them directly using these tools.
  3. Job boards for “bulk hires.” Social media isn’t great for bulk hires.  A bulk hire is when a company needs to hire fifty engineers that have the same job description.  It’s smarter just to list these in a job board.  Networking is one to one and cannot be done otherwise.

Executives depend on their network

A recent survey by ExecuNet, which is the top job board for 100K+ job seekers, states that 73% of executives tapped their network to get their last job. When it comes to the executive level of a company, more people have you know about you than you know.  Based on your reputation and the relationship you have with other executives or the CEO, you can get the job you want, even if you aren’t applying for it.  Executives rely on networking much more than college students and young professionals because those jobs require a lot more credibility, trust, loyalty and leadership skills.

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Executives are passive job seekers. A lot of executives are recruited for positions applying for them because there are very few spots available at the top of corporate hierarchies, so filling them requires careful planning and searching.  In fact, there are positions at companies (I know EMC has one) that call for executive recruiters, who interview other executives from companies.
  2. They spend years building their networks. Most executives are older and not teenagers or recent graduates.  They have spent years building their network, which is already at their disposal when they are looking to find another job.
  3. High visibility based on their title. Most executives are corporate spokespeople, which means that they get quoted in the media.  The media that writes about them is typically in their industry, so if they are looking for a job outside of that industry, it might not help them as much.  As we always say, visibility creates opportunities, so it makes it easier for an executives to find a new job.
  4. No time to “waste online.” As you climb the corporate ladder, you get paid more, but also have to put in more hours.  91% of executives don’t maintain an online profile because they 1) feel that they don’t need it based on their status and 2) don’t have the time to maintain it.