New Source of Hire Study: Job Boards Are Leading Source of External Hires

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A new study by HR technology provider SilkRoad shows that jobs search site is the leading source of external hires for its 700+ customers, providing 42 percent more new employees than CareerBuilder, the No. 2 source.

Overall, the SilkRoad results show job boards accounting for a high percentage of hires that aren’t either internal candidates, referred by employees, or come through the company career site.

SilkRoad pulled the source of hire data directly from its clients’ OpenHire systems. Doing it that way, says SilkRoad, yielded data from “200,000 job postings, 9.4 million applicants, and over 100,000 hires.”

In reporting the results on the company blog, SilkRoad said that because its OpenHire system automates candidate source tracking, “The metrics in this study offer a uniquely accurate measure of source effectiveness.”

55% of hires come from three sources

What SilkRoad found is that 55 percent of the total hires came from three sources: internal employee candidates, employee referrals, and company career sites. The balance of the candidates primarily came from job boards, which, in addition to Indeed and CareerBuilder, included Monster, Craigslist, LinkedIn, and SimplyHired.

SilkRoad noted that its data is more reliable than that used in other studies. “Prior research has been less than adequate, based on survey data from relatively small sample sizes,” the company says on its blog.

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Interestingly, the most recent source of hire study to be released — and the only one that has been publicly released for over a decade – tracks surprisingly well in some areas with what SilkRoad found. Released last month by the talent consultancy CareerXroads, the study found job boards provided a high percentage of all external hires.

Better numbers, better comparisons

CareerXroads principals and report authors Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler compiled their results from 36 responses to their survey. Yet, they found that internal candidates, employee referrals, and corporate career sites combined accounted for about 63 percent of the hires.

They reported their results differently, for instance counting employee referrals and corporate sites as sources of external hires and reporting the results individually. Still, when it came to job boards, their results show Indeed accounts for slightly more hires than does CareerBuilder, while Monster, Craigslist, and SimplyHired provide fewer hired candidates.

The numbers certainly don’t line up anywhere nearly precisely, but having as much similarity as exists between the results offers recruiters and HR leaders firmer ground for their own comparisons. And more results can be expected. SilkRoad says, “Stay tuned as we continue to dig deeper into this data to share more findings on source effectiveness”

John Zappe is the former editor of and contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor before transitioning to digital media. In 1994, he launched one of the  first newspaper sites. Before joining ERE Media , John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group where he developed and managed a team of developers, content producers and digital advertising and marketing specialists.

Today, John is a contract writer producing whitepapers, blog posts, thought leadership articles and marketing content and managing  social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing.His website is

In his spare time he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.