Talent Acquisition Fast Facts – Referrals, on the Decline?

Fact, 46% of referrals stay at a company for three years or more, compared to just 14% of those hired via traditional job boards. Geared with this information, one would think referrals should be at the top of every company’s source of hire, right?

According to CareerXRoads’ latest Source of Hire survey, this is precisely the case. According to feedback from more than 6,000 recruiters and sourcers, referrals are the No. 1 source of external hires (19.2%) among U.S. organizations.

However, this number is down from 28% (-8.8%) in 2011. Why might this be? What else has changed over the past 2-3 years, and what are organizations doing to overcome recruiting challenges? Could the crux of this issue be a lack of transparency/understanding of organization-wide talent acquisition?

For a closer look at the CareerXRoads data, we turn to this week’s Talent Acquisition Fast Facts:

Knowing the true source of the talent you hire is vital for many reasons. For instance, it helps talent acquisition better understand the quality of their sourcing efforts, ultimately helping organizations become more proactive and strategic in their approaches to recruiting.

According to CareerXRoads, the top-5 sources of hire are as follows:


1.) Referrals (19.2%) 
2.) Career sites (19.1%) 
3.) Job Boards (15.4%) 
4.) Directly Sourced (12.1%) 
5.) College (7.5%)


1.) Referrals (28.0%) 
2.) Job Boards (20.1%) 
3.) Career Sites (9.8%) 
4.) Directly sourced (9.1%) 
5.) College (6.6%)

Given the fact that referrals are highly sought after and a key component of high retention, are you surprised referrals have actually decreased by 8.8% since 2011? What could be the cause of this sizable decrease? What about career sites increasing in usage by 9.3% over the same time period?

37 5-percent-of-internal-talent-acquisition-functions-do-not-handle-the-full-scope-of-hiring-for-their-organizations.png

62.5% of organizations’ talent acquisition functions say they “touch or know about” every full-time hire or move within the organization.

  • 37.5% admit their talent acquisition functions do not match the full “scope” of full-time hiring. 

Is this alarming, the fact that nearly 40% of talent acquisition leaders say they don’t “touch or know about” every full-time hire or move within their organizations? What are the pitfalls of talent acquisition leaders being out of the loop when it comes to organizational hiring decisions?

41.9% of all openings in the U.S. are filled through internal movement and promotions. 

The fact that approximately 42% of all openings by U.S. organizations are filled through internal movement and promotions is encouraging. Or is it? With 40% of organization’s talent acquisition leaders admitting to not knowing about or touching every full-time hire, how can they be sure the right talent is being moved up or across the organization?

1 in 6 workers (16.6%) are contingent (i.e., non-permanent, freelance). According to responding organizations, contingent workers are “generally not tracked by talent acquisition or talent management.”

Strategic sourcing is a vital component of effective talent acquisition; some would argue it’s the most vital component. Without sourcing there would be no candidates and, subsequently, there would be no hires.

  • Recognizing the importance of strategic sourcing, 60.5% of responding firms have a “separate, full-time sourcing group.” 30.2% utilize full-cycle recruiters who conduct sourcing as needed.

This highlights the importance of experienced, strategic recruiters. But are today’s internal recruiters meeting their organization’s/clients’ demands? According to research conducted by ERE, hiring managers give their organization’s recruitment function a C+ grade.

More than 50% of all U.S. organizations are partnering with Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) providers for strategic talent acquisition and talent management support in some form—as a way to gain full transparency into the hiring process, improve workforce quality, engagement and retention, dedicate experts to a particular role or function, and inspire many other operational and financial benefits.

RPO continues to grow in prominence, both nationally and globally. Are you interested in learning about the benefits of RPO, have questions or want to measure your current provider against industry benchmarks? Creating the Business Case for RPO answers these and many other pertinent questions.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the above source of hire data on Twitter and/or the Cielo Facebook page!

Submit Comment