Jobs in a Recession Survey Results 1: Recent Hires Got Jobs Via Referral from Friends, Colleagues, Alumni, or Family

Most Got Jobs from Referrals from Friends, Colleagues, Alumni, or Family

This is part 1 of an ongoing community project to help people understand how to get jobs during a recession.

This data is slightly skewed towards those that are already active in social media as the survey went to those within my network on my blog and the highly connected Twitter community. There were 214 respondents to the survey although this graphic only represents those who got jobs since Sept 2008 (71 respondents) that represent those that were hired during the announcement of the recession. This is a personal research project, and is not tied to my employer, clients, or anyone else for that matter.

Finding 1: Most Recent Hires Got Jobs from Referrals from Friends, Colleagues, Alumni, or Family
This is just the data from the 71 respondents that got hired since Sept 2008 (since the recession started).

  • Most (43%) get their jobs through their immediate online network of friends, colleagues, alumni, or family.
  • Although a big gap the second (12%) most used method was through online job boards or websites.
  • Some suggested on Twitter that in Europe or Asia this is the primary method of job seeking –unlike the highly wired online job market in US, I did not ask location question to verify.
  • This could also be due to the fact that my network are people already using social media and are hyper-connected to each other.
  • I had no idea this method would have been so high, if it were, I would have asked separate questions to break that out into different referral methods.

    Recommendations for Job Seekers in a Recession

  • First of all, considering the massive layoffs, almost everyone should be exploring a backup plan
  • Job seekers should nurture their relationships with their peers first.
  • Job seekers should continually keep their network educated about their new projects, skills, and work they are taking on, consider using LinkedIn, Facebook, professional website or a blog
  • They should reach out and connect with their network before they need them.
  • Interact with them in email, social networks, phone and good ol fashioned lunch meetings

  • To find the other results from this survey, I’ll be tagging the post “Job Survey” and you can click that category to learn more. Thanks to my wife who helped cut, cleansed, and graphed the data it in 1/10th the time it would take me. (and during our vacation in Hawaii!)

    Coming soon I’ll be posting results for: top industries hired, compensation rates, and duration spent looking for a job in a recession

    Resources: See my Web Strategy Job Board

    35 Replies to “Jobs in a Recession Survey Results 1: Recent Hires Got Jobs Via Referral from Friends, Colleagues, Alumni, or Family”

    1. My husband is in the car business and the current job that he is at, he got from a friend referral. He really likes the job and is very happy to be working there.
      In general though the car business is about who you know to get the good jobs.

    2. Very intriguing results.

      I’d love to see a Survey #2 with the breakdown of referrals. Part of this is to see if they were from social networks, offline (word of mouth), online (friends, e-mail), online (friends, across states or nations), and if they are social networks which ones and how (a simple status update, multiple status updates, perhaps even a job posting on multiple professional groups?).

      I guess I did expect referral to be #1, but I did not expect the percentage to be as high as it is.

      Was a clear definition of referral given in the context you were analyzing it? The reason I ask is this is this is aimed solely at the audience of the survey. To me even Twitter, Facebook, knowing the CEO, and other social media sites could be considered “referrals” depending on the use case scenarios.

      Great work! I’d love to see a Survey #2 with more in depth analysis. Your work makes the world go round.



    3. Jeremiah, I’m sorry if this comes off as a bit cheeky but when you say “_slightly skewed_ towards those that are already active in social media” don’t you really mean “completely composed of those that are already active in social media”?

      I know you’ve qualified your results throughout the post and I’m certainly not saying your advice here isn’t good, but how many people in the general population do you REALLY think get jobs via Twitter, blogs, podcasts or even LinkedIn? I’d guess it’s WAY less than the 5% or so you seem to be showing from your numbers.

    4. I have to agree with Jeremiah here. Every job I have ever received an offer for came through a connection. I talk about it a little more on my blog here:

      However, I must admit that I have been unemployed for the last two months and it is really ugly out there. I really have been focusing my efforts on my network as well as cooking up some small business ideas to keep me going. Good Luck all.

    5. An interesting point has been made about people who have jobs. They are now very open to making connections to the outside workforce because of their insecurity. Also another point not made – most of the jobs out there are hidden – that is not advertized and don’t want to be. Who wants to deal with all those job seeker resumes? Of course this is more true for private companies than public ones and those companies working on federal contracts. But still a point of networking with working people is important besides having a social network presence and engagement.

    6. Jay

      You’re right to pose these good questions, yup, you’re right a great deal of them are connected to my community, but that doesn’t mean that they are creating social media.

      Have you seen these social technographic stats?

      69% of Adult Online Consumers in US are consuming social media. Who’s not? well age is as factor but not the only limitations, It’s hard to find a news website that doesn’t have social features.

    7. “Active” doesn’t equal “creator” either, right? I understand that 69% are within the “spectator” rung of the Technographics ladder (which BTW is a _fantastic_ tool that I love) but do you think your sample is more indicative of those spectators or of those higher up the ladder?

      Also, are you implying that the Technographics data counts people who READ a website that happens to have social features as consumers of social media? So is everyone who reads a newspaper site count in the “spectator” rung of the ladder even if they never use the social features such as commenting? That would seem to be a stretch to me.

    8. Fytros

      As I mentioned above, it’s based on people who are connected to my community, mostly social media users. It’s people connected to my on twitter, and on my blog (who happen to be reading this now)

      It’s not a broad sample I would send to a newspaper, or be used in an employment survey –but it’s a start that can help those that are already connected.

      We do have data that shows that Social Media isn’t for just the minority anymore, see this data

    9. Jeremiah – was reading through an oldy but a goody this past weekend – The Tipping Point – and came across something that reminded me of this post…

      Gladwell talks about a study by Mark Granovetter, conducted in 1973, titled “The Strength of Weak Ties”. The link to the paper is below, but in short – he talks about how a person’s weak ties are indispensable to their opportunities and integration into their community…

      So it isn’t that people need to be developing deep social ties in order to find jobs – the networking is what counts.

    10. I’m curious to know what the sample population looks like for this survey? Does the sample reflect the general population of the united states? Likely not. I read in one of these comments that the data was collected through the internet. Already with only one mode of data collection the results are scewed. Internet users trend toward those with college degrees who are male. This is some interesting insight, but probably a glance of one segment of the population and not the entire landscape.

    11. We™ve actually created a social network for people who want to solicit job referrals –

      Job referrals are 225% more effective than applying to job board postings, according to a study by CareerXRoads.

      We welcome you to visit our site and join in.

    12. Wow- that graph paints quite a picture, and it would be good to have that in mind while looking.

      Of course, there are income possibilities that exist outside of trying to find a job.

      Since so many are talking about being more creative during this economic slump, why not think outside the box of looking to work for another in the first place? I know, I know, but stay with me for a moment.

      It’s amazing that there are plenty of skill sets that are for whatever reason not “conventional” enough to be taught in schools, but the mastery of which would lead to more autonomy.

      Most of us are trained to be employees- nothing wrong with that, but thinking that way can be a kind of tunnel vision that keeps many from learning skills that would allow them to carve out their own path to income and contribution.

      One of them is as close as the computer in front of you. No really, for the first time in history, we are 3 feet in front of the world, yet few learn how to use it in a way to render 1) value to others and 2)income for themselves.

      There ARE ways to learn this stuff, if you can avoid all the junk and find good and reputable sources.

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    14. in job hunting it requires patience, you must not apply just once but you must apply in multiple company so that your chances will of getting hired will be high.

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