SilkRoad's Blog
Mar 14, 2012

Going Straight to the Source {Recruitment Source Effectiveness}

By Thomas Boyle

Take a look at the 2015 Top Sources of Hire Report.

Have you ever wondered where companies find their most qualified candidates and new hires? The answer may surprise you.

In response to feedback and questions received around candidate sourcing, during last year’s SilkRoad Connections conference, we reached out to all of our OpenHire customers and asked if they would be willing to include their data (anonymously of course) in a research project to determine the most effective recruitment advertising sources across multiple industries and position types.

As part of our research, we took a deep dive into recruitment source effectiveness. To do that, we worked with more than 700 of our customers to use their 2011 data in aggregate. These organizations ranged broadly in size and included 10 of the Fortune 500 and 50 of the Fortune 1,000. Combined, we gained insights from 222,308 job postings, 9.3 million applicants and 94,155 hires

This is the first study of its kind. Prior research has been less than adequate, based on survey data from relatively small sample sizes. Survey data is often subject to bias; participants are prone to providing anecdotal responses rather than actually digging into their metrics. This research is instead based on primary data drawn directly from OpenHire — no anecdotal responses, no subjective filtering.

{The metrics in this study offer a uniquely accurate measure of source effectiveness because SilkRoad automates candidate source tracking, removing any subjectivity or interpretation on the part of the job seeker.}

Today, we’re happy to share some initial findings from this data. We decided to look first at one of the most important indicators of effectiveness in recruitment — top sources of hire.

Internal employees, employee referrals and company career sites were the leading sources of
candidates, accounting for 55 percent of all hires.  We were excited to see all the customers who not only have been leveraging the applicant tracking system OpenHire to promote internal mobility and to streamline the employee referral process, but all of the customers who have leveraged their company career sites to bring in high quality candidates.

Of the external sources of hire,, CareerBuilder, Monster, Craigslist and Linkedin rounded out the Top five branded external sources of hire. Indeed is the clear leader, generating 72% more hires than the second highest external source.


What’s exciting about these findings for us is that although Indeed offers a paid advertising model to increase the visibility of your jobs, all OpenHire customers are benefiting from organic inclusion on Indeed as part of OpenHire’s free job distribution network.

We believe that by going straight to the source, drawing directly from the data of many of the world’s best employer brands, we can shed new light on source effectiveness. Stay tuned as we continue to dig deeper into this data to share more findings on source effectiveness. You can sign up here to receive a copy of the full report.

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20 responses to “Going Straight to the Source {Recruitment Source Effectiveness}”

  1. Rob Sheppard says:

    This is intriguing research. But how should we understand the Indeed number? Many of those jobs are posted somewhere but just get seen through indeed. Who gets the credit here?

  2. […] new study by HR technology provider SilkRoad shows that jobs search site is the leading source of external hires for its 700+ […]

  3. Alex de Soto says:

    Interesting! It confirms our own study. Please share your results when published.

  4. […] are still the top two sources for filling job openings. Interesting numbers supplied via ERE and Silk Road Ink. Social media near the bottom (3.5% ) but 2011 was the first year social media was included in such […]

  5. […] Going Straight T&#959 Th&#1077 Source ( […]

  6. […] Going Straight To The Source ( […]

  7. […] 泽林 55% of hires come from three sourcesBetter numbers, better comparisonsA new study by HR technology provider SilkRoad shows that jobs search site is the leading source of external hires for its 700+ […]

  8. Chet says:

    What you need to look at is the opposite. See below is responsible for over 13% of CB traffic. Meaning the job seeker came to Indeed then ended up on CareerBuilder giving them the credit. In comparison. CB only drove 3% to Indeed.
    Therefore, the Indeed number is even more undervalued. I know, sounds crazy hu.

  9. Daniel Dotsenko says:

    Where is “share on G+” button? You have LinkedIn – the marginally inefficient pretense for a networking site’s “share” button and you don’t have G+?

    What good are the stats when you don’t learn from them? 🙂

  10. Tony says:

    In response to Rob Sheppard, it is pretty simple… Indeed gets the credit. If a job seekers finds a job on and than applies and is hired, the credit goes to Indeed despite where else the job is posted. The majority of on line job seekers come to to find jobs, period.

  11. Chris says:

    In response to both Tony and Rob, you’re thinking in measures of pageviews, not what an applicant tracking system sees.

    If Indeed drives a job seeker to Careerbuilder and the candidate then applies, the ATS (SilkRoad) sees that and ‘gives the credit’ to Careerbuilder. In this study, those applicants coming from Indeed, clicked on a site within Indeed’s search and that click drove the applicant DIRECTLY to the job within the ATS. Pageviews and sources of hire are two completely different things.


  12. Hi Tammy, I use plain Lifeway all the time, but starting your own would definitely be cheaper in the long run. The power of Kefir

  13. social media manager…

    […]Going Straight to the Source {Recruitment Source Effectiveness} « SilkRoad Talent Management Blog for Human Resource Professionals[…]…

  14. […] a talent network. The goal of a talent network is to build engagement with job seekers and candidates interested in working for your company. A couple of key aspects to developing a talent network […]

  15. […] The United States government could just as easily replicate and even improve upon Indeed’s and Simplyhired’s model of job aggregation by pulling jobs from corporate career sites – a model which obviously works given that Indeed is the #1 source of external hire according to SilkRoad. […]

  16. Glennlist says:

    I recently wrote a blog on this and got a comment from SilkRoad about my experience with Indeed.

    You can read more on my blog at

    Let me inform your readers…I am common sense recruiter. If you use common sense in recruiting, then you will understand my point.

    Is Indeed an integral part of Sourcer’s tool box every day? If it is, then that Sourcer/Recruiter simply relies on we what recruiters commonly call post and prey.

    But what I can tell you is that common sense recruiting for hard to find job skills (like in IT, Engineering and etc) does NOT yield many quality hires from Indeed. Especially today since they lost their job feeds from other big job boards.

    No, I don’t have data to back this up. It’s just common recruiting sense.

    Ask any recruiter if he/she spends more time finding the right candidate or more time sifting through those that apply online and they will tell you that they will always go hunt for the talent rather than “post and prey”

    By the way did you ask how many man hours went into reviewing 9.3 million applicants and was it worth all the time? Your report doesn’t mention that because it involves common sense.

  17. Glennlist says:

    Oops. I meant from my previous comment…

    The actual blog post with comment thread can be found here.

  18. […] you remember from last year’s report, the research is totally different than anything being published today. Rather than relying on […]

  19. Olive says:

    This is a great resource and really fascinating data. I have found as a recruiter that job fairs really are the least effective, especially student career fairs. I love the more targeted places like

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