Top Recruiting Tools for Business and IT Jobs: Employee Referrals, Job Boards and Internal Company Postings, SHRM Survey Finds

HR professionals say communication skills are most valuable skill for all job applicants

Nov 24, 2014
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Company recruiters utilize employee referrals, national online job boards and internal job postings more than any other tools to find business and IT applicants, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey released today.

Employee referrals ranked as the primary recruiting tool for organizations searching for business applicants (58 percent) and IT applicants (46 percent), according to the survey, which was commissioned by and completed in collaboration with Kaplan University’s School of Business and Information Technology.

“At a time when half of organizations industrywide are reporting recruiting difficulty, companies are turning to their employees to make job candidate recommendations,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s survey programs. “Because employees understand the skills and abilities required for positions, this can be an effective recruiting practice, especially when it is done with efforts that ensure a diverse talent pool.”

In addition to relying on employee referrals, about one-third of companies incorporated informal networking into their talent search tactics for business and IT applicants. Recruiters also frequently used social networking websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to recruit business and IT job applicants.

“The findings show that building and maintaining a professional network is more important than ever to secure employment in these business sectors,” explained Esen.

Respondents to this survey were nearly unanimous (94 percent) in citing communication skills as being most valuable for job applicants, aside from educational training. Communication skills still ranked as the most valuable skill for business applicants (90 percent), whereas technology/social/digital media skills were the most valuable skills for IT job applicants (72 percent).

Survey respondents offered expert advice to business applicants, including:

  • “Be prepared to share examples when you personally have demonstrated the skills required for the position. Share examples when you have identified a solution to a problem, the impact the problem had on the business and the overall results.”
  • “Be honest in evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, but remain confident enough to go outside the box when you are looking for a next position.”

Respondents also offered expert advice to job seekers applying for IT positions:

  • “Demonstrate that you can relate well with those who do not understand the IT world and that you can look ahead and see what may help the business move ahead with respect to IT technologies.”
  • “Share examples of when you have worked in a team environment, how you collaborated and communicated, and what your role was vs. the role of others on the team.”

SHRM surveyed 386 of its randomly selected SHRM members throughout the United States.

The full survey is available online at www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/articles/pages/2014-Business-IT-Recruitment.aspx.

For more surveys and poll findings, visit shrm.org/surveys. Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: For more information or to request an interview, contact Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and Vanessa.Gray@shrm.org or Kate Kennedy of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6260 and Kate.Kennedy@shrm.org.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at shrm.org and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.

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