Networking Still Superior To On-Line Job Search Platforms

by Brent M. Jones

Nationally unemployment is now under 4% and the On-Line Job Search firms seem to be on the screen every time you turn on your TV inviting you to find a job with their help. Is this really the new way to find a job? Has this approach changed the standard where 80% of all jobs are found through networking? Is networking now less important, or could it be more important?

Recent studies have shown the value of networking in finding a new job has actually gone up, approaching 85%. To understand why, we need to look closer at the people looking for a job and what has changed. Unemployed job seekers are a much smaller group than those still employed looking for a job.

If you add both groups, unemployed and employed, but only include active job seekers this totals only 25% of the total people looking for a job. The largest group of job seekers, outnumbering all others by 4-1, are still employed, considered passive job seekers. They are not in a big hurry just looking for a better fit. For this group networking is something they are good at, seeking job opportunities through contacts from professional networks, work associates and industry connections. 

It is a myth to think that on-line job search options are taking over the process, or even the best approach, to finding a job.

Only 25% of all job openings are advertised anywhere, and that means that On-Line Job platforms are not connecting to most of the opportunities and networking is critical. Employers sometimes assume these platforms can allow them to slim-down their own HR staffs, expecting recruiters to do their work, and neglect their own efforts to network looking for the best employees,

The new middlemen to the whole job search process, on line platforms, are brokers for both sides, staffing positions they have never worked in. When a job seeker educates the recruiter about skills needed for a potential job it can turn out to benefit all of his other contacts. Why should it be necessary to teach your employment contact about the job you seek.

Job Search platforms can be misleading making you think progress is taking place. In one example, when asking someone looking for work how many companies they have contacted, the answer was surprising. The contact had made 40 contacts. The problem was that those contacts were not with employers, but job search platforms. When asked how many conversations or meetings with potential employers those contacts had led to, it turned out to be only one. How many of the 40 contacts were actually passed on to the potential employer or even discussed with the applicant?

On-Line platforms can be a help, but networking is clearly more important, more effective, and serves both the employer and potential employee best in finding the right fit.