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Databases and referrals are ideal sources of hires for staffing firms, survey finds

May 15, 2017

Although staffing and recruiting firms cited LinkedIn and job boards as their current top source of hires, they tapped database and referrals as their ideal sources, according to research released today by staffing software provider Bullhorn and Herefish, which provides recruitment marketing automation tools.

The survey asked, “From what source do you currently get the most hires?” Responses include:

  • Job boards: 37%
  • LinkedIn: 29%
  • Applicant tracking system: 18%
  • Referrals: 17%

The survey also asked, “Ideally, from what source would you get the most hires?” Those responses:

  • Referrals: 35%
  • Applicant tracking system: 34%
  • Job boards: 17%
  • LinkedIn: 14%

According to the research, staffing and recruiting firms that proactively engage their candidates are 63% more likely to have their applicant tracking system be their top source of hire over outside sources. Eighty percent of firms acknowledged that proactively engaging their candidates is valuable to their overall business, and 83% of respondents believed their ATS data is valuable.

“Finding enough qualified talent is the number one problem facing recruiters and employers,” said Jason Heilman, co-founder of Herefish, a Bullhorn Marketplace partner. “By proactively engaging with their talent pool, staffing and recruiting firms have an opportunity to leverage their own databases to identify the top talent in their markets.”

When asked about the methods used to proactively engage candidates, 59% of respondents said email is the most effective communication channel, but only 32% of firms said they regularly send emails. Eighty-four percent of respondents admitted that email marketing to candidates would be valuable.

The research also suggested that many staffing and recruiting firms aren’t proactively engaging with candidates in their databases because marketing departments typically manage this type of proactive communication. Fewer than half of the firms surveyed, 44%, reported that they have a full-time marketer or marketing department and 14% don’t market at all. When there isn’t a full-time staff marketer, 38% said the marketing functions fall on executives, followed by operational employees at 21%, recruiters and salespeople at 19%, and outsourced resources at 8%.

Herefish in December 2016 surveyed almost 500 staffing and recruiting professionals across industries and skill sets.

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