SurePayroll Survey: Word of Mouth Top Way Employers Find Job Candidates


word of mouth

Recently Small Business Trends asked Stefan Schumacher of SurePayroll Inc. to include a couple of questions in its February 2016 small business survey. These were:

  • What resources/tools do you use when searching for a new job candidate (recruiting sites, background checks, skills assessments, etc.)
  • What is the biggest barrier to hiring?

The answer to the first question, by a huge margin, is word of mouth at 70 percent, compared to the 37 percent who use job websites such as Indeed or Careerbuilder.

Evidently, employers feel most comfortable with word of mouth job candidates – when a friend or acquaintance of a current employee or someone in their circle applies for a job. Knowing the candidate’s friends are a good indicator of the qualifications and character of the candidate.

Twenty-three percent of employers use LinkedIn and 17 percent use Facebook to recruit or search for job candidates, while 33 percent use LinkedIn and Facebook to check into the quality of a job candidate.

One small business owner said: “I hope to see appropriate content on Facebook — no bragging about being drunk or out all night, no racist remarks. If the candidate has any common friends, I contact them for a referral.”

Other employers were looking for things like “good grammar”; “character traits and personal habits”; and “how active they are with social media.”

Fifty-nine percent do background checks.

Most agree that the biggest barrier to hiring is finding the right applicant with the right skills for the job at 48 percent.

To determine the candidate’s qualifications for the job, 48 percent do some kind of skills assessment, such as:

“Hiring a technician: hand them a soldering iron, and see how well they use it,” said one small business owner. One entrepreneur who owns a bakery said they ask candidates to “perform various cake decoration tasks.” “We have them come in for a few days and see if they mesh with the position and vice versa,” said another business owner.

Other testing mentioned by employers included aptitude tests like the Wonderlic and Kolbe, as well as math/writing assessments, and “dexterity for precision work.”

No one method of screening fits all employers and job types so the ways in which employers conduct their assessments varied by as many as responded to the survey.

Word of Mouth Photo via Shutterstock

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JoAnn McFarland


JoAnn McFarland JoAnn McFarland is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers breaking news such as new product announcements, government policy, acquisitions and other industry developments. She is a published author and comes from a family-business background.

One Reaction

  1. So does this mean that to be hired, you should expand your network? because the more people know you, the more they can refer you to other people.

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