Can you get a job without a Referral?

Studies say NO!

30%–50% of hires come from referrals (Click2Tweet)

I’d be curious to see responses from HR professionals that have a different opinion. I hope a few brave souls will tell the unvarnished truth. I’d love for this data and this study to be proven inaccurate, but from my own experience I think the data is irrefutable.

Referred candidates are over four times more likely to be hired than non-referrals


The fact is … unless you are referred you are likely wasting your time.

Referrals lead to a whopping 85% of critical jobs being filled. (click2tweet)

But, there is an upside. Warning: It’s going to take work on your part. See below in the What Can You Do section.

In the meantime … It seems Robots aren’t just taking jobs … it seems they are actively rejecting us humans for jobs too. A lot of companies, especially in the tech world, but really any that receive a lot of interest in roles are using “applicant tracking systems” aka an ATS in the role of a Robot to Decide YOUR Fate.

An ATS is … “commonly used tools for sorting job applications. They automatically filter out candidates based on keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience, schools attended, and the like.”

artificial-intelligence-2167835_1920Can you Defeat an ATS?

It seems there is some wiggle room there. Should you bother trying?

It seems the resounding answer is … NO!

What Can You Do?

Get involved. Learn the industry. Meet the players. Find a way to connect with them in some way, shape or form.

I’d like to hear from real job seekers and hear what you did to get the job.

I’d also like to hear what didn’t work.

Share your comments here or share them via any of the social networks where we are connected.

Don’t Bother Doing These Things

  1. Cover Letters – It seems the Robots and the Humans ignore them somewhat equally.
  2. Applying without someone to pull it through and put you at a slight advantage.
  3. Getting Your Hopes Up (without work on your part) – The data seems to indicate that it’s kind of a bummer. The problem is … HR professionals are busy. They don’t have time (and I think in some cases the mandate) to help you. The work part is above … see What Can You Do?

“Out-of-the-box hires rarely happen through LinkedIn applications. They happen when someone influential meets a really interesting person and says, ‘Let’s create a position for you.’”

The Upside for Robots

robot-1631721_1920In talking with a friend in the HR / People Operations biz he said that Robots Do Help. He said that he will receive dozens of requests for a specific candidate with a specific degree, background, experience or any number of other things. He said he can quickly enter a query into their HR tool and get a response right away.

Then depending upon the results let the hiring manager know what he found and allow them to adjust their search criterion. This is because the Robot ATS has captured and indexed the content that has entered the system. There is no way he can remember or flip through a stack of hundreds or thousands of resumes so quickly. So, robots aren’t all bad.

For Your Consideration

imageThis is not a tirade against Human Resources professionals. Or, as Laszlo Bock (formerly of Google) likes to call them … People Operations professionals. You can read all about his POV in his book Work Rules.  If you haven’t read his book Work Rules! … you should.

You can also read my previous post about how HR and People Operations are being disrupted by Robots.

The Killer Issue for Experienced Hires

This is the section where Age and Experience can help you or hurt you. From personal experience I’ve seen both sides. At the end of the day you are still measured on what you can do, but it helps to know people on the inside.

“Roughly 80% of jobs are never posted–probably closer to 90% for more senior jobs” (click2tweet)

This post was inspired by an article my friend Jon Ferrara posted on Facebook about I Built A Bot To Apply To Thousands Of Jobs At Once–Here’s What I Learned

What Do You Think?

  • Are robots denying you access to a potential role?
  • Is an ATS the devil incarnate?
  • What other ideas do you have or have used to find your dream job?

Inquiring minds want to know. I really would like to start a dialogue with you. Whether you are an HR / People Operations professional, a new college graduate just making their way into the world of work, or what the industry so cleverly calls an “Experienced Professional.”

Share your thoughts here in the comments or via the social channels or reach out to me privately.

Sources: Fast Company and Robert Coombs

clip_image001Jeff is business advisor, mentor and community engagement expert. He has spent most of his career in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2.

Connect with me on Twitter @jshuey

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I am a a contributing author to Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to the Personal Branding Blog



Tim said…
There's a service out there similar to what Robert Coombs made that will automate your job search, I actually found it to garner me quite a replies after trying by hand. It's pretty simple.