2010 Job Search, By The Numbers

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I am generally a numbers oriented guy, and as I now have a complete year of job hunting under my belt, I thought I would tally up some results.


I’ve been in the enviable position where I don’t HAVE to get a job.  Sure, life will be better once I do find that opportunity, and I am certainly out there looking.  But I’ve also had the luxury not to have to respond to every job opening.  Thanks to a supportive wife and the projects I’ve been able to book, things are neither dire nor desperate.  I still don’t have to go apply at the supermarket, or take one of the sales jobs recruiters keep seeking me out for. 

I’ve been able to target my search, and apply only to those jobs which a) are likely to want me, and b) provide a really good career opportunity.  So while there have been a couple of occasions on which I’ve applied to jobs of a lower level than I had left at Thomson, they were primarily in the running because they offered opportunity on a different level – entering a new industry, real promotion opportunity, or once, a spectacular working atmosphere.


266 job applications submitted in 2010

There have been a lot and, to be honest, it’s kind of depressing to look at these numbers.  But apparently, over the course of 2010 I submitted 266 applications to companies.  That means I probably looked at well over a thousand ads, and filtered them down to those 266 I submitted.  (This also doesn’t count all of the company Web sites I applied to directly, which must also be a significant amount.  I just don’t have a means to go back and track those.)

Job applications sent by method

Of those 266 applications, the majority were found through Monster.com (33%), Career Builder (32%) and niche sites such as productmanager.com (21%).  Several other openings were discovered when either recruiters contacted me, split between Monster, Career Builder and LinkedIn (9%), or I applied by working with an internal contact after checking the company’s site (5%).  (I have recently started using Indeed.com, and so far find it superior to Monster.com, but I have little data to share thus far.)

But there were probably thousands of ads I reviewed before applying to these 266 openings, and the majority of those non-applied openings were in those 3 major categories, which basically means my searching the Web.   

So how successful were each of these methodologies?  Which is worth the effort when trying to find a job?


First stage contact made


Obviously, success here is not being defined as job offers, but we’ll look at various metrics I keep on my dashboard.  The first is whether I actually get to talk with a human recruiter.  Obviously, when the recruiter finds me then I always get to first base, but what is outstanding to note is that Career Builder, where I spent approximately 1/3 of my time (see above), I only had a 4% return rate.  Several recruiters did find me through Career Builder, indicating that it is good to post one’s resume there.  But as my profile was basically the same as at Monster.com (and on every single Web site I had to create a profile for), it would seem that Career Builder was not a valuable use of my time for use in searching for jobs.

But Career Builder also required little time – as with Monster and other sites, once you save your profile, including resume and cover letters, the application process is fairly well automated, and it can be quite simple to apply.  Just as often as not, however, you will have to create a new profile on the advertising company’s own site anyway.  Plus, for all those jobs which can be applied to with one click, just think how many other millions might be performing that one simple click.

Tiered success rates for each method

After one has spoken with a recruiter, the job applicant is hoping to get an interview.  Usually, it starts with a phone interview or two, though it may be directly an in-person interview which is an important next step.  Afterwards, the hiring manager may ask you to meet with your potential peers, with their own peers, with their own manager, or any combination thereof.  Certain tests, or homework, may be assigned.  Of course the proportions do vary, and every once in a while a company will try to throw you for a loop.  If you are there in person, the company may try to cover several of these interviews at once.

In any case, you can see pretty much what you might expect in the above – I consistently got furthest in the process when I knew someone at the company, followed closely by when the recruiter found me.  Obviously, finding ways to maximize on these opportunities is where the smart money lies.

Career Builder also continues to demonstrate its uselessness – only 4% of the 81 job applications I submitted through Career Builder saw a recruiter contacting me, and NONE of those got me an interview with the hiring manager.  None. 

Interview progression after initial screening contact

But don’t be dismayed by the seemingly low figures for Monster.com and the niche sites – there were quite a lot of applications submitted those ways, and they were the most consistently reliable in terms of finding relevant openings (of the public sites). 

In fact, once I got to the “talk to a recruiter” phase, Monster.com and the Niche sites performed fairly well.  They certainly weren’t the numbers seen by the inside approaches, but they performed well enough to ensure that they continue in the playbook into the future.


In the end, it is obviously best to know someone at a company, or to have the recruiter seek you out.  But following Monster.com and your niche sites also can get you some key interviews with a real chance of success.  Keep your spirits up – all it takes is that one good opportunity, and as long as you continue to maximize your efforts you will increase your chances of finding the best opportunities available to you.

3 Responses to “2010 Job Search, By The Numbers”
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  1. […] school,  and gave more effort to each of those more likely opportunities.  After analyzing my performance in job hunting in 2010, I was able to look at what things were working, what were not, and I particularly applied that […]

  2. […] 2010 Job Search, By The Numbers (dougnewmanpro.wordpress.com) […]

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