2017 Annual Recruiting Survey

The HR Daily Advisor research team conducted the 2017 Annual Recruiting Survey in January 2017. Recruiting is one of the hottest issues for HR professionals (and recruiters, of course) largely thanks to an improving economy and low unemployment rates. We wanted to take a snapshot of the recruiting landscape with this survey. Check out some of these highlights.


Highlights of the 2017 Recruiting Survey:

  • The majority of respondents (58%) say that their organization does have a recruiting strategy.
  • The number one way that survey takers recruit for open positions is through employee referral, according to 78% of those polled.
  • 58% of respondents say that their number one negotiable benefit during hiring is paid time off.
  • 79% of respondents say that they use online recruiting as part of their overall recruiting strategy—just one point less than last year.
  • The company’s website is the number one location for posting jobs, according to 80% of survey takers.
  • Online recruiting resources like Monster® and CareerBuilder® are considered to be the most successful sources of applicants according to 42% of the respondents, which was their number one answer.

Who Responded?

A total of 413 participants responded to the 2017 Annual Recruiting Survey, representing a diverse array of industries, business types, organizational sizes, and locations.

Do You Have a Recruiting Strategy?

Survey takers indicated that most of them (58%) do, in fact, have a recruiting strategy at their organization. Just under one third (30%) say their organization does not have a recruiting strategy, and 13% said they did not know.


How Would You Describe Your Recruiting Strategy?

We asked survey respondents who answered that their organization did have a recruiting strategy to describe that strategy. The number one response given by 39% of the respondents was “It varies based on the position being filled.” A close runner-up (34%) was “A combination of both cultural habit and a written strategy.” Approximately 15% answered that “it is mostly cultural habit.” Just a few respondents (9%) said “it is a written document,” and only 3% said they fully outsource recruiting.

How Do You Recruit?

The survey shows that the number one way (78%) that respondents recruit for open positions is by employee referral. Other top responses included “Your company’s website” (73%), “Online recruiting resources” (72%), and “Word-of-mouth” (65.3%).


Salary Negotiations During Initial Job Offers

When asked if their organization is open to negotiating salary for initial job offers, the number one response given by 72% of the respondents was “Yes, in some circumstances, depends on the position.” Only 16% of respondents said that salary is negotiable for every position. Even fewer (13%) answered “No, they accept what we offer or we move on to the next candidate in line.”


Incentive Pay Negotiations During Initial Job Offers

We also asked respondents if they negotiate incentive pay during initial job offers. Just under one half (49%) of survey takers answered “Yes, in some circumstances, depends on the position.” Respondents were much more likely to take a hard-line stance on this issue compared to salary negotiations, with 46% answering “No, they accept what we offer or we move on to the next candidate in line.” Only 4% answered “Yes, incentive pay for every position is available.”


Negotiating Benefits

We also asked respondents if their organization was willing to negotiate benefits. The majority (58%) answered “No.” Just about one third (34%) answered “Yes,” and 8% said they were not sure.

Specific Benefits for Negotiating

If survey takers’ organizations were willing to negotiate benefits, we asked them which ones. The number one response (58%) was “Paid time off.” “Schedules: hours of work” was a runner-up at 47%. Other top responses included “Sign-on bonus” (43%), “Relocation packages” (38%), and “Schedule: days of work” (36%). We asked those who didn’t find their answer in our list to describe their situation. A few of these other responses included:

  • “We go by union contract.”
  • “We offer cell phones, company cars during the work day only.”
  • “I work at a government agency, there is not a lot of wiggle room.”


Online Recruiting

79% of respondents say that they use online recruiting as part of their overall recruiting strategy—just one point less than last year. Other responses were fractured between “No” (9%), “Not sure” (6%), “No, but we plan to” (4%), and “No, we tried it and it didn’t work for us” (2%).

Top Open Positions That You Post Online

We asked survey takers to tell us the top three job types that they post online. All three of the top responses were fairly evenly matched and include “Entry level” (51%), “Professionals” (50%), and “Mid-level” (49%).


Specific Online Outlets for Posting Jobs

We wanted to know which online outlets our survey takers most often used to post jobs. The number one response (80%) was posting on their company website. The second response was “Online resources like Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.” (72%). Other top responses included “Online communities like,, etc.” (54%) and “Trade association websites/job boards” (47%). Just over 7% of respondents answered “Other.” Some of the most common other responses included:

  • Craigslist
  • Local newspapers
  • ZipRecruiters


Jobs Filled from Online Applicants

When asked what percentage of their advertised jobs were filled from online applications, the number one response (27%) was “76% to 100%.” Approximately 20% of respondents indicated that “51% to 75%” of their advertised jobs were filled from online applicants.

Best Avenues of Online Recruiting

We want to know which online recruiting avenues are the most successful. The number one most successful online recruiting avenue according to 42% of respondents was “Online recruiting resources (Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.).” The second largest response (28%) was “Your company’s website.” “Online communities (,, etc.)” were indicated by 15% of survey takers. We asked those who did not find the answer they were looking for on our list to write in their response. The most common other responses were “Craigslist” and “Word of mouth.”


Most Successful Employee Type Recruited Online

When asked which type of employee survey takers were most successful at recruiting online, the number one response (47%) was “Entry-level.” This answer was also first in last year’s survey, but measured in at only 29%. Other top responses included        “Mid-level” (38%), “Professionals” (35%), and “ALL levels” (22%).


Success of Job Boards

Just how successful are job boards for recruiting? The number one response given by 35% of survey takers was “We’ve had some success using them.” The second most common response (28%) was “We get quite a few good applicants from them.” Only 11% say “We’ve not had much success using them.” Other responses included “Not applicable/haven’t used job boards” (8%), “Don’t know” (8%), and “Insufficient ROI” (6%).


Success of Online Communities

Online communities include things like LinkedIn® and Glassdoor®, and they are often touted as great resources for recruiters. The survey takers seem to agree, with 23% saying “We’ve had some success using them” and 22% saying “We get quite a few good applicants from them.” While many are willing to give fairly positive or somewhat positive answers concerning online communities, only 3% say “Our best applicants come from online communities.” Approximately 19% say they have never used online communities for recruiting, and another 16% say “We’ve not had much success using them.”

Searching for Applicant Résumés Online

Millions of applicants post résumés online in hopes of being picked up by a company. We asked our survey takers if they take advantage of this fact. The results are fairly even with 53% saying “Yes, we search through posted résumés of those who have not applied to our organization.” Slightly fewer (47%) say “No, we only review résumés that have applied to one of our job postings.”


Online Cost-Per-Hire

We asked survey takers if the cost-per-hire for online recruiting is more or less than other recruiting methods. Answers were fairly evenly split, as you can easily see in the chart below. The number one answer, given by 37% was “Less.” Just over a quarter (28%) said “About the same” and 24% said “Not sure.” Only 11% answered that it was more for online recruiting than for other methods.


Is Online Recruiting a Priority?

Sure, nearly everyone says they use online recruiting, but how much of a priority is it? Is it enough of one to replace other methods? The responses were divided. The number one response, given by 34% of survey takers, was “Yes.” Approximately another quarter (26%) said “No.” The same amount (26%) said “E-recruiting is simply another recruiting tool; we haven’t used it as a replacement for other methods.” Finally, 10% answered “We’re still testing the effectiveness of e-recruiting versus other methods” and 5% said “We put very little emphasis on e-recruiting.”

Do You Use Online Recruiting Over Other Methods?

For those who say that they do use online recruiting over other recruiting methods, we wanted to know which methods they have replaced. The number one answer by over 35 points was “Print ads,” as indicated by 67% of survey takers. Other top responses include “Employment agencies/headhunters” (31%), “Staffing firms/temp agencies” (29%), and “Job fairs” (26%).


Is Online Recruiting Faster?

When asked if online recruiting is faster at bringing in candidates, the number one response (47%) was “Yes.” The number two response “Depends on the job” was given by 23% of survey takers. Approximately 13% said “About the same,” and 9% said “No.” Finally, 8% said they were “Not sure.”


Pros of Online Recruiting

Everything has its ups and downs, including online recruiting. The number one pro response, according to 57% of survey respondents was that online recruiting “Reaches outside of a small population pool” and provides “Exposure to a wider audience.” Just over half of survey takers (51%) answered that online recruiting gives them the “Ability to reach passive job seekers.” Another 51% praised its “Ease of use.” We also got a few other write-in other responses, including:

  • “Free through school placement programs.”
  • “More applicants to choose from.”

Cons of Online Recruiting

We also wanted to know what people thought the downsides to online recruiting were. The overwhelming number one response, given by 70% of respondents, was “Too many unqualified applicants.” A similar response, “Too many applicants” was given by 30% of respondents. Another 20% said “Spam.” We also had a few other write-in other responses, including:

  • “Sourcing time can be expensive.”
  • “Time consuming to review all applicants.”
  • “It can be hard to target niche positions.”

Tracking and Measuring Online Recruiting with Software

The major of survey takers (68%) say that they do not use software to track and/or measure their online recruiting. That left only 32% saying that they do use software for such purposes.


Social Media Interaction Between Employees and Candidates

According to our survey, the great majority of respondents (71%) do not encourage social media interaction between current employees and potential hires. Another 25% said “Yes,” and we had 4% write in other responses. Here are some of those other responses:

  • “We are not actively encouraging, but also not discouraging [social media interaction].”
  • “We don’t discourage it.”
  • “As long as it is professional.”


Importance of Social Media Interaction for Getting the Best Candidates

A lot of digital ink has been spilt concerning the critical importance of social media when it comes to attracting the best candidates. Our survey takers, however, have a different set of beliefs. When asked how important social media interaction has been in attracting the best candidates, the number one response (42%) was “Not important.” Another 26% answered that it was “Somewhat important” and only 5% said it was “Very important.” Finally, 27% said they did not know.

How Often Have Candidates Used Social Media to Interact with You?

When asked how often candidates have used social media to interact with our survey takers, the number one response (28%) was “Never.” Other top responses included “Not very often” (28%), and “Sometimes” (25%). Only 8% answered “Often” and even fewer (3%) answered “All the time.” Another 8% said they were not sure.

How Often Have Your Managers Interacted with Candidates Over Social Media?

The answers to the question “How often have your managers interacted with candidates over social media” are very similar to the previous question. The number one answer was again “Never” (34%). Other top answers were “Not very often” (24%), “not sure” (20%), and “Sometimes” (15%). Only 6% answered “Often” and even fewer (1%) answered “All the time.”

Abandoning Traditional Recruiting Methods

We asked participants if they considered using a “Zappos-type” approach to recruiting—essentially only using social media for recruiting. Just like last year, the number one response (76%) was “No.” Another 20% answered “Not sure,” and only 4% said that they were.

Features of Your Recruiting or Jobs Web Page

We asked what features our survey takers had on their jobs website or webpage. The top three responses were “Job descriptions” (89%), “Résumé delivery” (63%), and “Application form” (62%). We also got a few write-in responses. Here are some of those:

  • “We are in the process of augmenting our job site to include quotes and videos.”
  • “We direct them to our site with videos, info, and the application process.”
  • “Benefits information, and details on the hiring process.”

The Value of Your Jobs Website or Web Page

The jobs’ website or webpage has such a large role for so many companies, that we wanted to know how important they felt it was. According to our survey takers, the number one response (43%) was “An important role.” Approximately one third of respondents (33%) said “Somewhat important.” Only 16% said “Not very important,” and a final 7% said “Not sure.”

Tracking Cost-Per-Hire

When asked if they track cost-per-hire, the majority of respondents (74%) said “No.” That left only 26% who answered “Yes.”


Average Cost Per Hire by Employee Type

We asked those who do track cost-per-hire what their averages were for different categories of employees. The results were what you would expect. Nonexempt employees were hired the most at the least cost (43% hired for between $0 and $250). Executives cost the most, with 42% saying that they spend $5,001 or more on such hires.

Tracking Time-To-Fill

More survey takers said that they measured time-to-fill (60%) than measured cost-per-hire. That left 40% saying that they do not take such measurements.

Average Time-To-Fill by Employee Type

We asked those who do track time-to-fill to break it down for us by employee type. The results are similar to those for cost-per-hire. Nonexempt employees were the quickest to fill with 45% saying they fill such positions in 1 to 15 days. Executives took the longest, with 42% saying they fill such positions in 60 or more days.

Tracking Quality of Hire

When asked if they measure quality of hire, 65% of survey takers said that they do. That left 35% saying that they do not.


Quality of Hire Metrics

We wanted to know what specific quality of hire metrics that our survey takers used. The number one method of measuring quality of hire, according to 42% of our survey respondents, was by looking at retention rates and measuring new hire turnover. A distant second (21%) was “Production level of new hire after x months vs. standard.” Just over 15% answered “Average performance rating of new hires vs. standard” and only 13% answered “Measure of hiring management satisfaction.” Our most common write-in answer was “all of the above.”


Other Metrics

When asked if they track any other methods, 56% of the survey takers indicated that they track “Effectiveness of sources, e.g., posting vs. own job boards vs. internal referrals.” Just under half (48%) of survey respondents said they track the “Applicant experience,” and 33% say they track “Interview to hire ratio.”

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