Personal contact is by far the quickest way to a new job

22 June 2021

We most often find a job through a family member or friend. This is what a survey conducted by HR and payroll specialist SD Worx shows. Around 18 percent of employees in Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom ended up at their current employer through a personal acquaintance. Newcomers also get their foot in the door through the job page of the company website. It is interesting to note that channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are at the very bottom. Companies are advised to work on employer branding to find the necessary talent, especially now that the economy is gradually picking up again.

Many young people will soon be finishing their studies again. There is a good chance that they will find a job through a personal acquaintance: almost 1 in 5 of the employees interviewed received their job through family, friends, acquaintances, neighbours, etc. The second most common way – which is significantly lower at 13% of employees – is the job page of an employer's website. Job databases come in third place. One tenth of the employees were personally approached by the employer. 7% came through a recruitment and selection agency, while 6% found their way via an employment agency or government agency.

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Social media still has considerable margin for growth

Strangely enough, social media and e-mail often result in the least amount of jobs. Only 4% say they have come into contact with their current employer via LinkedIn. The figure is even lower for Facebook, at 3%. A further 3% said they were approached directly online or by e-mail.

"It is remarkable how low the social media channels score when it comes to recruitment. With the battle for talent still going strong, companies are advised to invest in these channels to find the right profiles. Focusing on employer branding helps companies attract potential candidates. Communicate about your corporate culture and values, your role as an employer in society, and the benefits you can offer employees, such as flexibility, career opportunities and more," says Cathy Geerts, Chief HR Office at SD Worx. “However, these results need to be qualified and can be explained by the loyalty of some of the people interviewed for this study. Indeed, some respondents have been working for their current employer for more than 20 years and were hired at a time when social media was just developing. Facebook (7%) and LinkedIn (9%) for example, are used way more often by employees with less than 1 year of experience at their current organisation. The study shows lower figures on employees with over 20 years of experience who found their job via Facebook (1%) or LinkedIn (1%).”

8 out of 10 are positive about the recruitment process

Employees tend to rate the recruitment process highly: 79% experienced it as positive to very positive, 17% were neutral, and 4% found it a negative experience.

The Netherlands scores best here, with 89% confirming a positive or very positive experience. French employees were least satisfied with the selection tests and communication before and after an interview. The British gave lower scores for the time taken for the entire process and communication before and after the interview.

The survey shows that a quarter of the selection tests and almost a fifth of the interviews were conducted digitally last year. Of course, the pandemic was a major factor in this.

"At many companies, interviews and tests have become routine. This is not always a positive trend,"says Cathy Geerts. "It can never hurt to evaluate these parts of the recruitment process at regular intervals and update them. The more candidates value your application process, the easier it is for you as a company to attract them. Applicants are just like customers: if they have a bad experience, they won't hesitate to talk about it in their circle of acquaintances – or even beyond it. In addition, the focus during an application should not be just on someone’s work experience or skills. It is a good idea to invest sufficient time to check whether someone’s motivation, values and personality match your organisation."

Only 1 in 20 has had a poor onboardingexperience

After recruitment, onboarding is the next step. Almost 8 out of 10 experienced the integration process with their new employer as positive to very positive. In total, 16 percent felt more neutral, while around 1 in 20 employees felt poorly supported by their new employer.

Despite the pandemic, welcoming new employees also took place face to face for three quarters of participants. Further onboarding and integration also took place face to face in 2 out of 3 cases. A colleague helped with this for just over half of the employees (55%). In 4 out of 10 cases, the employer or supervisor also partially took on this task. 13 percent were assigned a mentor or buddy, while 9 percent had to make it on their own and did not receive guidance during the first few weeks of work.

"Not all companies spend enough time and energy on onboarding their new employees", says Cathy Geerts. "However, this is an important step, as it enables newcomers to feel at home in the team as soon as possible and get on board smoothly. This has advantages both for the employees and the company. Good onboarding starts before the candidate has their first day ofwork."

About the survey

To gain a better understanding of the employee’s entire employee journey and work experience at European level, HR and payroll specialist SD Worx commissioned a survey. This included input from regular employees, self-employed persons, seconded staff and temporary workers. The survey was conducted among 5,000 employers from five countries and covered the entire recruitment process as seen by the employees. This includes attracting new employees, recruitment, onboarding, carrying out the work, development and career advancement, remuneration and offboarding. The survey dates back to April 2021 and took place in the following countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The survey included both smaller and larger companies across various industries.