In a recent blog post we declared that strategic candidate sourcing was not, in fact, dead. Instead, we proposed that technological advances have simply changed the way recruiters do it.

Today, we dive a little deeper and explore 52 statistics about modern candidate sourcing. Whether you have a dedicated talent pipeline strategy or rely on passive candidates, our hope is that you can use these statistics to inform and evolve your current candidate sourcing strategy.

Passive Candidate Sourcing: A Quick Primer

The standard hiring process involves posting a job description and waiting for qualified candidates to apply. While this works in some cases, candidate sourcing can be a more effective way to attract new talent.

For those who aren’t familiar, candidate sourcing is the practice of proactively searching for qualified candidates to fill open positions instead of waiting for them to apply. Research shows, candidate sourcing is the way to go. Keep reading:

52 Statistics about Sourcing Candidates

The hiring landscape

  1. 52% of people who apply for jobs are underqualified (source).
  2. 47% of companies report little to no qualified applicants for the positions they are trying to fill (source).
  3. Only 36% of the workforce is actively looking for a new opportunity at any given time (source).
  4. Yet, an incredible 90% is willing to talk and learn more about an open position (source).
  5. $4,000 is the average amount U.S. companies spend to fill an open position (source)
  6. 85 million jobs were unfilled in the U.S. as of April 2016—an all-time high since 2000 (source).
  7. 31% of all hires are proactively sourced (source).
  8. Algorithms can predict the success of hires better than the discretion of hiring managers, according to a recent study of more than 250,000 hires (source).
  9. In 2016, 4x more employers increased full-time headcount than employers who decreased their headcount (source).
  10. Candidate turnover decreases by 28% and cost per hire reduces by 50% when employers have strong branding (source).
  11. Employers are hiring candidates with more extensive educational backgrounds for roles that once required less (source).
  12. According to hiring managers worldwide, the top trends to shape the recruitment industry in the next few years are recruiting more diverse candidates (37%), soft skills assessment (35%), innovative interviewing tools (34%), company mission as a differentiator (33%), and using big data (29%) (source).


  1. Almost half of employers (45%) said that the time to fill open positions has grown since 2014 (source).
  2. Nearly half of employers (47%) said that unfilled positions are staying open longer due to unmatched salary requirements (source).
  3. It takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position, up from 48 days in 2011 (source)

Social candidate sourcing

  1. 36% of recruiters have sent connection requests to potential employees on LinkedIn (source).
  2. 89% of recruiters have hired someone through LinkedIn- far more than on Facebook or Twitter (source).
  3. 52% of hiring managers claim that passive candidate recruitment has been less effective. This is mainly because recruiters on LinkedIn are competing for the same candidates (source).
  4. The use of social media for recruitment has grown 54% in the past 5 years (source).
  5. 82% of recruiters say they leverage social media to recruit managers (source).
  6. About 1 in 5 candidates have applied for a job they learned about through social media (source).

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Sourcing high quality talent

  1. Sourced candidates are more than two times as efficient than candidates who apply (source)
  2. 1 in every 72 sourced candidates is hired compared to every 1 in 152 candidates who apply to open positions (source).
  3. The best performers are 4x as productive as average performers (source).
  4. 80% of a business’s profits are generated by 20% of its workers (source).
  5. 41% of employers estimated a single bad hire costs $25k, and 25% put the figure at 50k or more (source).

What candidates want

  1. 82% of professionals claim that “culture is a potential competitive advantage” (source).
  2. 34% of professionals report their biggest concern when changing jobs is not knowing what it’s really like to work at a company (source).
  3. 27% of professionals report their biggest concern when changing jobs is not knowing what’s expected of the role (source).
  4. 66% of candidates want to know about company culture (source).
  5. 54% of candidates want to know about job perks (source).
  6. 50% of candidates want to know about a company’s mission (source).
  7. 52% of content shared by employees is trusted by candidates (source).
  8. 78% of professionals say they would accept less money to work at a company selling something compelling (source).
  9. 66% of people who recently changed jobs were aware of the company they joined before they applied (source).
  10. Most job seekers read at least 6 reviews before forming an opinion of a company (source)
  11. 92% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job (source).
  12. 45% of 35- to 40-year olds would leave their job for a less than 10% pay increase to join an excellent company. Only 12% would leave if the company had a bad reputation (source).
  13. 61% of employees report that the main reason they took their current jobs was an increase in pay (source).

Candidate experience

  1. 80% of candidates would take one job over another based on personal relationships formed during the interview process (source).
  2. 80-90% of talent say a positive or negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company (source).
  3. 60% of job seekers report they have quit an application due to its length or complexity (source).
  4. Nearly 60% of job seekers had a poor candidate experience. 72% of them shared their experience on an online employer review site such as (source).
  5. 61% of employers say they notify declined candidates about their decision, but 65% of job seekers say they never or rarely receive notice (source).
  6. 78% of job seekers report never having been asked for feedback on their candidate experience (source).
  7. Talent is 4x more likely to consider your company in the future if you offer constructive feedback (source).

Candidate sourcing challenges

  1. About 11% of job seekers said they would decline a job offer from an employer with a bad reputation—even if they were unemployed (source).
  2. The top two obstacles to increasing headcount are a shortage of candidates (31%) and lengthy hiring practices (27%) (source).
  3. 72% of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions while only 36% of candidates agree (source).
  4. 80% of job seekers say they wouldn’t reapply to a company that didn’t notify them of their application status (source).
  5. 24% of candidates will pass over a position if they can’t easily find information about the company online (source).
  6. The best candidates are off the market within 10 days (source).

Candidate Sourcing Statistics: Key Takeaways

After careful analysis of these statistics, we were able to draw a few important conclusions. These are as follows:

  • Technology can outperform humans when it comes to selecting top talent, but a combination of the right technology and human interaction is what it takes to be a successful recruiter in 2018.
  • Passive candidate sourcing has become more difficult because LinkedIn is saturated with recruiters looking for the same candidates. If you’re struggling to make connections on LinkedIn, work with an alternate solution like ZoomInfo for recruiters. We provide direct dial phone numbers and email addresses to put you in touch with better candidates faster.
  • Although candidates’ opinions can be swayed by a positive experience, a unique company, or positive branding—at the end of the day, money and company culture continue to be the biggest reasons candidates accept or decline a job.

We hope these statistics provide you with the insight you need to take your passive candidate sourcing efforts to the next level. Contact ZoomInfo today to learn more about our candidate sourcing and recruiting solutions.

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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