Job Search Answers: Should I Apply On Company Websites?

Dec 6 2012 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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At the end of my Resume Revolution complimentary webinars (enroll at, I open up the floor to job search questions … from you.

Occasionally, I’ll also answer especially interesting questions posted on my Linkedin group, Career Central ( or reCareered’s Facebook page (

This was an interesting job search question asked by K.Z. during a recent webinar:

“What is your opinion on applying to company websites? Is it just as bad as applying to jobs on boards?”

That’s a great question K.B. …

To answer your question, let’s first review why applying to jobs on job boards is so hopeless that it’s a waste of time for job seekers.

CareerBuilder’s study of where employers find new hires (Source of hire) showed that employers find only 10% of new hires from job boards. That’s from all job boards, including Monster, SimplyHired, Indeed, Craigslist, Linkedin’s job board, or any of the 50,000 or so of today’s active job boards.

Combine this total with the fact that you compete against an average 1,000 competitors for each advertised job, most of whom have applied through a job board.

When you combine the two statistics, you realize that for each job you apply to through job boards, you and 1,000 competitors compete for a 10% chance that one of you will get that job or a 1:10,000 odds – You have 3 times the odds that you’ll be struck by lightning (per National Geographic, you have a 1/3,000 chance of being struck by lightning in your lifetime).

But what about applying through company websites?

Why do you think those odds will be better? Just because fewer candidates apply through the careers page on a company’s website?

The important thing to consider is that candidates who apply to jobs on job boards and on company websites are processed in the same way – fed into a company’s Applicant Tracking System, keyword searched against 7-10 exact word match criteria, with only about the top 20-30 being examined by human eyes, narrowing down to about a dozen candidates that meet all criteria being sent to the hiring manager.

This helps explain why the CareerBuilder study of sources of hire showed that only about 5% of new hires were found by applying through the company’s website – with similarly terrible odds of being hired if you apply through the company’s site.

By applying through a company’s website or job boards, you’re Plan B at best – considered when hiring managers can’t come to terms with their top candidates, when their top candidates won’t leave current positions, or fail background checks.

But you can take comfort in the knowledge that by applying through company websites or job boards, you’re helping the employer pass Department of Labor audits – so they can demonstrate that they are “considering” applicants from all backgrounds. Employers simply take advantage of the candidates who apply through company websites or job boards, using them to pass DOL audits in exchange for impossible odds of getting hired through this source.

Because company websites and job boards are the most visible ways to apply for jobs, they seem to be the easiest ways. Don’t be fooled by the visibility or by the direction you receive from HR departments. Company websites and job boards are used to reject candidates, leaving only a few to be considered for interviews. Unless you like frustration or being taken advantage of, avoid these methods of job application.

But if you want to avoid company websites or job boards, how can you apply for jobs?

Why not try the way that CareerBuilder discovered that employers find 80% of new hires? Candidates who the hiring manager already knew – including those who network their way to the hiring manager.

What sounds better to you – an 80% hiring chance shared between 2-3 top candidates who already know the hiring manager? Or a 5-10% hiring chance shared between 1,000 faceless applicants who followed HR’s instructions of applying through company websites or job boards?


Want to do more than just complain about a bad economy?

To attend our next complimentary live webinar featuring action items to double your resume response rate and number of interviews, plus live career Q&A with Phil Rosenberg of reCareered, register at .

Available Now On Amazon: Job Search Secrets - Rethink Your Job Search Now, By Phil Rosenberg

Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.

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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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