Personal Contacts Lead to Jobs


More than three in four adult job seekers in the U.S. prefer personal contacts when searching for work rather than just relying on technology, according to the results of a new American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor survey, conducted online by Harris Poll.

Personal Contacts Lead to Job Offers

Three of the top five ways job seekers land a job are “high touch,” according to the survey findings. Word of mouth is the most popular means (43%)—followed by job board websites and employer websites (both at 30%). Contacts or acquaintances with prospective employers (30%) and staffing and recruiting companies (25%) also rank high as resources that led to job offers.

Three in four (77%) actually prefer human interaction when searching for a job, according to the ASA Workforce Monitor.

Job Seekers Like Technology…Until It Gets Too Personal

Almost half of recent job seekers (46%) view the Web as the most helpful resource when looking for work, according to the survey results. Job seekers like the visibility that technology can offer when it comes to sharing their résumés (80%), but a majority feel uneasy about giving so much personal employment information to websites (61%), according to the ASA Workforce Monitor results.

Word of Mouth and Web Dominate Job Search Tools

The most popular tools job seekers use when looking for work are word of mouth (63%), job board websites (62%), and employer websites (60%). Other popular job-hunting tools are newspaper help wanted ads or job listings (52%), and contacts or acquaintances at prospective employers (48%). Four in 10 job seekers report using a staffing and recruiting company during the job hunt (42%).

“A combination of technology and personal contacts is the winning strategy while on the job hunt,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Even with all of the recent advances in Web-based job sourcing, some things never change. Your network of friends, former colleagues, and family members still might be the key to your finding your ideal job.”


Harris Poll conducted the survey online within the U.S. on behalf of ASA Dec. 22–28, 2015, among a total of 1,008 U.S. adults age 18 and older who have searched for a job in the past five years or plan to do so in the future. Results were weighted on age, education, race/ethnicity, household income, and geographic region where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the U.S. population.

Visit the ASA Workforce Monitor to learn more about the survey and to download high-resolution infographics on the results.


About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit

About the ASA Workforce Monitor
The ASA Workforce Monitor is a periodic survey commissioned by ASA and conducted online by Harris Poll among 1,000 or more U.S. adults age 18 and older. The survey series focuses on current workforce trends and issues. For more information about the survey series, visit ASA Workforce Monitor.

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