How Many Job Seekers to Make a Hire?


That’s the number of people it takes to get from the top of the funnel to a hire.

After 10 million applications from 50 million job seeking visitors over the last decade, recruiting-technology-provider Jobvite has drawn some broad conclusions about numbers. Chief among them is that only 11 percent of the visitors to your career site will apply. As of 2014, you’ll average 59 applications per job.

The percentages get smaller as the funnel narrows, until you end up with a hire. From top to bottom, the average is 0.2 percent. In other words, to get someone in the door, you need 536 visitors for every job posting.

Keep in mind these are averages compiled from Jobvite customers. Calling them industry benchmarks, as Jobvite does, might be overstating the case. However, they do offer insights into job marketing and provide at least some yardstick against which to measure your own recruiting efforts. Expect your mileage to vary. If it varies dramatically, you need to investigate why.

Besides the broad funnel averages, the data Jobvite compiled — which will eventually be posted on the company blog — breaks down the date by company size. Small companies (up to 250 employees) need an average of 62 apps per req to make a hire. They generally interview more candidates and make fewer offers.

Jobvite funnel by size rescaledAt the largest companies (over 5,000 employees) they get fewer applications, and interview fewer candidates, but make more offers; about one-in-five candidates interviewed get an offer.

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It’s a good guess that larger companies make more offers because when you have 2,500 or more employees, you have more openings. The offer may not necessarily be for the same job for which the candidate interviewed.

Another of the data points that Jobvite shared was the source of hire and source of application data. Job boards and career sites produced 77 percent of the applicants for jobs. But referrals, not unexpectedly, produced 37 percent of the hires. Career sites produced 22 percent and job boards yielded 17 percent.

About the Author

John Zappe is contributing editor of, and the former editor of the now closed Fordyce Letter. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. 

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him by clicking here.

  • Medieval Recruiter

    Take home is, if you’re an applicant, target bigger companies.

    • Brent Bates

      Well, I wouldn’t say that… A job seeker should research all the companies in their area to make a list of the ones that fit what they are looking for as most important to them for culture/environment/compensation/benefits. Many times, bigger companies are not their ideal situation and a small or medium-sized company best suits them. Then, networking to get referred is their best bet, while attempting to apply to relevant jobs at their target companies from their list.

      • Medieval Recruiter

        In my experience, most referrals are from people who already are well known to one another, I’d like to see data on how many of the referral hires are from ‘networking’ vs referring a friend of a few, or many, years, but I’ve never seen it broken out to that level.

        From people I’m talking to on the phones all day the market is still pretty crappy, the trick is to get interviews and while networking is good for that, it’s a lot more time invested for usually less return on the effort put in, relative to applying. But it seems to me that, on the application side and when the supply of labor outstrips demands as it seems to do terminally these days, you’re far better off targeting larger companies when it comes to a pure Do I Have Any Chance In Hell Of Getting Hired criterion. I’ve also found smaller companies to be increasingly lacking in benefits, especially PTO. I’m aware of one locally here that just made the stunning, world shattering announcement to their employees that they now offer 10 days off for the year, all included, sick, personal, vacation, and paid holidays. So, back out the fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Christmas, and Thanksgiving…

        Very generous of them, I’d say…

  • Al Roessert

    Nice post John Zappe. I agree Jobvite may not be large player so I also am cautious as to how close to industry reality the information is.

    One area that does foot closely to much of my research and client feedback is the 77% of jobs found via internet channels.

    This is but another data point that will perhaps help expose the 85% Hidden Job myth. Some additional validation to using internet channels is that candidates who find job openings will seek out network support once they have mined the job opening. (Linkedin) So the jobseeker finds the published job first, and as your post states 77% of all Hires originated from jobs posted on the internet.

    I noticed the percentages in your last sentence add up to 76%, can you comment on the missing 24%?

    I have helped guide well over 10,000 job seekers to their new careers. The 37% networking number seems rather high, even if electronic networking was included. Your thought’s.

    Thanks Al

  • Vinay Johar

    It is general, and find it useful, that encourages to seek the job you desire, to advance yourself and your People through active participation.

  • Charles Edelstein

    An average of 536 visitors per job advert to make a hire is a lot of advertising. We run a job portal in South Africa ( and have changed the model from pay-per-job to pay-per-click. On average we estimate our customers are saving 60% on application costs. We do not have any stats on number of application per hire but find the above numbers interesting.

  • Lauren

    Great post John. It is shocking how many people it takes to make a hire. GoodHire wrote a reflection based on your article: