SilkRoad Research: Employee Referrals Remain King, Deliver 1/3 of all Hires

Among external sources, Indeed produces twice the hires of all other sources combined

CHICAGO--()--SilkRoad (, a global leader in Talent Activation, today released Sources of Hire 2017, its annual report designed to guide companies in finding the best candidates. Analyzing millions of data points collected through the SilkRoad Recruiting Applicant Tracking System (ATS), SilkRoad’s Sources of Hire 2017 delivers the definitive view of talent acquisition sources and strategies for today’s complex modern workforce and talent market.

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Report Highlights

  • Employee referrals remains the top source of hires, delivering more than 30% of hires overall and 45% of hires from internal sources, an increase of 5% year-over-year
  • Indeed (65.27%) produced twice as many hires as all other top branded external sources* combined, with CareerBuilder the next top source (10.65%)
  • External sources are less efficient than internal sources for hiring, requiring approximately four times as many applicants to reach the interview stage and twice as many interviews
  • Despite interviews decreasing 4% year-over-year, hires from campus recruiting increased 14%
  • LinkedIn and CareerBuilder deliver the most interviews (45.9% and 24.84%) and hires (29.31% and 38.9%) among branded job boards

*Top branded external sources include job search engines and job boards

Supporting Quote

“Modern job seekers view their interactions with a company – from recruitment to retirement – as a single integrated experience, and companies need to adopt an approach which matches that way of thinking,” said Amber Hyatt, vice president, product marketing at SilkRoad. “The data in SilkRoad’s Top Sources of Hire report offers compelling evidence that companies should build a hiring strategy around five best practices: know your audience; create a persona; develop your employee value proposition; evaluate the current candidate experience; and connect the candidate to company goals. By following these steps, companies can improve their sourcing effectiveness and deliver an amazing personalized candidate experience.”

Supporting Resources


SilkRoad conducted the Sources of Hire 2017 research by analyzing data that was aggregated from more than 1000 participating companies. The companies in the study ranged in size from as few as 100 employees to mid-market companies to large employers. Combined, the aggregate data enabled SilkRoad to gain insights into 14,000,000 applications, 655,000 interviews, and 329,000 hires. The applicant tracking data from the SilkRoad ATS for the report came from more than 11,000 sources. The data was anonymous and contributed in aggregate and no company names or numbers were used. Data was analyzed by two key benchmarks to evaluate source effectiveness: interviews and hires.

About SilkRoad

SilkRoad provides talent activation technology enabling forward thinking HR organizations to go beyond today’s talent management offerings to deliver modern, personalized talent journeys across a unified talent acquisition, onboarding and development process. SilkRoad activates the workforce, empowers HR and informs business leaders to drive better business outcomes.

For more information, visit, follow on Twitter @SilkRoadTweets or call 866–329–3363 (U.S. toll free) or +1–312–574–3700.


Nick Olsen, 312.432.9407

Release Summary

SilkRoad’s Sources of Hire 2017 delivers the definitive view of talent acquisition sources and strategies for today’s complex modern workforce and talent market.


Nick Olsen, 312.432.9407