Today’s enterprising technical recruiter has hundreds of tools at their fingertips. From old stand-bys to cutting edge technologies, there’s a solution for just about every recruiting problem that exists (and even some that don’t).

This cornucopia of options is great, but it can also be a lot to manage. Sometimes, it would make life easier if someone would just tell us what’s driving results for them so we know where to start.

We can help with that.

In our 2017 State of Tech Recruiting survey, we asked respondents to rank their top source-of-hire and hundreds of tech recruiters from around the country answered the call. Without further ado, let’s jump into the data and see what channels are driving the most hires for America’s tech recruiters in 2017.  


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31% of survey respondents ranked job boards as their top source-of-hire, making this the most productive channel for technical recruiters. Job boards aren’t the sexiest tool in a recruiter’s arsenal, but they’re a battle-tested resource that produces results.    

When it comes to sourcing and hiring qualified candidates through job boards, it’s all about assessing your needs and finding the option that best aligns with your requirements. Obviously, we’re partial to our job boards (which we’ve shamelessly plugged below), but there are literally hundreds of niche options out there sure to align with your industry, so find one that makes sense and give it a try.



Employee referral programs finished a close second, with 29% of respondents reporting this as their top source-of-hire. The benefits of an effective employee referral program are legion: more qualified candidates, shorter recruiting timelines and reduced costs, to name but a few.

But designing and managing an employee referral program is a difficult task. From setting goals and identifying your ideal target candidates to determining how best to incentivize referrals and promote the program to your team, there are a lot of moving parts. Our list 80+ tips, tools and resources for building a talent pipeline includes a trove of must-read content for anyone launching or optimizing an employee referral program, so make sure to check it out.



Careers pages may have finished in third place — with 26% of respondents identifying this channel as their top source-of-hire — but don’t underestimate their importance. They may not drive the most hires, but 84% of job seekers utilize careers pages to research a company before applying, making this platform crucial for hiring success.  

Keep that use-case in mind when designing or updating your careers page, because it’s important you provide an experience that will address the needs of potential candidates. Teach them about the company, its culture and products. Help them understand what it would be like to work with your team. Make it easy for them to find and apply for open positions. And if you really want to stand out from the pack, avoid these common cliches that have been done to death.



We see a big drop off heading into the back half of our list, with just 6% of respondents ranking external agencies as their top source-of-hire. Opinions on external recruiting agencies vary widely: Some see them as overpriced for what they produce while others consider them to be a core element of their talent acquisition strategy.

Rather than dig in on a particular side of the debate, why not take a situational approach? Consider your position, and ask yourself a few questions. Do you have the personnel you need to staff an effective recruiting team? Do you have the contacts needed to source qualified candidates? Can you afford the fees a third-party will charge? The answers to these questions, and others, will help you make an informed decision.



Social media checked in at fifth on our list, with 5% of respondents indicating it as their top source-of-hire. That may seem low, but like careers pages, the importance of social media has more to do with delivering information than driving hires.

Job seekers rely on a host of social platforms to find career opportunities, research companies and connect with potential co-workers. Though candidates may not apply via these channels, their importance can’t be overstated. As the process of attributing candidates to the proper source continues to improve, we’ll likely see social media represent a much larger slice of the source-of-hire pie.



Last but not least, recruitment events and job fairs took sixth place, with 3% of recruiters ranking them as their top source-of-hire. While not surprising, this is unfortunate, as face-to-face events offer some real advantages.

Job seekers care about culture more than ever. In fact, for 66% of candidates, a company’s culture and values are the most important factor when considering a job opportunity, and in-person events are the perfect way to share these attributes. Inviting active and passive candidates into your office for a simple meet and greet allows you to establish tangible relationships and help you stand out in a sea of job postings. Just make sure Phil from accounting doesn’t overdo it on the punch.

While this list will certainly change over time, it provides some great insight into the channels that are driving results for tech recruiters in 2017. If any of these channels aren’t in your existing recruiting mix, it may be time to start experimenting. And while you’re at it, download our 2017 State of Tech Recruiting Report for 30+ pages of additional data and analysis.


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