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From Application to Offer, a Conversion Analysis of Job Hunting August 31, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Strategy.

As many of you are already aware, my position at Zmags was eliminated this summer which left me jobless like many of you. I contemplated starting my own gig. Could I make it as a blogger? Could I do this for real? Could I charge companies an hourly rate to teach them how I do what I do so well? Am I even a good marketer? If Zmags couldn’t find a need for me, could anyone?

But as I reflected upon these questions, I had to proactively seek employment or else the unemployment checks would cease and desist. And so I hit the pavement, applying for jobs, calling on recruiters, going on interviews, sending thank you cards and last week I received 3 job offers. Yes, that’s right. 3! In this economy that sucks so badly, I had 3 companies that wanted me to come work for them.

It took me exactly 2 months from the time I walked out of Zmags holding my sad little lamp and a few photos of friends to the time I received a formal offer in my inbox. My full-time job between June 22 and August 22 was to find a job. I took diligent notes along the way and thought it would be an interesting exercise to calculate the conversion rate of my efforts (hey I am a marketer and am a little obsessed with analytics).

The Math i.e. The Funnel Analysis

Timeframe: June 22 – Aug 22 (40 ‘work’ days)

I spent nearly every weekday from 8am-4pm at my computer either:
–          Looking for jobs posted on Indeed.com, LinkedIn and other career posting sites
–          Building my blog, writing content for it and building a community
–          Participating in LinkedIn discussions related to my professional interests
–          Consuming, sharing and commenting on content related to marketing
–          Building relationships with the marketing community
–          Speaking to recruiters and other people in my network

Here are the stats:

Applied for 50 jobs online (Indeed.com) – an average of 1.25 jobs/day
Received a response back from 12 phone companies wishing to learn more about me – 24% response rate
Scheduled 11 phone interviews – 92% response rate
2 companies were willing to invite me in for an interview but the budget was not a fit with my requirements
4 companies invited me to their offices for a formal interview – 44% response rate
2 companies offered me positions and the other 2 were still in the decision phase – 50% response rate

4% Conversion

Built relationships with 5 recruiters
2 recruiters got me to a phone interview stage with 1 company each – 40% response rate
Both companies asked me to come into their offices for live interviews – 100% response rate
Both companies asked me to speak with senior management officials – 100% response rate
1 company offered me a position, and the other company was still in the decision phase when I accepted the position with my new company – 50% response rate

20% Conversion

The Analysis

While the response rates for working independently and applying for job postings online vs. through a recruiter are seemingly the same when comparing the # of jobs applied to and the overall response rate, the conversion rate of receiving an offer from a company that was introduced to me by a recruiter is 5 times as better than working 6-8 hours per day independently.

Should I find myself in similar circumstances in the future, I will surely spend more time and effort working with recruiters and building those relationships. On the downside, 3 of the 5 recruiters did not provide me with any leads during the 40 day period which leads me to believe that I need to work with even more recruiters to have just as many opportunities as were presented to me when I went out on my own.

Dive a little bit deeper and we can also calculate what my efforts would need to be in order to get a position in less than 40 days (assuming the companies are quick to make a decision and fill the role) or to receive twice as many offers in the same period of time.

If applying for 1.25 jobs/day totally 50 jobs -> 12 responses -> 11 phone interviews -> 4 formal interviews -> 2 offers, then I may attempt to apply for 5 jobs/day over a 20 day period to yield 100 jobs resulting in -> 24 responses -> 22 phone interviews -> 8 formal interviews -> 4 offers.

‘Best Practices’ Tested

I dabbled in a bit of A/B testing because I wanted to test ‘best practices’ and also see if what advice I was given was correct.

Sending a cover letter every time you apply for a position regardless of how you apply.
I think you should make an effort to do this.
–          I found that companies that posted positions that required you to email a resume seemingly implied you should include a cover letter or letter of intent (seems a little strange to send an attachment i.e. your resume with no message – right?)
–          When applying for positions on job sites like Indeed or CareerBuilder, I found no difference between attaching a cover letter and not

Sending a formal thank you after the interview (whether phone or in person).
I remain neutral.
–          I found no difference when I sent a handwritten thank you card in the mail vs. an email
–          I found no difference in sending an email the same day or 1-2 days after the interview
–          I found no difference in not sending a thank you after a phone interview (not sending one did not result in my not being called back to proceed to the next step)
–          I did however find that my notes taken during the interview process helped me immensely when crafting these messages

Budgets and your expectations.
Know your worth and stand by it.
–          Some may find, as I did, that in an economy such as the one we are in right now, you may have to take a pay cut in order to land a job – not true
–          As you saw above, at the phone interview stage I always inquired about the budget for the position. Usually the company asked for my expectations to which I provided them with a range and asked if this was within their budget. If they said no, I said thanks but no thanks.

Interview attire and the infamous monkey suit.
Dress for the role you want but don’t be something you are not.
–          Nobody wears monkey suits anymore. They just don’t. I wore a suit to an interview and the hiring manager asked me not to wear one again.
–          After that, I wore professional attire that I would wear to work any day. No complaints.

So where am I working? I will fill you in on all the details in a post later next week but there is a hint in that question – wink wink ;).

What are you experiencing out there in the market? Is it a slow moving target, are you interviewing steadily, have your response rates fluctuated? Love to hear your thoughts!



1. Beth Wilson - August 31, 2011

Congratulations, Christina! What a wonderful post this is. As marketers, it’s imperative that we be mindful of analytics, so long as those analytics lead to a plan of action. You measured each step of the process, analyzed it, and then made an educated decision for your next move. It’s smart to apply this to all aspects of marketing, and it’s great to see how it was successful for you in your job search. Looking forward to hearing about your new position!

christinapappas - August 31, 2011

Hi Beth,

Thank you! I am really excited about my new opportunity! (more next week on where I landed!)

To be honest, I have been really fortunate throughout my career with regards to job hunting and what I mean by that is this is the first time since just coming out of college that I had to send out resumes and actively secure a position (each move before was initiated by the company seeking to hire me). So with that being said, I couldnt help but put everything to the test – A/B test that is – and see how the conversion rates stacked up when we went out on our own or worked with recruiters. Depending upon who you speak to, you get different advice and I took listened to everyone with a grain of you know what and then made my own decisions. But I love data like this because I get to share it with people who are currently job prospecting and its always good to have for next time when/if that time comes!

2. Christian in Boston (@Christian01876) - August 31, 2011

Pretty Cool

christinapappas - August 31, 2011

Thanks Christian! It was a fun analysis to do!

3. Eric Gervase - August 31, 2011

Good for you Christine!

christinapappas - August 31, 2011

Thanks Eric!

4. Eric Gervase - August 31, 2011

Christina… sorry. 🙂

5. Shannon Lutz - August 31, 2011

Wow what a great post! Thanks for sharing this information and being so transparent about your own situation. Congratulations on your success with the jobs! You rock!

christinapappas - August 31, 2011

Hi Shannon,

Thanks so much! Someone’s gotta be transparent or else we dont have much of a benchmark to start from. Happy to do it and share any and all details from the experience.

6. Ari Herzog - September 5, 2011

Something you didn’t mention that drives me bezerk is when you are asked to meet a search committee for an interview and are told when they expect to make a decision, and 30 days after that decision date you still haven’t heard back.

A simple “No thank you” would suffice.

christinapappas - September 6, 2011

A very frustrating thing to go through I agree! I will share that of all the companies I had phone interviews with and that did not make me an offer, I only received an email from 1 saying they hired from within. I’m not trying to defend the hiring managers here but I truly believe they are overwhelmed. Yes they have a job opening that want and need to fill but they have tons of applicants. If it’s a job you really really want and are targeting, then I would suggest you reach out to them – in moderation – and ask what’s up.

7. WHERE is Where I am « The Content Cocktail - September 19, 2011

[…] you missed it, take a look at my conversion rate for job hunting post. Its pretty interesting to see how the numbers added up. Eco World Content From Across The […]

8. WHERE is Where I am - September 27, 2011

[…] you missed it, take a look at my conversion rate for job hunting post. Its pretty interesting to see how the numbers added up. Filed Under: Blog, […]

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