Skip to main content

For this research-based article, I decided to debunk or support two claims I hear frequently about networking and connection.

You’ll never need to apply for a job again if you are a good networker.

Are the days of the “tap on the shoulder” for your next job still alive and well or have they gone by the wayside? In research conducted by Lou Adler and LinkedIn, they quantified the talent market using the following descriptions:

  • Active candidates seeking new jobs – 5-20% of talent market
  • Tiptoers (those casually looking for another job) – 15-20%
  • Passive (employed and not looking) – 65-75%

Of these groups, active candidates found their next job through networking 45% of the time; tiptoers 60%, and passive 62%. Most impressively, of those in the passive category who ended up changing jobs, only 8% got the job through applying for it directly. My conclusion based on this data is that while you might need to keep an updated resume on hand at all times, you are better off being open to new possibilities in casual conversation with friends and acquaintances than scouring job boards.

I can relate to this data based on my experience getting a job five years ago. I had begun to express interest in moving into a new role at my company. I was also pregnant with my second child at the time, so was not actively looking for a new role. While at home on maternity leave, an MBA classmate and colleague at my company called to tell me about an open position he wanted me to consider. In between chasing a toddler and nursing a baby, I definitely wasn’t looking at any job boards. He cracked open the door to an opportunity that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about. However, if I had kept quiet and not told him I was open to other opportunities, he might not have called. When in doubt, share what you want to do next! It might not be a tap on the shoulder and you’re in, but it could be the start of a conversation that will lead you to your next role.

People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.

Gallup has another way to look at this. They consistently find through employee engagement surveys that only about 30% of people are engaged at work. While they don’t point directly at people quitting jobs because of managers (because they survey people still working at their companies), their research indicates that companies are hiring the wrong managers – getting it wrong up to 82% of the time. What are the best qualities in a manager according to Gallup? Ability to motivate, use assertiveness to drive outcomes, foster accountability, create trust and transparency through relationship-building, and making decisions based on productivity, not politics. Whew! This would cause anyone who considers herself a great leader to second guess her ability. It’s easy to see that managers might be very strong in 2-3 of these areas, but checking the box on all five areas is a tall order.

Beyond this data from Gallup, personal experience has taught me that the more managers allow people to show up authentically and share openly, the greater the level of engagement. In most corporate settings, we have moved well beyond the need for command and control management. Allowing people to be themselves and giving them the opportunity to do their best work every day goes a long way toward employee satisfaction and loyalty.

How are you showing up for your team, your manager, and your company? How open are you about what you want to do next?

Having trouble telling this story? If so, reach out to me. I’d be happy to spend 30 minutes with you to discuss your goals and help create an action plan that will keep you ahead of the curve.

52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections is offered by Small Town Leadership. If you would like to see how much progress you can make toward making our big world feel like a smaller place, SIGN UP to receive these articles on a weekly basis.

YES – I want to make our big world feel like a smaller place. Deliver the weekly content directly to my inbox!


Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

Leave a Reply