A recent study by CareerXroads found that of all the full-time positions filled in 2009, 51 percent came from internal transfers and promotions, up from 39 percent in 2008 and 34 percent in 2007. And of the remaining positions that were filled by outsiders, 27 percent came from referrals.
One executive at a marketing firm with open positions on his team recently told me that he's considering only candidates he knows personally or who come recommended by a trusted colleague. "It's just too much of a risk to bring in someone from the outside," he said. "They might look good on paper and do well in a few interviews, but you really don't know how they'll actually perform on the job once they get here."