Employee Referrals: Great Source of Talent Acquisition

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Employee Referrals are a Great Source of Talent Acquisition

Hiring the right person for the job sometimes means having the right person already on the job.

Human culture turns on relationships.  Whether personal or professional—social connections matter, especially when you are recruiting for experience, skill, and fit.

When you are looking to hire, or be hired, understanding the importance of a professional referral is important.  As talent pools drain in a competitive hiring market, make use of your own employees to improve your odds of a good hire.  Consider the following points:

  • The recruiting cycle is expensive: For many reasons, it is essential to make a hiring decision that fills your open position while serving the long-term goals of the company.  We talked earlier about the real costs of employee turnover.  If you make the right choice up front, chances are better that you will not need to rehire for the position again soon.
  • Friends help friends: As you build, engage, and promote your workforce, your teams become company advocates.  Writing on the company blog, or their own social media, your employees are ambassadors for your business.  When a position opens up—those team members know their network and who would be a good fit.  A personal referral benefits their contact, their company, and their work team. A good referral saves you time, money, and gives you the inside track on a likely desirable job candidate.
  • Fast-track hiring: Learning early of an upcoming job opening gives referred applicants a chance to submit materials sooner than general applicants.  Already familiar with your company, personal referrals are usually motivated to get a foot in the door before others, to increase their hiring odds.  During the interview process, applicant and employer already have a common connection in the referring employee. Fill your position sooner, without the attendant recruiting costs, by using personal referrals.

Employee referrals often lead to accepted job offers

A recent study by Glassdoor offers a look at the value of recruiting from the inside out.

In a study that evaluated more than 400,000 reported reviews of job interviews, researchers defined six common job interview triggers, including:

  • Employee referrals
  • Referrals from educational institutions
  • Recruiting companies
  • Recruiters
  • Job applications in-person
  • Job applications online

Of these channels, the study found employee referrals created the most successful job match.  With all other factors in play, applicants located via employee referral were more often the best fit for the job.  While this won’t be news to experienced recruiters or hiring managers, it reinforces the need to develop your workforce as a recruiting tool through a referral program.

Build a better employee referral program

Improve your chances in a competitive job market by fine-tuning your employee referral program.  A well-structured program allows your employees to act as recruiters for your company wherever they are.  Here are some tips for boosting your success with employee referrals:

  • Create the space: Devote the resources needed to develop a referral program.  Occasionally circulating an email about an open position does not offer structure or incentive.  Create a program regularly—and routinely—endorsed by management and leadership.  Be sure employees are offered training and education about what makes a good referral—and a good fit—for your company.
  • Candidate journey: Flag and treat applications submitted by employee referrals with care. Customization is important inside and outside your company—use a personal touch with candidates referred by employees.  Move referred applicants through your screening process efficiently.  Keep the candidate informed throughout the process and keep the referring employee informed about status.
  • Rewards: Create a clear path to rewards for employees who cultivate great talent for your company.  Offer incentives, like products, money, scheduled time off, a trip, or other perks for offering referrals and staying up to date on the hiring needs of your company.  Personalize your program by recognizing those who refer—and the employees hired from the referral.
  • Take it outside: Offer rewards and incentives to clients and others you know who provide top-quality talent referrals to your company.  As in sales, a personal referral is a gold standard in recruiting.  Be sure your company network, and clients, know you are always interested in talking to people they believe would be a good fit for your company.

Paired with well-designed recruiting software, high-quality employee referrals save you money and time when you need to build or expand your workforce.  When you are looking to fill a position—inquire within!


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