Referral programs became a staple of recruitment for businesses around the globe. Research shows that the quality of candidates received through employee referrals is higher: they are more likely to accept the offer, stay longer, and show better results. But how do you navigate this highly subjective business of employee referral programs? Here’re our insights.
Communicate clearly. Casually fishing for the “talent pipeline” might not be the best strategy. Avoid using the general “refer a friend” message in your employee communications. If an employee brings a lead that cannot be interviewed for a specific job, both of them will be disappointed and might show zero initiative in the future. And they might express their negative feedback on social media (including LinkedIn and Glassdoor) – a direct hit on your employer brand. If you do have approved vacancies, share them on your internal channels by giving extra information on competencies you look for and providing clear instructions on how to approach the referral process.
Encourage both passive and active referrers. Passive referrers won’t invite their former colleague to the organization, but they can considerably reinforce your hiring efforts by sharing or simply liking your recruitment posts on social media. Identify your “influencers” – employees with a large number of connections. They’ll help you to get more leads. Active referrers will generally bring less but higher-quality candidates. Use both strategies to compliment your search.
Ensure your referrers are employer brand ambassadors. Your goal is not just to attract more candidates but to convey your employer brand and identify talent that connects to your values and joins you for the long haul. Make sure your referrers can advocate for your brand and, if needed, equip them with extra materials (such as candidate information guides, etc.) to inform their referees.
Avoid recruitment bias. Recruitment is prone to bias, but when it comes to close connections we tend to oversell someone’s skills just based on our close relationship. Make sure that you conduct a 360 degrees assessment by your recruiter/hiring manager/team members before making a hiring decision. Test assignments can be especially useful in highly competitive situations.
Award referrers, but don’t make bonuses their main motivation. Providing a highly generous bonus might play a bad trick. Your employees might be driven to get their connection hired, no matter what. There is a risk they might provide incomplete information both to you and your candidate. This is the last thing you want to think about, but keep it in mind. We recommend a moderate compensation to acknowledge your referrer’s efforts. In addition to that, it’s important to genuinely thank them and communicate a successful referral story internally.
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