Referrals are part of how many businesses operate and should form part of any successful recruitment strategy. Very often this means putting in place an employee referral bonus and sitting back waiting for the results. This method may bring some results but significantly underutilises the potential of referrals by taking advantage of only one channel and not being pro-active enough about it.
One more point: Referrals must be earned!
Employee referrals are shown to have the highest ROI of all sourcing channels, with 1 in 10 employee referrals likely to get the job!
There are however more channels than just employee referrals which can be used:
- Employee referrals – this is the most common type and when utilised correctly can help reap great results. It is important however to take a proactive approach, for example when vacancies are available for accountancy roles, this should be promoted with the organisations’ accounting department.
- Partner referrals – in instances where your organisation has a number of key business partners who have a good knowledge of your business, they can be a great source of referrals.
- Ex-employee referrals – ex-employees may be an excellent source of referrals or may even be interested in positions themselves.
- Applicant referrals – are commonly used by agency recruiters but not so much so with corporate recruiters. If you can provide a positive applicant experience, even if not successful, applicants may be willing to refer friends & colleagues for your positions.
- Contractor referrals – if your organisation employees contractors, they may be an excellent source of referral as they will have a good knowledge of your business having spent time contracting with you and may now be working on contracts with daily access to your competitors employees!
To utilise any of these referral sources, it is very important to ensure that the employer branding is optimised and that a positive applicant experience is in place.
Some best practices which should be considered when running any referral programme are;
- Keep it simple and easy for people to refer
- Honour all of your bonus commitments
- Don’t just use monetary incentives, in many cases the use of competitions and recognition can be much more of a motivator than a simple cash bonus
- Be pro-active, focus attention onto the roles which you are having more difficulty filling or wish to reduce costs on
- Remove low quality referrals