Recruiters often look to their talent pools, on the Internet and within their business networks for candidates to fill a position, but referrals can also be a powerful tool in the recruiter’s arsenal. An employee referral is an industry term for when a current employee supplies a candidate to a recruiter from their own network. If they are serious about their careers, employees know others in their industry or even in their specific position within other companies. These employees can then refer qualified candidates for the open position.
Trust and Connection
Referrals are often said to be the most powerful and effective method of recruiting. For one, referrals are often the most cost effective (free.) Additionally, people are highly inclined to hire people that they know and trust people that share common friendships and professional relationships. Candidate referrals immediately creative a connection imbued with trust. Recruiters that have a personal connection to a candidate can convey that history to their clients and internal hiring managers. So besides being the most cost effective and most used form of recruiting, job referrals are also a highly effective conduit of trust and personal connection in the hiring process.
Understanding the Client
When starting an employee referral program for your client, it is important to get detailed feedback from current employees not only about people who would be great candidates, but about the experience of working for the company. Talking with current employees can help a recruiter better understand the company culture, the nature of the industry and the qualities of a successful employee. People who are already working for the company will be able to give a recruiter a more complete picture of the client and the position.
Finding Qualified Candidates
No one knows better what it takes to work for a company than someone who already works there, and this can help recruiters understand exactly what qualifications a candidate will need in order to be successful in a position. Employees will also have contacts among people they went to school with or worked with in the past, and their referrals will already be more likely to be qualified than someone from a general talent pool.
Expanding Your Network
Even if a particular referral candidate isn’t a good match for the position, a recruiter should still keep that candidate’s information for other positions. Working with employees in a referral program helps a recruiter expand their network and gives them a ready-made talent pool if they ever get another position in the same industry or a similar position in a different industry.
Candidate Referral Technology
Employee referrals are receiving revived attention due to social technology. More regular professionals have developed professional networks through Linkedin and other services. Candidate networking, once only available to professional recruiters with well developed networks, is now available to most regular professionals. New recruitment technologies have been springing up and attracting investment that promise to capture that unique trust and connection conferred upon referrals. They leverage the distributive strength of employee social networks to solicit referrals from employee’s friends and professional connections. Referral technology is a “hot” technology as of this date, and promises to open up a new area of recruitment.
With these things in mind, referrals should be a strategic part of every recruiters arsenal. Whether you are a corporate recruiter or recruitment agency professional, it is worth spending some time to develop a systematic approach to referral development. Recruitment technology is addressing referrals in a more pragmatic way than ever before. However, until the holy grail of recruiting is discovered, be sure to continue to branch out of your network through your existing connections – it’s the most powerful and effective form of recruiting.