How to Craft an Employee Referral Program That Will Bring in Great Candidates

When you’re looking to find great candidates, not just more candidates, referrals can be your most reliable source. Why? People know the type of work their friends, family and colleagues do, and also how well they do it and whether they will be receptive to a new opportunity. Here’s what referrals can mean to your business.

Referred applicants are more likely to:

  • Convert to a new hire than applicants from other sources
  • Require fewer interviews and a less rigorous vetting process
  • Be a cultural fit with your company
  • Onboard and ramp up quicker
  • Stay with your company longer

An effective employee referral program includes:

Rewards and incentives.

Employers are quick to offer cash or gift cards, but an extra day of PTO may be more appreciated. Experiment with different types of incentives, but don’t rely on them. Google tried doubling its already generous referral bonus but saw no real increase in results. They found people refer their friends because they are happy where they are working, not just for the financial incentives.

This can indicate employees are more likely to refer only those they want to work with because they are invested in keeping their company a wonderful place to work.

Engagement and follow-up.

Discuss with employees the importance of providing referrals and what it means to the company’s success. Keep them up to date on the progress of any candidates going through your hiring process. Call the referral promptly and ask the referring employee to make sure the prospect knows you will be calling. This prevents you from blindsiding a candidate and keeps your employee as invested as possible.

Education and communication.

Get people on your team thinking. They might believe don’t know anyone, but could have a friend of a friend who is suitable. Ask them to go through their network and choose one person they would recommend. You may even need to talk to employees about what a network is. We tend to toss this term around assuming people understand what we mean. Ask them to share opportunities on social media, talk to friends and family and ask them to share who they may know.

Be specific in your requests. Don’t say, “We have an employee referral program, be sure to tell us if you know any good people!” Say, “We need a manager; who is the strongest leader you know?” “We need assemblers; who do you know that’s reliable and hardworking?”

Chances are, your employees want to help but need guidance for your referral program to be truly effective.

At TERRA Staffing Group, we understand great candidates can come from a variety of sources. That’s why we work with you to understand your goals and help you spend more time working towards them and less time hiring.

Contact us today to learn more about our staffing solutions in Portland, Seattle and Phoenix.

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