This is the first in a series of TalentRISE tips to help businesses secure an edge over competitors by evolving their HR and recruitment practices in the digital era.

Key Takeaways

  • Referrals really work!
  • There are new, great tools to make the process of soliciting referrals much easier than in the past
  • The ultimate key to success is to follow-up – don’t let resumes fall into the proverbial “black hole”

Put the pedal to the metal

Referral programs can (1) speed up hiring (2) produce better candidates and (3) boost retention. No wonder they are popular: on average, 24 percent of employee hires originate from a referral.  

Fire on all cylinders

Whether your business is just launching an employee referral program or needs to reinvigorate a referral program stuck in the slow lane, there are several tools that can help you do just that.

  • To proactively tap into your hiring manager social networks, connect to them via LinkedIn and share hot jobs. LinkedIn has also developed a new Employee Referral feature to automate and track your social employee referral programs.
  • Crowdsource qualified referrals using tools like Wisestep and Indeed Crowd to source referrals from employees and job candidates. The latter can be used to source referrals from candidates searching Indeed for themselves.
  • Turn your employees into “brand ambassadors” to engage passive talent using tools that distribute your branded content about jobs, careers and your workplace to targeted candidate populations through your employees’, and job candidates’, social networks. One such tool, SymphonyTalent (formerly QueSocial) provides a simplified way to easily distribute your branded content to engage targeted talent populations.

How these referral strategies work:

Many employers simply don’t do enough to promote their referral programs – they may casually touch upon about their referral bonus program as part of a new hire onboarding discussion, via the company intranet or periodic all-staff communications. This low-key approach leaves the candidate referral activity completely up to the highly passive / reactive decision of employees and hiring managers who choose to participate.  Those that do participate are A) motivated by the financial incentive to participate, B) have the time to proactively tap their networks and recommend candidates or C) are regularly made aware of the open “hot” jobs that they could potentially refer candidates.

Utilizing the tools noted above, employers are able to control the messaging AND proactively push jobs and branded content to engage targeted, or broad talent pools of employees, hiring managers and job candidates – as well as distribute those messages to their networks. Since these tools require “opting in” by those you ask to participate in the referral campaign, their engagement in the process and the quality of the referrals increases significantly when compared to the more typical, very reactive/passive employee referral programs most companies rely upon.

Stay in the fast lane

CAUTION!  There are a few keys to success in any referral program. Incentives, of course, are important if you want to motivate people to act quickly.  Effective tracking of referrals, using features included in these tools, also ensures ongoing program success. Most importantly, be sure to have a consistent, timely and high touch recruiter follow up and disposition process on ALL candidates referred by your program. Technology can improve your referral volume, quality and incentive tracking but the program will fail if you let the resumes you reap through referral programs plunge into the infamous resume “black hole”.

Look for another tip next month on how to engage – or even re-engage – the great candidates whose resumes may be gathering dust in the back reaches of your ATS system.  

Need more info? Contact Carl Kutsmode, Partner, TalentRISE.