Recruiting teams spanning all industries and of every size are often looking for that “Holy Grail” to find the right candidates. While each source for finding talent comes with its own benefits, no one tactic is perfect. They all work in conjunction to bring in talent.
But let’s say we had to name a recruiting strategy that continues to be effective for companies all over and gets as close to that “Holy Grail” status as is possible. It’s got to be employee referral programs.
Tapping into existing employees to find potential candidates has long been a successful method for many organizations. After all, your current employees are the ones who know what it’s like to work at your company, and they likely have an established network of connections who possess the skills and qualifications needed to thrive in the roles you’re hiring for.
There’s also a wide range of data points that highlight just how effective referral programs can be — for companies, employees and candidates alike:
- 82% of companies say employee referral programs provide the best return on investment among recruitment strategies, according to CareerBuilder. 88% say these programs also generate the highest quality hires.
- 30% of candidates say that employee referral programs are a valuable source for finding new career opportunities, according to Talent Board’s 2018 Candidate Experience Research Report.
- 43% of referred candidates are more likely to refer other potential candidates, apply to additional jobs and even make purchases from a company compared to those who conducted their own search or were contacted directly by a recruiter, the Talent Board report found.
- 35% of employees provide referrals to help their friends and connections, and 32% do so to help their company, according to LinkedIn. This shows employees are not primarily motivated by monetary incentives that are often part of referral programs.
If you don’t have an employee referral program — or you do but aren’t spreading the word about it — you might be missing out on one of your best sources for finding talent.
To spur some inspiration, let’s take a look at some of the ways leading employers are implementing their referral programs and dive into the stellar results they’re seeing from their efforts:
With their employee referral program, customer experience solutions provider TTEC decided to make it easy for both employees and candidates to participate. The team designed referral cards that were then distributed to their current employees, who were asked to pass along the information to their connections. On these cards, a short text code was included that instructed potential candidates to text ‘TTEC” to a certain number. TTEC partnered with TextRecruit to provide an automated, personalized and engaging experience to candidates who texted, and allowed them to move through the process without waiting for a recruiter.
Through their referral program and the use of automation tools, 60% of TTEC candidates were able to schedule an interview without recruiter intervention!
Customer data infrastructure provider Segment saw an increasing trend in the number of employee-referred candidates they were getting, so they decided to launch a formal program to encourage more referrals. Through this formal program, the recruiting team highlights a specific job to other departments and employees to get them thinking about who they know who could be a good fit. Segment even turns it into a bit of a competition with a “Referral Leaderboard” that keeps track of where referred candidates are in the process. They plan to introduce incentives in the near future to bolster the program even further.
Thanks to their formal employee referral program, Segment consistently makes 40% of new hires from referrals, according to Drafted.
Professional services company Accenture puts a new spin on their employee referral program. They give the power of referrals to the candidates! During the application process, candidates can choose to participate in the “Get Referred!” program — by connecting via their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, the Accenture website scans through their connections and comes up with a list of people the candidate knows who work at the company. From there, the candidate can then send a referral request to the Accenture employee that is submitted along with their application.
Through the “Get Referred!” program, Accenture saw their employee referral rate grow by 20 percent, according to the company.
Developing an employee referral program can become one of your most effective strategies for bringing in new candidates. After all, your employees know best what it’s like to work for your company, and they can help you establish a strong connection with right-fit candidates that helps spur valuable relationships when they turn into your new employees.