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4 Simple Ways to Get Better Referrals

Posted by Mervyn Dinnen

10-Jul-2015 09:00:00

It's no surprise that referrals are regularly seen a main source of quality hires. They have a connection with the hiring business, know people who work there or have worked there, and probably already have a grasp of the culture and what it takes to succeed. They will have bought into the values and way the hiring company operates, which means they have a much stronger chance of converting from applicant to hire.




Referrals will usually settle quicker, helped by having connections within the business already, and are unlikely to have their expectations mismanaged. The hiring company probably also takes better care of them as losing an unhappy referred employee may inevitably mean also losing the person who referred them. All in all this helps greater collaboration and increased brand identity, leading to better engagement and stronger culture - which in turn cuts down on management time and helps boost productivity.

The landscape for referrals is now changing

Companies are probably already connected in some way to their next hire; they maybe just haven't identified the connection yet. There are many sources - networks of employees and alumni, previously unsuccessful applicants and their networks, customers and collaborators, and their friends and connections. People who have liked the company Facebook page, or followed the corporate twitter account, and their networks.

With better retention, quality and productivity, the case for recruiting through referrals is strong…so how do we go about spreading the word? The annual Edelman Trust Barometer usually finds 'people like me' or 'my friends and family' as the most trusted source of information and recommendation - we need our employees to be reaching out.


broadbeantwitter-01  Use rewards and incentives to encourage employees to refer their friends for jobs.


Traditionally, employers just asked around

Who do their people know, whom would they recommend - friends, neighbours, schoolmates and ex-colleagues. There were rewards and incentives, usually in the form of cash or gifts such as a meal out or weekend away. Before email it was left to hiring managers or HR to do the asking, and put up posters in the canteen, or even toilets, to remind employees that there were vacancies needing to be filled. More recently group emails for each vacancy have been sent, usually with a link to the career site.

Recruitment consultants similarly looked for referrals, usually grilling interviewees for names. I can remember occasions when someone I was interviewing would try and negotiate a 'reward' greater than that which their employer was offering, and in some cases even inviting me to their leaving drinks so that colleagues could talk to me. With a bonus for anyone I placed!”

Give them this information up front. Is it a full-time position? Contract? Part-time? Seasonal? These are all pieces of information that will not only help you pre-filter the candidate pool, but information candidates want to see. When you begin creating a job advertisement, be sure to include this vital information so you don’t miss a potential ideal candidate in the lack of detail.


broadbeantwitter-01 What do candidates really want to see in a job ad? Appeal to them using information upfront!


Get to know everyone digitally

Now we have digitally enhanced, socially enabled workplaces. Every employee has a network, with a reach far exceeding his or her number of connections. Their messages are authentic, hence trustworthy, and enhanced through transparency, as those interacting with them know that they come from individuals and not a 'brand'. These messages take the form of content - whether it's job descriptions, or written in blog format, social media updates, videos, webinars, podcasts or images - and are the smart way to drive referrals by showcasing the type of organisation you are, the vision and values, and offering a window on what it would be like to work there.

How can the messages get out there? By leveraging and enhancing the power of your workforce as social ambassadors and employer brand advocates.


Here are 4 ways to make it happen...

Strong Employer Brand - It goes without saying that unless you're a great place to work, and your employees believe that too, then getting referrals won't be easy. Potential hires will respond to positive messages about your culture and your people need to believe it if they are to send out the right signals. The stronger the brand, and closer the bonds within the business, then the more attractive the messaging is likely to be.

Encourage Creation - There needs to be a mind-set of content creation. Your people should feel that they can talk about the employment experience, be proud to share stories and images of the work environment, with managers comfortable that what's shared will reflect the company culture. Referrals want to know that the impressions they gain of the working environment are accurate, and the best way to achieve this is to let them see it through the eyes of people they trust.

Sharing - The most interesting stories will fail to entice candidates unless shared in a way that they can absorb and interact with. As well as encouraging content, businesses need to encourage the sharing of that content to the widest audience. Whatever the platform - be it a social channel or through the corporate website - or device - most probably mobile - sharing must be consistent and persistent, easy and fun.

Reward - The ultimate aim is to drive quality of hire and retention through hiring people who have a close identification with the business. Rewards drive behaviours so if you want a culture of content creation, sharing and referral of strong candidates, then these activities need to be rewarded. Gamifying the process is one way to increase interaction and also a good way to make it fun without being too competitive. Rewards don't always have to be financial.

What works for you?

Share with us your top tips for generating referrals - what's worked and what hasn't - we'd love to hear all about it.




SocialReferral is THE automated and seamless workflow for employee referral. Empower your employees and realise the real value of referral, each and every day.

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