How to Connect with Employee Referrals, the Source Employers Prefer
According to the many recent studies of hiring practices in the USA, nearly 65% of all hires result from internal movement and referrals. This means that the job boards and corporate career sites are less effective than a personal recommendation.
Employee referrals work because they are a win-win situation! There are benefits for the candidate, and the employer benefits as well.
Employers Prefer a Referred Candidate
Now, rather than request a resume, employers comb through social networking databases for potential talent without the prospect even knowing who reviewed their records. Interactions happen instantly, and time zone and geographical barriers have disappeared enabling more communication at no cost between employers and candidates.
5 Reasons Employee Referrals Work
Why do employee referrals produce the majority of job offers and acceptances?
- Those who are referred often have a competitive advantage over other external prospects being informed about the potential opportunity before the position is officially announced.
- Referred candidates can put their hat into the ring around the same time as internal candidates and well ahead of external applicants who don't have an insider contact.
- Smaller recruiting budgets demand less costly hiring solutions. Employee referrals come at the right price: there are no external recruiter fees or advertising expenses, although the referring employee often receives a financial reward.
- Not only do employee referrals usually generate seriously interested candidates who already have at least one connection at the company, but also there is a palpable sense of trust when someone is referred by an individual already familiar with and known by the organization.
- Referred candidates can perform better during interviews because they have better access to learn about company needs and challenges and may already be familiar with the corporate culture.
All of this could mean the new employee adapts more quickly to the new position and has a shorter learning curve - which translates into less risk (and potentailly less expense) for the employer.
Always remember that asking for and getting a referrals should be done in the context of a relationship, not a one-time only transaction. People are much more open to helping if they feel that they know you, trust you and like you.
What does this mean for individual job seekers?
- Get out and network to connect with those employees who may become referral sources, because referrals are the best way to secure a new job.
- Don’t rely on job boards exclusively; diversify your campaign. Include traditional networking venues, social networking channels, recruiters, career fairs, specialized industry career sites, etc.
- Watch what you post on social networks because employers are among those visiting your profile. Carefully manage your privacy settings. Better: don’t post anything that might be viewed as unprofessional.
- Once you have established a business connection, promote the relationship by exchanging information and keeping in touch. If a targeted contact doesn’t immediately produce job leads or other value, don’t drop the connection but continue to follow up.
- Be generous always. Look for ways to volunteer help rather than focusing on what the contact can do for you.
Finding Employee Referrals
Candidates who seek employee referrals devote more of their job searching time, energy, and efforts to connecting with employees of their target companies with the expectation that these connections will recommend them and help them be evaluated for a position at the employee’s company.
Today, finding the right employee connections is easier than ever.
- Don’t be reluctant to ask your contacts if they know someone that they can recommend you to at your target company. Make it easier for them to introduce you by providing a short summary of your relevant background and a couple of success stories demonstrating your fit for that organization.
- Check for 1st, 2nd , etc., and group connections on LinkedIn. Request an introduction through your own contacts. You can reach out directly to anyone who is also a member of a LinkedIn Group.
- Join LinkedIn groups whose membership includes employees, former employees, or others affiliated with your target company.
Other sources of employee contacts include:
- Writers, authors and expert speakers: check out industry publications, conference and meeting presenters, and interviews.
- Local community and volunteer organizations: companies sometimes sponsor employee participation in nearby and charitable activities.
- School alumni listings and other professional groups showing corporate affiliations.
For employee referrals, be patient, show interest in your network contacts, and be sure to express your appreciation. Show your thanks by offering to return the favor or doing something of equal or greater value to them. No one is obligated to help you, but most people enjoy being supportive especially if they feel appreciated and their generosity is reciprocated. Always be courteous, respectful of other people’s time, and say thanks.
© Copyright, 2011, Debra Feldman. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
About This Author:
Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally recognized executive talent agent and job search expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, customized senior level executive campaigns. Connect with Debra on LinkedIn or on Facebook. Follow @Debra_Feldman on Twitter. You can also email her (DebraFeldman@JobWhiz.com), or contact her via her website, JobWhiz.com.