Someone, particularly a current employee of your target employer, who refers you for a job opportunity deserves your sincere gratitude expressed in a great thank you. They have put you at the head of the line of people applying for a job. According to recent studies, you are 5 to 10 times more likely to be hired when referred by a current employee.
Employers love their employee referral programs (a.k.a., "ERP") because employees hired through those programs are usually more successful than non-referred employees, stay longer, and also have a lower total cost-of-hire. All benefits for the employer. And, often, through the ERP program, the employee making the referral receives a financial reward when the person they referred is hired.
Like the thank you for a job referral by an external recruiter (when an external recruiter refers you to a job), this thank you provides an update about what happened in the interview.
Of course, it also contains your thanks for the referral and the major advantage provided to you as a result.
Like other job interview thank you notes, send this message as soon as possible after the job interview.
Email is usually acceptable in most situations, particularly if email has been your standard way of communicating with the person who referred you. To be sure the thank you is received, consider following up with a hand-written or typed thank you note sent to the person's business address.
On the other hand, if your other correspondence with the referring employee has been formal, don't use email for your thank you. Send a formal note via the postal service, and send it very promptly as with all of your thank you notes.
Keep your note short and to the point. Be honest, but don't be negative. If you think something went seriously wrong in the interview, you may want to share what happened, and ask for advice, depending on your relationship with the employee.
Adapt the text in the samples below to your circumstances.
Replace the Italicized text in both samples, below, with whatever terms are appropriate for you and your situation.
For a formal message, typed (or hand written) and sent in a stamped envelope, use the formal business letter format like this:
Your street address
Your City, State and Zip Code
Date of the letter
Name of the Recipient
Job Title of the Recipient
Name of the Employer
Employer's Street Address
Employer's City, State and Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
Thank you very much for referring me to the[Job Title] position at [Employer Name]! I interviewed for the job today [or yesterday or the date] with [Name and Job Title], [Name and Job Title], and [Name and Job Title] at [location, if relevant].
I think the interviews went well, and I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about [Employer Name]. I look forward to the next steps in the hiring process. [Name] told me that they would be in touch in [timeframe]. If you would like, I will keep you posted.
Again, thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate your assistance.
[Your tagline, like "eCommerce Customer Support Specialist"]
[Your job search email address]
When you have a less formal relationship with the employee who made the referral, particularly if you have been communicating via email or if you email this person regularly on other matters, email should be appropriate.
Subject: Latest update on your referral to [Job Title] position!
Dear [first name or Mr./Ms. Last Name]:
Thank you very much for referring me to the[Job Title] position at [Employer Name]! I greatly appreciate the time and effort you expended on my behalf.
I interviewed for the job today [or yesterday or the date] with [Name and Job Title], [Name and Job Title], and [Name and Job Title] at [location, if relevant].
I think the interviews went well, and I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about [Employer Name]. [Name] told me that they would be in touch in [time frame] for the next steps in the process. If you would like, I will keep you posted about any progress being made.
[If the person helped you prepare for the interview or offered you advice and guidance, you might want to briefly share an example of how that help or advice was useful.]
I look forward to moving on to the next steps in this hiring process.
Again, thank you for your referral [or referral and help, if appropriate].Your assistance was essential.
[Your job title or tagline, like "eCommerce Customer Support Specialist"]
[LinkedIn Profile URL]
[Phone number -- not your work number if you are employed]
Don't bug your contact about what is happening at the employer. Hopefully, your thank you note will motivate them to respond to you, perhaps after checking to discover the post-interview perspective of the interviewers.
Unless you have great news to report (like another round of interviews or a job offer), wait at least a week before contacting the person again, even if the schedule discussed in the interview is missed.
If you receive a job offer later, be sure to send another note plus a bouquet of flowers or some other appropriate gift to the person who referred you!
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.