Look within: 3 steps to building an internal employee referral program

Have you ever wondered how you can attract more talent to your company without tons of extra work?

Do you have the perfect opportunity, but can’t quite find the right person?

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

In fact, I’ve rarely met a leader who hasn’t felt frustrated by the challenge of finding the right person for the right role at the right time.

But here’s the kicker: you can implement one program that can change everything.

Your best recruiters? Employees!

Who better to lean on for recruitment than your own team?

They know the company better than anyone else.

And they can share the joys and perks of working at your company.

A recent Forbes article shared results from a Glassdoor study that showed, “candidates referred to a company by an existing employee have the best chance of receiving and accepting a job offer”.

Creating a stream of quality candidates

Whether you have a position to fill, or you’re not actively looking, you can still build a flow of talent toward your company.

That way, when openings occur, your time to fill is lower — and you have quality candidates waiting in the wings.

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, shares that, “Referrals work so well because they give companies information about the job seeker’s reputation and they give job seekers information about the company.”

Your 1-page internal referral program

Creating an employee referral program is easier than it might seem.

You can put one together by following these 3 easy steps:

  1. Write up a one page document inclusive of:
    • A slogan or tagline (i.e. “Have any family or friends that would make phenomenal employees?” or “Help us catch a rising star!”).
    • Define what type of people you’re looking for (i.e. cutting edge technologists, innovative thinkers, those who want to make a difference).
    • Where and to whom resumes can be sent, such as a recruiter’s email address or the company’s recruitment web page.
    • Any incentive for a successful placement (i.e. free movie tickets, two nights in a hotel, $200, or $1,000). An incentive isn’t always necessary, but it usually helps in creating momentum and motivation.
  2. Have a colleague or two review your referral document to ensure it aligns with the company culture and values.
  3. Launch program through a company-wide email, newsletter, or team meeting.

It’s important, of course, to phrase your campaign positively and be specific about what you’re looking for and when people might receive their incentive.

The power of an employee referral program

Giving your employees the confidence and motivation to refer great people gives you:

  • Increased leads: more people searching and referring equals an exponentially larger candidate pool.
  • Improved recruits: employees know your company best and will usually refer people who would be an excellent fit.
  • Increased engagement: when employees feel they are contributing, they’re more engaged and excited to be a part of the company.
  • Reduced time to fill: when you have a stream of high quality candidates, you’ll be able to fill jobs quicker and easier.

Making the program work

It’s crucial for the credibility of the program that you do the following 3 things:

  1. When an employee recommends someone for your business, make sure that you reach out and connect with them.
  2. Always treat them with respect. This goes without saying, whether they are the right fit or not.
  3. Thank the employee who referred and provide them feedback on the outcome (respecting the confidentiality of the applicant, of course)

Create an effective on-ramp for new candidates

Along with your internal referral program, you need an on-ramp that captures candidates’ attention and excites them to work for your company.

That’s your recruitment webpage.

Your recruitment webpage gives employees a simple way to share the opportunity with their friends or associates (you better believe candidates will be scoping out your culture to see if it’s the type of place they’d feel at home).

When your recruitment webpage shines, more candidates click the Apply Now button.

It’s a critical stage of the recruitment process.

Any questions?

If you have questions on this topic or any others, feel free to reach me by email or set up a free one-on-one consultation session, or drop me a comment below.

Thanks for sharing!