Making the most of your employee networks when recruiting

Orla Hodnett
Orla Hodnett

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. That old chestnut tends to come up pretty often. Extremely often if your grandma is the one offering the advice. Nowhere is this truer than in recruiting. Employee referrals are a very effective way of hiring.

Your employee networks are among your greatest resources for candidates. Employee referrals lead to quicker, less expensive hires. Retention rates are much better. Your current employees will understand better than anyone what your needs are in a candidate.

By making use of your recruiting software, good employee communications and a rewards program, you can reach your employees’ talented friends

The best thing about employee referrals is that a program is simple to implement. By making use of your recruiting software, good employee communications and a rewards program, you can reach your employees’ talented friends. Here are a few tips on how to implement a referrals program.

Rewards Program

You have to reward candidates for their efforts and incentivise future participation in your referrals program. Your employees should feel that their input to the process is valued, so this part of the process should not be underestimated.

Cash is the usual incentive offered, with the reward issued upon the successful hiring of the employee’s referred candidate. This is the most frequently used reward, but it is not the only option. If cash rewards are not an option, there are many alternatives… many more if imagination allows. Additional time off or a points system are two such examples, to demonstrate your appreciation.

Heard it through the grapevine

Getting the word out to your employees is very important. If you cannot effectively spread this information to all of your team, you are losing out on their entire network of contacts. I’m not going to do the multiplication for you, but the numbers are not good.

Depending on the type and volume of hiring you are doing, modify your means of communication accordingly. If you have ongoing campaigns in a particular area, maybe send out a monthly email reminder to your colleagues, requesting any appropriate referrals. If occasional roles come up, maybe send out a periodic request for any broadly suitable referrals.

Keepie Uppies

The only minor difficulty in the referrals process is keeping the whole thing ticking over. If you do not have any open roles for a couple of months, it becomes very easy to let the program fizzle out. It is understandable if you do not have an immediate need, that the referrals program seems less important.

If you keep the referrals program going in quiet periods, you will really feel the benefit when hiring ramps up. This is where the efficiency is really gained. If after a quiet period you need to hire, you may have some of the sourcing leg work done already, if you have an effective referrals program. If you are using recruiting software, you will have profiles ready on the candidates.

A referrals program is all about gaining efficiencies, so incorporating tools into the process will really help to streamline the process

Tools

A referrals program is all about gaining efficiencies, so incorporating tools into the process will really help to streamline the process. Tools will help you to organise the program and keep record of the candidates who have been referred to you.

Communications and record keeping are the two main areas of the program that can benefit from the use of tools. HireHive allows you to track referrals and generate shareable links for your employees to post on social media.

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