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4 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Are Also Your Best Recruiting Tool

Allie Kelly

As the job market becomes more competitive, companies and HR departments are looking for any edge to attract and hire the best talent. What you may not realize is that one of the best resources for finding new team members could be right under your own roof.

Here are four can’t-ignore reasons your top employees may be your best recruiting tool:

  • An April 2015 survey of 114 talent acquisition leaders indicated that an average of 32 percent of their new hires are found through employee referrals, and the quality of these candidates is far higher than other sources.
  • A 2013 survey indicated that 82 percent of employers that have referral programs in place find the resulting candidates offer an excellent return on investment.
  • 88 percent of employers in that same survey found that new hires coming on board as a result of referrals were of higher quality than new hires from other sources.
  • Candidates referred by a current employee are 15 percent more likely to accept an offer than candidates sourced from other channels.

Why Do Employee Referrals Work?

Your current employees know your company as well as you do. From operations and processes to specific responsibilities and roles, your experienced staff members know intimately where the business is doing well and how it might be improved.

Because of this, your employees are perfectly placed to make recommendations for ideal candidates for each position, and your top performers are most likely to secure a successful match for open positions. After all, performers beget performers.

Have an Employee Referral Program that Isn’t Working?

If your company’s employee referral program is not effective, you have more to worry about than attracting applicants. Ask yourself why the program isn’t working. If your employees aren’t sending their well-qualified friends and professional acquaintances your way, it could be that there’s an issue with your company culture.

Friends Don’t refer friends to a job or company they Don’t like, no matter what sort of incentive you’re offering. Re-examine your employer brand through open discussion with current employees. Correcting any significant workplace and work-life balance issues will have a wide array of benefits, beginning with an increase in employee referrals.

Assess Your Recruitment Process

A lack of referrals can also be caused by a broken recruitment process. Consider the embarrassment your current employees face when they talk up the company and encourage friends to apply, only to have those friends wait weeks for an acknowledgment of the application.

Poor communication with referrals (like when you ghost them) gives talent acquisition a bad reputation, and you can be sure staff members are sharing their experiences with colleagues. If they Don’t trust you to treat their friends’ applications with a sense of urgency, they won’t send those friends to you.

Then Assess Your Referral Program

Alternatively, if the candidates coming through your referral process are poor quality, your program might be too loose. Consider requiring employees to write a full recommendation for their referrals, rather than just providing a name.

Taking ownership of the referral will ensure staff thinks carefully about the likelihood of a successful match. Bringing current employees into the on-boarding process for new hires they have referred increases the engagement of both referrer and referee, and it raises the profile of your employee referral program. When colleagues see the benefits of bringing a friend into the workplace, they are far more likely to send recommendations your way.

Allie Kelly


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