High unemployment has resulted in a slew of professionals who would otherwise never be out of work scrambling to find a job. Consequently, the current labor pool is a hodge-podge of highly-qualified go-getters mixed in amongst the expected population of unmotivated slackers and the simply unqualified. So how can you go about unearthing the gems and enticing them to join your company? The answer may be right under your nose.
Employee referral programs are a great way to tap into your existing workforce – especially those valued employees you would love to replicate – and find out who they would like to see working at the company. Not only are such programs a cost-effective means of recruiting new blood, but more often than not, the candidate recommended is just as awesome as the employee themselves. After all, birds of a feather flock together, don’t they? And besides, they wouldn’t want to risk their standing with the company by recommending a less-than-stellar person for the job.
Devising a successful employee referral program need not be difficult. At its core, it entails keeping employees abreast of current openings and encouraging them to consider who they might know that meets the requirements and has what it takes to succeed in the organization. Just follow these few simple tips and you’ll find yourself swamped with top-notch candidates in no time:
• While some people will be happy referring friends, relatives, and former colleagues just for the sake of bringing more great employees into the organization, it’s always a good idea to offer some kind of incentive. A portion can be paid when the referred candidate is hired, with the rest awarded once they’ve proven to have staying power – a retention bonus to the referring employee, if you will.
• Once an employee has presented a referral, act quickly. Your current employee has essentially already completed the initial screening on your behalf, so contact the potential new employee within 48 hours and invite them to come in for an interview. Employee referrals should be put on the fast track with an eye toward bringing that person into the fold – assuming they are as good as you’ve been told – as soon as possible.
• Throw out conventional wisdom with regard to nepotism. Remember, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so don’t discount referrals to relatives of current employees. Intelligence tends to run in families, so don’t be afraid to bring in a brother, sister, cousin, son, or daughter for an interview. They may not be a clone of their revered relative, but chances are they possess some of the same great qualities.
• Always keep the employee in the loop with regard to their referral’s status. And be sure to recognize them for their efforts, regardless of whether the candidate is ultimately hired. Not only is recognition a great motivator, it will ensure that they step forward the next time they have a brilliant suggestion.
• Market the program throughout signage, emails, and public recognition of those whose referrals have led to a great new hire. And be sure to have senior leaders openly talk up the program.
Employee referral programs can be an essential component of a company’s recruiting initiative. Cost-effective and highly successful, they help boost morale and retention among current employees, while sourcing quality candidates for the organization. The next time you find yourself needing to make a hire, remember that the best candidate could be right under your nose. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.