4 Reasons an Employee Referral Program is a Must in Today’s Competitive Job Market

Mar 16, 2017

In today’s world of instant information and the constant bombardment of advertisements, promotions and attention-grabbing communications, tens of thousands of companies vie for customers every day, but that’s not all they’re competing for. They’re also competing for future employees.

Numerous business management and human resources professionals have commented on the critical nature of a company’s employees to the overall success of the business. Many even cite it as the one of the most important, if not the most important, factors.

“When I meet successful people I ask 100 questions as to what they attribute their success to. It is usually the same: Persistence, hard work and hiring good people” —Kiana Tom

Successfully reaching the right people is a task made more and more difficult by the sheer volume of information that constantly inundates us. Active job seekers will always be easier to reach, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the best candidates. Effectively penetrating the information overload that surrounds us is crucial to making the most impactful hires.

Many companies have turned to their employees to help them get their message into the hands of the best possible candidates. In World at Work’s 2014 survey, 63% of responding companies had implemented employee referral programs and another 34% said they were looking to develop an employee referral program. That’s a stunning 97% of all companies with either a current or soon-to-be referral program.

Why are so many companies turning to their employees for help with hiring? Because it works! The following are just four of the reasons why employee referrals are effective in today’s competitive job market.

Unequaled Reach

Personal connections and relationships allow employees to break through the constant flow of information and reach both active and passive job seekers within their social circle. Employee referrals are also the best way to put job openings into the hands of contented, productive employees who aren’t looking for a new job at all. Sometimes the ideal candidate doesn’t even know that you’re looking for them, and without your employees to reach out to them, they never will.

Brand Benefits

Today’s employees also want to find more than professional satisfaction in their jobs. They want to work for a company that they can feel good about. As a hiring manager or a recruiter, you’re not just selling a job, you’re selling a brand. Employees make perfect brand ambassadors, and having an employee share their view of the company and why they like to work there presents a very persuasive proposal.

Cost Mitigation

Additionally, the hiring process is costly, as you’re not only shouldering the cost of a job search, you’re also losing productivity, which could be the difference between meeting deadlines, making sales and reaching your goals or not. The longer the job search goes on, the more you’re both spending and losing. Fortunately employee referrals can help mitigate these costs as referrals are often hired more quickly. On average, referrals are hired 55% faster than candidates from a career site and 25% faster than candidates from a job board.

Culture Is King

“How will they fit?” is one of the biggest questions about potential hires. Résumés won’t tell you a lot about a candidate’s personality (and those that do generally aren’t helping their cause). To know if someone will mesh with the quirks of your office environment, you have to get to know them, but you can only get so much out of an interview. Fortunately, your employees know their referrals, and in most cases they have already weeded out those who wouldn’t be a good cultural fit.