The Most Overlooked Recruiting Tools in Your Organization: Employee Referrals

The Most Overlooked Recruiting Tools in Your Organization: Employee Referrals

A great measure of an organization is its employees. They reflect organizational values and attitudes and can be an effective and valuable recruiting tool. According to an iCIMS survey, 60% of employees have referred someone for a vacancy where they work with an average of 24% of new hires coming from such referrals. Many satisfied employees recommend their organization to friends and family who are seeking employment. By fostering an employee referral program in your organization, you can unlock a cost-effective and efficient recruiting tool. Here are some tips to help increase employee interest in recruiting for your organization:

Referral Incentives

Incentives are an effective motivational tool. Providing incentives for employees that choose to participate in referral initiatives can increase motivation and successful outcomes. Rewarding employees for their participation in recruitment efforts can take many forms and can be adapted to reflect your organizational values:

  • Recognize your actively referring employees at a luncheon, ceremony or meeting
  • Provide monetary compensation for each successful referral (i.e. percentage of pay, lump sum)
  • Consider offering paid time off as an incentive for each referral
  • Convey special privileges when referrals are successful (i.e. longer lunch breaks, flex scheduling

Streamline Referral Channels

Imagine an employee is at a local event and finds a great fit for your organization, what would they say? For employee referrals to be successful, they must know how to appropriately refer prospective hires to the organization. This can be challenging in larger organizations that have multiple HR managers and dozens of vacancies at any given time. Instead of just saying "check out our website" try these tips:

  • Establish a specific contact in HR that handles employee referrals
  • Publicize an email address or phone number dedicated specifically to referrals

Get the Word Out

To increase the likelihood of employee referrals it is essential to get the word out within your organization.

  • Publicize what positions are open, what the ideal candidates might look like and how they should contact HR in regards to any referrals.
  • Disseminate vacancy information periodically so that employees keep it fresh on their mind.
  • Spread recruiting initiative info via email, broadcast messages or monthly meetings.
  • Make employee recruiting part of your culture.

Elicit Employee Feedback

Effectively utilizing employee feedback is critical when trying to recruit new hires to your organization. Eliciting feedback from employees about their experiences while working at your organization can provide insights that may improve problem areas and increase job satisfaction. Happy employees are more likely to refer back to and feel invested in their organization. Eliciting feedback also fosters open communication that can lead to some creative and previously undiscovered solutions for your recruiting efforts.

Celebrate the Successes

Praise is an effective incentive on its own. Make sure to recognize employees who are helping with the initiative and have referred prospective candidates to the workplace. Consider recognizing an employee's recruiting efforts via announcements or emails at a weekly meeting or perhaps a company gathering. It always helps to reward an employee's continued initiative.


"The Impact of Successful Employee Referral Programs". iCIMS Accessed 12/12/16.