Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Inc.com.
To attract talent in today’s competitive hiring market, you have many options available to you. You can post job openings on your career site, job boards, and social media, and more. But many employers don’t fully embrace their top of top job applicants: employee referrals.
According to a study from LinkedIn, the top way people discover new jobs is through a great employee referral program. And referred candidates can end up being your most successful hires, as your trusted employees can vouch for their previous work experience.
Is your team doing everything you can to encourage employee referrals? Consider these four unique ways to get employees excited about recommending their connections for your open roles:
Make it easier
Your employees are busy with their day-to-day jobs, so they aren’t going to jump through hoops to refer someone to your open roles. For example, asking them to complete long forms or gather their referral’s information on their own will deter them from participating.
Look for ways to simplify the process. Ask them to simply share the referral’s name in a company chat channel and leave the rest of the work to your recruiters. Or better yet, look for an employee referral platform that allows folks to easily refer their peers via text message. The best platforms will integrate with your ATS so that referrals are entered into your system quickly so you can immediately take the next steps in your hiring process.
Send internal campaigns
In some cases, folks don’t participate in your program because they don’t know about it or maybe it’s just not on the top of their minds.
Make your employee referral program more widely known by approaching it like you would your company’s marketing efforts. Send regular email campaigns to employees highlighting priority roles along with the qualifications for the positions. These emails are also a good time to remind people how to participate as well as the reward they’ll receive for referring someone who gets hired.
Set up meetings to discuss referrals
Your employees likely have some great contacts in their networks, but these contacts don’t always happen to be top-of-mind. It can take an extra nudge to get the referrals you need to fill your open roles. Set aside a time to sit down with employees and review their networks.
Your HR and recruiting team can host meetings with a handful of employees at a time to review their LinkedIn networks and discuss other ways they might know talent who would be qualified for your team. Chances are, many of your employees have connections both with similar backgrounds to their own and outside their skill sets and areas of expertise. For example, a member of your sales team might refer your next great developer and vice versa.
By the time your recruiting team walks out of each of these meetings, they’ll likely have a list of several qualified contacts they can reach out to about open roles.
Align the reward with the role
The most common employee referral reward is cash. But if the value is too low, it’s not going to incentivize folks to participate. For example, if your open roles are for difficult-to-fill positions like software engineers or executives, a $100 gift card isn’t going to motivate your employees to scour their networks. For highly skilled roles like these, the payout should be closer to $5,000.
For seasonal positions and other easier-to-fill roles, you can excite employees with alternatives to a simple cash payout. Offer employees incentives they might not have otherwise purchased themselves: concert tickets, a gift card to a local restaurant, or a spa day. Or, donate to a local charity the employee is passionate about.
You can also implement referral tiers, which motivate employees to hire several qualified candidates, rather than just one or two. You can offer employees who refer five or more candidates a weekend getaway or a few extra paid vacation days. The more successful referrals you receive, the higher the likelihood you’ll stay fully staffed with top employees, boosting productivity and profitability for your team.
Although we saw some relief in July, the post-pandemic hiring crisis is not expected to end any time soon. Regardless of your industry, you’re looking to hire fast but chances are you’re struggling to find applicants for your roles. A simple and cost-effective way to attract more talent and fill your roles faster is by tapping into your existing employees’ networks.
Our recent acquisition of EmployUs makes us a leader in the employee referral space. With Hireology, you can get a great referral program up and running while also providing applicants and candidates with a positive hiring experience that moves quickly. Don’t wait, schedule a demo today.