How much should your employee referral bonus be?

Has there ever been a better motivator than a cash (or direct deposit) bonus?

While there are certainly other incentives you could use to encourage your staff to participate in your employee referral program, employee referral bonuses seem to drive more interest. Knowing this doesn’t mean that you offer oodles amounts of money to gather more employee referrals — it should, however, signify that you should be deciding these amounts through a process.

Typically, the more difficult it is to find the perfect fit for an open role due to strict requirements, the higher the referral bonus should be. On the other hand, if turnover in that position is notoriously high, offering a lesser amount is acceptable. 

Below, we’ve broken down a few of the jobs you may have open, along with referral bonus amounts that make sense for the roles you’re recruiting for.

Referral bonuses for perpetually hiring roles

Perpetually hiring roles are the ones that you could always use some help hiring for. Typically, these positions have a higher turnover rate than a managerial role; they’re not usually the employees that will stay with your company for 10 or 20 years. Thankfully, these positions are much easier to fill than some other roles on this list. Top examples include:

  • Caregivers 
  • Part-time (or seasonal roles) in the hospitality industry
  • Warehouse employees
  • Retail workers 


Due to all of this, the usual employee referral bonus for roles that your company is perpetually hiring for is usually pretty low — offering between $25 and $150 is entirely fair.

Want a deeper understanding of how to drive employee referral programs at your company? Check out these 6 Blueprints for a Success Employee Referral Program!

Competency roles referral bonuses

But what if you’re looking for the middle ground between someone who has no experience in your industry and someone who is highly specialized? In this case, you’re likely looking for an employee who has a certain set of skills, experience, or qualifications. While this type of role will be slightly more difficult to fill than one that you’re perpetually hiring for, it is considerably easier than filling a hard-to-fill position. You’re looking for someone who knows what they’re doing and what their role is in the grand scheme of your organization, which naturally makes your candidate pool smaller. Some examples of competency roles you might be hiring for include:

  • Marketing managers
  • HR specialists
  • Nurses
  • Truck drivers


As you can see with each of these roles, these types of employees have some knowledge about their respective fields and can complete their duties. The employee referral bonus that you would offer for help hiring for this position would then be higher than that for an entry-level position because they provide more value to your team than the previous category; anywhere from $500 – $2,000 is a reasonable amount that will both incentivize your current staff to participate and drive referred candidates to the open role.

Hard-to-fill roles

These types of positions are exactly as they sound: hard to fill. These are the types of jobs that are so specialized that they fall into certain niches, which makes finding the perfect fit an even rarer experience than any of the other categories of employees. You want to add someone to your team who has years of experience with a specific aspect of this role — but there simply aren’t a lot of candidates out there who fit this bill. Examples of hard-to-fill roles include:

  • A software engineer with 10+ years of experience on specific platforms
  • Chief Marketing Officer


As you’d expect, this is where you would expect to spend the most money on an employee referral bonus if it means adding the best person to your team. These roles are extremely important to the day-to-day operations of your business, along with its future trajectory. Employee referral bonuses for hard-to-fill roles can be anywhere from $5,000 – $10,000.

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Of course, the employee referral bonus amounts we’ve listed here are suggestions for acceptable ranges at your organization, but it is ultimately up to your discretion. Knowing where to begin an employee referral bonus offer is oftentimes the best starting point for many; with this knowledge, you can align your financial restrictions along with what amount will resonate the most with your current staff. 

Want to see how easy creating an employee referral program at your organization can be? Let’s connect to show you!



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