An employee referral program is a strong recruiting tool. You gain higher-quality hires, including passive candidates, who fit with company culture and quickly begin producing. Because referrals are prescreened, you are able to bring aboard top candidates in a shorter period of time. Since they know someone who works for you, employee referrals are more inclined to remain with the organization longer, increasing your return on investment.

1. Explain Role Requirements

Explain which skills and qualifications are needed to fill a position. This is especially important in departments and job functions that differ from the employees looking to provide referrals. For instance, send employees emails that include links to job descriptions. Highlight what you are NOT looking for to avoid receiving unqualified candidates.  When employees know what to look for, they are better able to consider their network and who would be most appropriate to approach. Employees then can consider whether those individuals fit with company culture before deciding whether to contact them about the opening.

2. Provide Incentives

Provide incentives to encourage employee referrals. For instance, publicly recognize employees whose referrals turn into new hires. Also, give bonuses or perks, such as extra vacation time or the ability to work remotely, to staff who find new employees. Additionally, offer surprise extras from time to time, such as a gift certificate to a spa or sporting event to employees who refer their next co-worker.

3. Keep Employees Informed

Keep employees informed about where their referrals are in the recruiting process. Otherwise, they may stop referring candidates if they do not hear back about them. Let employees know what is happening at each stage. If a candidate is not chosen for an interview, send the employee a thank-you email, anyway. Encourage them to continue looking for qualified referrals so they feel appreciated and follow through.

 4. Enhance the Application Experience

Make the referral application experience as efficient as possible. For instance, ensure the process is quick, simple, and user-friendly. Also, consider using a referral software or platform to request referrals for specific positions. Allow employees to share the openings on social media. Additionally, integrate an applicant tracking system with your dedicated referral software services or provide your own referral tools to fast-track referrals through the application process.

 5. Remain Proactive

Stay proactive about referring candidates. For instance, ask new hires for referrals early in the onboarding process. Also, regularly send notifications to relevant employees and/or consistent referrers to notify them of your needs and update them on the status of leads. Additionally, give employees referral cards and/or plan events to generate visibility of, and interaction with, your company. Further, provide feedback on each referral so that employees know what worked and did not work to improve future results.

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