Winner and Still Champion – Employee Referral Programs

Over my 43 years in recruitment communications you can imagine how many new, exciting resources for discovering, attracting and retaining talent have been launched beyond just employee referral programs. Beyond doubt the introduction of new tools to improve the tedious and highly competitive task faced by talent acquisition professionals has accelerated to a blinding speed over the past decade. Seems like you just get a handle on one new resource when another pops up and calls for your attention.

Hard to believe there was a time when my most advanced clients had well-organized filing cabinets filled with resumes and applications just ready to be mined in the future. But that took an overwhelming amount of time and, consequently, a large staff. That kind of cost would never be supports in today’s lean TA budgets.

Not to live continually in the past, I am always interested in the latest trends in recruiting. To that end I was recently reviewing Global Recruiting Trends 2017 from LinkedIn and it brought back an old, ever so true epigram, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.“ LinkedIn’s insightful survey of 4000 talent leaders from 35 countries showed (wait for it…wait for it) Employee Referrals as the number one channel for quality hires.

Hey! That sounds really familiar. And why not? Back as far as 2004 the CareerxRoads Source of Hires report showed 31.7% of external hires coming from employee referrals. It’s my guess that ERP ranked number one before that year, too. But needless to say, that was the leading source then and pretty much the standard now.

So why not take another look at your ERP? Of course, the low cost per hire offered by any employee referral program is attractive, but here are a few important reasons that employee referral programs are still #1.

  • Decreases time to fill
  • Candidates prescreened
  • Reaches passive candidates
  • Increases retention
  • Results in quality hires

Although there are many good technical solutions, you can certainly opt for something simpler and less expensive. The most important thing is…do something. Sometimes just a simple internal email blast might shake a few referrals loose.

If you’re still on the fence, you can get more insights that are still valuable today from our 2012 blog titled, My Employee Referral Program Isn’t Working.”


Also published on Medium.