The Shortcut To Making Better, Faster Hires

What separates a good hiring manager from a great one? The constant drive to improve the recruitment process. Every day, top recruiters are challenging themselves to strengthen the quality of job candidates while lowering cost per hire.

There’s no silver bullet to striking that balance, but there is one recruitment behavior that makes it a lot easier for hiring managers: Referrals.

Referred candidates shorten the length of the interview process, stay longer at companies, and yield higher performance ratings from their supervisors.

Here’s how:

Boosting Your Access to the Right Talent

When you’re hiring for hard-to-fill positions, it can be tough to get qualified professionals to show interest in your company. You can send 50 LinkedIn Inmail messages to prospects, only to get two less-than-unenthusiastic responses.

Referrals allow you to make an immediate connection with workers who are so successful in their current roles, they’re not trying to find an alternative. Through a personal introduction, you get VIP access to passive job seekers who are pre-vetted by their peers. These candidates make up 70% of the workforce — and chances are, your best match is one of them.

Sara DeBrule, a senior recruiter at Wistia, leverages referrals to build relationships with professionals. She’ll take them out to coffee and learn a bit more about their goals. To encourage referral-boosting behavior, DeBrule integrates conversations about recruitment into the company’s team meetings:

I’m always standing up in front of the company and saying, ‘Hey! Is everyone wearing their recruitment goggles? You should be wearing them all the time. When you’re out to dinner, when you’re riding on the bus, if you’re on a plane. You should always have those goggles on because you never know when you’re going to make a connection with an engineer or a salesperson.’

By recruiting through their employees’ networks, hiring managers can expand the talent pool by 10x. Particularly for a high-growth team like Wistia, this tactic boosts connections while maintaining high standards for candidates.

DeBrule sums up the impact for Wistia: “Ultimately, our reach from a recruitment perspective is far greater than the actual size of the recruitment team. Because for us, recruitment has become a team sport — we empower employees to help us grow.”

Selecting the Highest-Quality Employees

Not only do referrals amplify the reach of a hiring manager, they also result in higher-performing employees. This idea is so widely accepted that 88% of employers believe referrals are the best source for quality hires.

Despite the consensus, there has been a lot of debate about why referrals lead to more positive outcomes for organizations. A 2014 study featured in The Atlantic sheds some light on the topic. Their research found that referrals resulted in:

  • More innovative employees who were less likely to quit
  • Significantly higher profits than their unreferred coworkers

Based on these findings, researchers argue that the higher rates of success correlate directly with a strong cultural fit.

As Derek Thompson sums up in The Atlantic, “Most hiring is a blind date, and referrals are an introduction. They give both sides a little bit more certainty and information about fit.” In short, a referral cultivates a sense of personal connection between the employer and candidate that translates beautifully to the workplace.

Other statistics back up the conclusion that referrals are better fits, with a 2012 survey from Jobvite reporting that 46% of referrals stay at a company for three years or more, compared to 14% of applicants from job boards. The performance gap between referred and unreferred candidates actually grows over time — as referred employees stay longer, they do even better than their counterparts.

Referrals are a shortcut that any hiring manager can take to access a select group of qualified candidates. Over time, these pre-vetted candidates lead to a higher return on investment, not to mention better peace of mind. By giving you access to passive job seekers, referrals amplify the efforts of your talent acquisition team without sacrificing the quality of new employees.

Learn more about how ReferralMob can help you tap into the networks of the professional public, and let them work on your behalf!