We probably don’t have to tell you how hard it is to hire the right person for the job, but just in case you didn’t know – it’s really, really hard! Yes, HR professionals spend time, money and effort trying to fit the perfect candidate (or near-perfect) to the position at hand. The keyword here is ‘trying’.
They don’t always get the ones they need, so what if there was a better way to source for candidates than simply posting an ad on an online job board, in a newspaper or through a standard job portal? Well, there actually is a better way and we call them job referrals.
What’s a job referral, you ask? Well, it’s simply the act of asking referrers to dig through their network to recommend a candidate that they believe is a strong fit for a position being offered. The referrer gets a reward, the employer finds an ideal candidate and the would-be employee gets closer to his or her dream job. Win-win-win! Sounds like something that could work? Well, guess what, it actually does!
Here are five reasons why referrals really are the best way to hire:
1. You’re getting someone else to do the initial legwork
It’s no easy feat – from placing a job ad, to screening, interviewing and so forth – the entire selection and hiring process can be a gruelling one for both employer and employee. With referrals however, you are essentially shortening the route to discovering the best guy or gal for the job.
Just think about this, not only do these endorsed leads come with strong references, the referrers are essentially finding you an applicant, performing an initial screening and, giving you the information you need to see why this candidate deserves your attention.
Adding to that, referral candidates are also quicker hires, in that they tend to accept job offers more often than those who apply via job boards. Time is money and nobody wants to waste it on candidates that turn down offers after all the effort.
2. You’ll be tapping into a pool of suitable candidates
Having a lot of applications does not mean much if slightly less than half the applicants are unqualified and unsuitable for the positions being offered.
In fact, a large quantity of submissions may work against an employer due to the time consuming nature of weeding through hundreds, sometimes even thousands of applications. Furthermore, the HR department could miss out on a good candidate that simply gets lost in a sea of incompatible applicants.
Referrals make more sense and trump job boards especially when there are fewer positions to fill. It is essentially easier to meet the right person when you have a collection of candidates that are proficient and suited to perform the job being offered.
3. You’re getting employees that work harder to impress
It’s a good feeling when someone vouches for your abilities; it shows that they have confidence in you. This is primarily why employees who have been referred perform with a sense of responsibility, determination and to some extent, even gratitude for the endorsements received.
In addition, referred candidates go on to pay this kindness forward to their employers by being more loyal and working a lot harder (estimated to perform 15% better than hires from other channels)!
But since employee and friendly networks only go so far, the responsibility to increase the stream of worthy leads will fall to sites like ReferJobs. This referral portal takes reference-based hiring a step further by opening up a whole new range of connections for employers to engage quality candidates.
4. You can maximise company selection and hiring resources
It almost takes a village to find a quality candidate to fill even an entry-level position, so expectedly; HR professionals are going to need all the help they can get. However, help costs money and while simply placing a job ad online may be cheaper – it isn’t guaranteed to bring you the candidates you need.
The saying, ‘do it right the first time’ applies here because it means that you will need to repeat the hiring process over and over again for the same position, incurring more costs, if it isn’t done properly from the get-go. For example, ask yourself what would happen if you simply aren’t able to fill a position? You will likely seek out other sources (or repost) which costs more money and then more time to screen through applicants again!
A referral system however, works like a spotlight on better candidates – the rewards offered to the referrer increases the likelihood of more solid and capable candidate recommendations. All may be accomplished in less time with less money spent and less effort!
5. You’re getting employees that stay longer
People leave companies for all sorts of reasons; poor compensation, minimal chance of promotion and perhaps even a dingy office environment. But why do people stay? Is it that they are happy or content with their jobs? Yes, quite likely. In fact, more than half interviewed in the 2012 American Psychological Association workforce retention survey say that they actually enjoy the work that they do – what a novel idea! But it’s true and this is what companies strive for, productive employees that really do like their jobs.
Need more proof? In a survey conducted by Jobvite, 47% of those hired through referrals were retained for over 3 years while only 14% of those hired through job boards could last the same period. Of course employee retention and loyalty is not a black and white issue, but the correlation cannot be denied and the success of referral programs is certainly making a compelling case.
Hiring is a Lot like Dating
Sans romance of course, but the concept is the same. You are on a mission to find Mr or Ms Right, but there are always obstacles and limitations to what can be achieved. So you look for other ways…
In the exact same way that you would get your buddy to set you up on a date with someone they know you’d like, the process of hiring a candidate through a referral is comparable. It’s not often that you would start a relationship with a complete stranger, so why should hiring be any different?
In fact, for any relationship to be long and mutually fruitful, in employment or otherwise – there needs to be synergy between the needs and wants of both parties. And if referral programs can help achieve such harmony, more power to it!
This article was written by Desiree Nair, who is a contributing writer for referjobs.my.