7 Ways to Implement an Employee Referral Program

Finding great new employees for your business isn’t always easy. There are a lot of job seekers out there, but they won’t all meet your specific needs or add to your company culture. And even when you find the ones that do, chances are you’re not the only one looking to recruit them.

How do you zero in on finding candidates that are best suited for the job? One of the best (and too often overlooked) ways is by using an employee referral program.

What are employee referrals? First and foremost, they are a way for a company to fully leverage its single greatest asset: its employees.

Employee referrals are when a member of your current team recommends someone within their own network and outside of your company for a job opening. Effective employee referral programs not only help businesses find appropriate and qualified candidates, they also reduce the average cost-per-hire. They can also boost employee retention because candidates recruited through other employees typically remain with a company longer than those recruited without connections within the company. 

Employee referral programs have been called the “Holy Grail of Hiring” by Forbes because of their effectiveness. And with the help of the right talent acquisition software, your company can also benefit from employee referrals. To help you get started, here are seven ways your company can begin implementing a successful employee referral program. 

A newly hired employee shaking hands with her team leader

7 Tips for Creating Effective Employee Referral Programs

#1: Establish Your Goals for the Program

When it comes to creating an employee referral program, the first item on your hiring process checklist should always be to set a series of concrete goals. It’s important to be ambitious, but also realistic. Try to set goals that follow the SMART guidelines: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. For example, a good goal might be to receive a certain number of employee referrals by a certain date.

#2: Collaborate with Your Management Team

Essential to any employee referral program are, of course, your existing employees. Make sure that leadership and managers are actively involved in the process of developing your program, and also actively involved in communicating your goals to the rest of your workforce. Using software like Jobvite’s Evolve Talent Acquisition Suite is a good way to keep everyone on the same page at all times.

#3: Clearly Define the Job Requirements

One of the most important factors in achieving success when starting an employee referral program is making sure that your employees are fully informed about and clearly understand the requirements for the positions you’re hoping to fill. Your employee can only recommend appropriate candidates if they know exactly what it is you’re looking for.

#4: Offer a Variety of Employee Incentives

Keeping your employees motivated is key to maintaining a healthy referral rate. So, how do you keep your employees motivated? The answer is with employee referral program rewards. If your employees are going the extra mile to help you recruit promising candidates, they deserve a pat on the back for their efforts, either in the form of cash bonuses, gift vouchers, or extra time off. With Jobvite’s built-in incentive management tool, you’ll always know who is going above and beyond.

#5: Create an Easy-to-Use Referral Process

No matter how motivated your employees are, it doesn’t amount to much if the process for referring candidates is complicated or confusing. You want to make it as easy for them as possible. Jobvite technology provides SSO-enabled referral portals, automatic referral status updates, and AI-powered chatbots, which allow employees to make referrals even when on the go.

#6: Develop an Interview Training Program

Getting employee referrals is only one part of the puzzle when it comes to recruiting great candidates. Once the applicants have entered your recruitment pipeline, the next step is to interview them. For this, your hiring managers should be trained ahead of time. Make sure the interview questions are the same for all applicants. This will make it easier to choose the right candidate because it will allow you to compare and contrast everyone’s answers.

#7: Closely Track and Evaluate Your Results

No employee referral program is perfect at the very beginning. It’s likely that you will have to make alterations and updates to your referral process as time goes on, and you learn more about what does and doesn’t work. Fortunately, with Jobvite, you have access to robust referral analytics data, which can help you see exactly where your system is lacking and where it is thriving.

Optimize Your Employee Referral Program with Jobvite 

Employee referrals are the gold standard of candidate recruitment strategies, and now with Jobvite’s Evolve Talent Acquisition Suite, it’s never been easier to start your own effective employee referral program. 

With a limited number of qualified and available candidates, it’s difficult to navigate a crowded applicant pool. At Jobvite, we strive to help businesses streamline and optimize that process to ensure they have the candidates they need to achieve lasting, sustainable recruiting results. 

With incentive management, referral tracking, referral analytics, and more, our Evolve Talent Acquisition Suite is the employee referral solution you’ve been looking for.

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