Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Finding a Lucky Pot o’ Gold With Referrals
March 17, 2008, 3:36 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and the Irish and non-Irish alike celebrate the holiday, originally a holy Catholic holiday in honor of an Irish bishop who dedicated his life to God’s service. Today, there are many secular symbols that are more well-known when celebrating this holiday, one of which is the leprechaun and his legendary pot of gold. The legend is that if one finds the end of a rainbow, that there is a pot of gold placed there by fairies and guarded by a leprechaun.

In sticking with the ‘green theme’ for today’s holiday, in addition to being totally cliché, I wanted to share that there is a pot of gold that remains ‘unfound’ in so many recruiting practices that can help lead to quick referrals and further development of existing relationships. This gold lays within the organizations for which we work and whom we serve as clients and yet is overlooked by many. For those who learn to tap this resource, the rewards are great. And it’s so simple that once you read on, you’re either going to say “this is so simple, I don’t know why you spent the time to write this post!” or you’re going to kick yourself for not thinking of it sooner!

What happens when you help make a hire? Your candidate joins your company and starts to learn the ropes. And you move on to your next research project. But don’t forget about that new person at your company. Chances are, they just left another company, possibly similar to the one you’re both at now. And unless they are completely anti-social, they probably still know some people from that company and other similar companies through their own network. Yet, so many times we forget these facts and set about our next research project starting back at square one.

Why not ask this new employee, and colleague, who they formerly worked with that they liked and would like to work with here in their new company? Why not check out their 1st and 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn (assuming you connected with them already!) and ask them who would enjoy working for your company? Why not, when their 30/60/90 day review comes up, have their manager ask them if there are any folks they used to work side by side with that you should reach out to? And to encourage participation, why not offer some kind of a reward in exchange for the referral?

In corporate recruiting, this is called an employee referral program. Some companies have a formalized process for this, though many do it on a more informal, and seemingly random, basis. In search firm terms, this might be considered having your candidates ‘pay it forward’ – asking them to help you help their friends out now that you’ve helped them out.

When I first started my career in recruiting research, I sat beside a recruiter in a 3rd party agency who was working on a new position, and his first action to find a suitable candidate was to go through our database and contact all the people we had placed within the last year to ask for referrals. This was the first I’d heard of a recruiter doing this, and I thought it was brilliant! And since many of the folks he reached out to gave him referral names, apparently it WAS a smart move.

For your reading pleasure, here are a couple of basic resources for understanding and creating employee referral programs:

Good luck following your own rainbow to the pot o’ gold at the end, and have a happy (and safe) St. Patrick’s Day!


2 Comments so far
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Err, hate o rain on your parade, but today isn’t St Patrick’s day.
This week is known as Holy Week in the church and takes precedence over all saint’s days.

And of course he wasn’t Irish, but taken there as a slave when he was 16 or so, which kind of fits with your metaphor of ‘hiring’ staff

Comment by kraftymiles


Comment by Bill Ward

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