Many job opportunities are never advertised. Often, little is known about these hidden job vacancies. Yet these positions continue to be filled regularly, through referral. Many companies implement formal employee referral programs to attract employees with valuable skill sets.
Employee referrals are a critical and valuable resource for identifying new and talented applicants. Your satisfied employees are the best public relations representatives that your organization can have. If they like their work, they will readily share this information. Good employees tend to know and refer others that have a similar work ethic to their own. Often, specialized employees in one field know others who are looking for work. Employees prefer to work with people they know. Encourage your employees to refer their friends to you.
Formalize your employee referral program by offering incentives and bounties to employees who refer people who are successfully hired for a certain time period. Incentives can take the form of a cash bonus or a finder's fee. Alternatively, offer a dinner for two or merchandise and gift certificates.
Employee referral programs deliver the following benefits:
Potentially higher-caliber candidates Employees know people with similar skill sets, work ethic, and training backgrounds.
Lower search costs Compare what an recruitment campaign costs versus an employee bonus program.
Improved employee morale Reward and recognition makes employees feel good about working at your company.
Remember that there can be drawbacks associated with employee referral programs:
Your pool of applicants shrinks This can decrease your chances of finding the right person for the job.
Unqualified candidates You will have to interview all candidates, even those who are clearly unqualified.
Employees are sometimes unreceptive Not every one is comfortable with the idea of recruiting their colleagues for profit.
Cliques may develop Some staff may feel excluded, or your staff might break into fighting factions.
Networking is a focused way of developing and building a broad list of contacts - people you have met through various social and business functions - and using them to your advantage when you need something. When you are trying to find an appropriate candidate for that hard-to-fill position, networking is critical.
The best place to start developing your network is with colleagues you meet at industry gatherings, such as trade shows and conferences. Also, contact past and present employees, professional associations, and social acquaintances. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors. Leave no stone unturned. The key to successful networking is applying the energy needed to have a successful outcome.
Promote from Within
A good candidate often exists within your organization. Giving current employees the opportunity to grow and change positions within your organization has its benefits:
Increased job satisfaction and esteem for the promoted employee
Shows others that the company recognizes and rewards excellence
Reduces training and orientation time since current employees are already knowledgeable about your product and services
Do not overlook students who have successfully worked part-time or summer positions for you. Many educational institutions encourage students to do work terms or temporary assignments in organizations. If you find a talented student, invite them to come back when they graduate. Remember that there are many semi-retired people who also like to supplement their incomes by working part time, but are too shy to job hunt. Be creative! Explore your alternatives!