Recruiting through Referrals

April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s time to conduct a people search

You may not necessarily need a job. But maybe you need to hire a new researcher, or a researcher you know is hiring, or in need of a job. Utilize those opportunities with the power of a referral. Many companies and organization are encouraging referrals from their employees, including some of America’s largest. John Sullivan, a management professor at San Francisco State University, says about 85 percent of Fortune 100 companies have referral programs of some kind. Some are even offering cash incentives and other prizes, so it might be worthwhile to look for referral opportunities in your network.

The newest trend in recruiting through referrals is doing so through social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and iAMscientist. You can even learn more about how to do this effectively this through a webinar on April 25. For those who can’t attend the webinar, or have better things to do with their time, here’s a little bit to get you started about referral recruiting:

Most find their jobs and opportunities through networking

In the early 1990s, research found that close to 60 percent of people said they have found their current job through some form of referral recruiting. Many studies now find that 80 percent of jobs are taken through networking, even though few take the time to use the Internet to search and to locate people they would actually enjoy working for at companies that they get excited about. The web can also be used on the flip side: to find folks that would make a great addition to the company, not only because of their qualifications, but because they already know someone at the company. Make those connections through iAMscientist!

Many companies don’t have an HR manager

About six million U.S. companies do not have a human resources, or hiring manager, versus maybe 125,000 companies that have such staff. What does this mean? It means that the everyone who works at those six million companies is a hiring manager, and don’t have to worry about referral fees, or chasing a referral award that you probably wouldn’t get anyway (because a recruiting company or hiring manager found the perfect candidate themselves). Become a hiring manager through iAMscientist by connecting with members directly, discussing how their research would be an asset to your institution.

Other referral ideas

Think you’ve just about tapped your network? Think again! Below are a few more advanced recruiting approaches from Dr. John Sullivan. Keep in mind that a good referral doesn’t come from a chance meeting at a cocktail party, but comes from quality relationships. People only make referrals for people with whom they have at least a minimal relationship or strong affinity.

  • Proactive referrals — rather than waiting for key individuals to refer, go directly to your top performers and ask them for targeted referrals (target five a month). Ask them specifically to refer their mentees, best retirees they know, and former colleagues. (Google)
  • Reference referrals — on the anniversary date of new hires who turn out to be exceptional employees, call the references back, thank them, and ask “Who else do you know who is equally as good?”
  • Almost qualified — keep a tickler file of exceptional finalists who just needed a bit more experience; re-contact them 1-3 years later.
  • Turned us down — keep a tickler file of finalists who have turned down offers; monitor their situation and re-contact them when things change.
  • Interview referrals — challenge the industry knowledge of your best interviewees by asking them as part of the interview to list the names of other outstanding individuals they know. If you ask enough interviewees, you will get a pretty good list of top names in the function and industry.
  • New hire referrals — ask all new hires on their first day, “Who else is good at your previous firm or in the industry?” Ask them to help you recruit any targeted individuals who they know.
  • Referral cards — provide your highly visible employees with referral cards that sell your firm and that let the individual know that they are special. They can be similar to business cards or electronic. (Yahoo)
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