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We live in a time when we have more information and more choices than we can ever imagine or need. As consumers, we have virtually unlimited choices when it comes to where we shop, how we shop and what brands we buy. (Amazon has over 15,000 results for “pikachu hat” for Pete’s sake! Don’t ask.) With so many choices, it’s easy to over-research and crowdsource just about any decision – tapping family, colleagues and the “friends” in our social network for advice on the most trivial of topics. But when it comes to making one of the most important decisions in life – a career change – this broad network of people, connections and opinions is an extremely valuable (and influential) resource.

 

How candidates make decisions

Candidates today act like consumers in their research and selection of an employer. According to Glassdoor research, 61% of Glassdoor users report that they seek company reviews and ratings even before making a decision to apply. They research the jobs, salaries, reviews, culture and even employees of a company, across multiple channels and touchpoints to decide if it’s the right home for their next role.

Interestingly enough, out of all the ways candidates search for new employers and jobs, 76% ranked employee referrals as being of high to extremely high importance. Referrals ranked higher than company career sites, job boards and even LinkedIn. Take that in for a moment: candidates find employees and what they say about a company more important than what companies have to say about themselves, say on a LinkedIn profile or career site. Talent acquisition isn’t selling jobs; it’s selling employer brand and purpose. And your employer brand lives in your employees. So it’s not surprising that when it comes to bringing in quality candidates who stay longer, your employees find some of the best talent.

 

The benefits of a strategic referral program

Here are three reasons why a strategic referral program will help fuel your talent acquisition and employee engagement strategy:

  • Referrals result in shorter time to fill. Referrals are 5x more likely to be hired and begin their position 29 days quicker than candidates sourced via other tactics. Referrals know someone they trust in the organization to ask the burning questions that influence their decision to take the job. They also likely respect the opinion and values of that person referring them. That trust, plus access to the inside scoop, increases the likelihood they want the job and take the position quickly once it’s offered.
  • Referrals tend to be a better fit for the organization. Employees who refer friends tend to believe in the organization’s values, its people and their own job. This results in them bringing in more likeminded people who are better informed about the expectations of the role, and are more likely to buy into the values set forth by the organization. When a candidate knows what to expect and has a look inside the culture and ins and outs of the company, they are more prepared for the role.
  • Referrals tend to have greater job satisfaction and stay longer. Because referrals are more informed about the company and tend to be a better fit, they also tend to be more satisfied than other employees. This, along with the simple fact that they get to work with a trusted colleague or friend who referred them, reduces voluntary attrition. The good news for you? You don’t have to worry about time and effort of filling the position again in the short-term.

 

Tips to tap into your gold mine

We partnered with Glassdoor to create a guide for building effective employee referral programs. Now that you know why referrals are essential to your talent acquisition strategy, get nine solid steps to creating a strategic program that delivers better hires and happier employees. There’s gold in them there hills. Happy mining!

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