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How to Improve your Employee Referral Program

Summertime in New York City

Some time ago I worked for a company and the VP of HR just flat out said he didn’t believe in having an Employee Referral program. He said never had any success in it and it was a waste of time, money and resources.  Wow. I couldn’t believe it.  I tried to explain how an ER program works, he just shook his head no and foolishly dismissed it. And what made matters worse at the time was the ENORMOUS attrition, a revolving door, massive hiring needs and he had no problem in paying agency fees.


I learned something back then. I will never recruit for a company that does not have an ER program implemented or at least willing to implement one.






Here are 3 ways to improve your ER program.


Have one recruiter dedicated to ALL employee referrals. This person will handle EVERY resume that comes in the door, through email, tracking systems even the dusty yellowish fax machine. When resumes are flying all around recruiters’ inboxes, it’s easy for them to get lost into thin air. Therefore, having one recruiter who TOUCHES every resume referral minimizes the “Ooops” when recruiters forget to call. Plus, it does your company some harm when recruiters fail to contact an ER especially when it’s from higher ups, like say the CTO.


The ER program should have rules in place and those rules need to be easily found for all employees. The ER program rules needs to define the payouts, who is eligible for ER payout, and how to refer to someone. Most companies have rules but they are never followed and in the end, someone doesn’t get paid… and recruiter is usually blamed. To avoid resume referral issues, you have to SEND OUT the program rules every time someone is referred.


Rankings. Yeah, I said it. I know. Every large company has some ranking system in place like, Employee Performance Rankings. We all detest them. I know I do. But, your ER program needs a ranking system. Otherwise you will never know what areas you need to improve. So for example, rank the departments that have consistently given referrals and the success of hiring those referrals.  From that point on you, rankings will allow you to raise the bar on your ER program.


So, there it is friends. I have not done much lately on Glennlist but I wanted to get something out there that is a hot topic in the Recruiting and HR communities.  And it is true, recruiters… we are hiring again!

About Michael Glenn

I am a talent acquisition consultant, trainer and motivator for jobseekers and recruiters. I specialize in helping others find opportunities and bringing top talent to companies.

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