Why Referrals Are a Job Seeker's Best Friend

Published: November 24, 2014 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Manager's Corner

There are quite a few tools job seekers can use to land the job they want. A great job search strategy can help you identify the right job. A great resume can get your foot in the door. Great interview prep can help you impress employers and get you closer to a yes, especially if you can differentiate from other candidates.

But the most effective job search tool is a great referral.

Employers love referrals. Candidates who are hired through a referral tend to be higher quality employees, a better fit for the job, faster to hire, and more loyal to the company. A joint study from Jobvite and The Salary Reporter found that:

  • 44% of new hires are referrals
  • Referrals are hired 55% faster than candidates who submit through job boards
  • 69% of employers offer their employees a referral bonus
  • HR executives rate referrals as the #1 source of quality candidates, with a quality score of 8.6 out of 10

Here are some tips on how you can get great referrals and exponentially increase your chances of being hired for the job you want.

Network constantly--and widely

Whether or not you're currently on the job market, you should never stop networking. Making professional connections and nurturing those relationships is the best way to expand your referral options. The more people you know, the better your chances of having a personal introduction to the right company, at the right time.

You should also keep your networking options wide open, and network with everyone you can--even if you don't think they have a connection you can use. Nearly half of the companies surveyed by Jobvite reported hiring through referrals from vendors, customers, alumni, and other external sources.

Stay socially active (online)

In today's digital-focused world, the majority of referrals and networking connections are made online rather than in person. Attending conferences can be a great networking activity, but the number of opportunities are limited and keeping in touch with those connections is questionable. It's easier and more effective to build relationships online.

If you do nothing else, make sure you're active on LinkedIn. The largest professional social network has built-in features to help you get referrals, and most of the conversation is centered around careers. Don't just put up a profile and hope that people will notice you--join professional groups in your industry, participate in conversations, and connect with industry influencers so you're positioned to ask for referrals as needed.

Work with a staffing agency

Staffing agencies are powerful resources for direct referrals. For recruiters who work at staffing agencies, their salaries depend on successful placements of quality candidates--so a large part of their job involves developing reliable reputations with employers. Candidates who are referred through a staffing agency receive top priority treatment, and faster consideration than candidates who submit resumes cold.

Recruiters at staffing agencies work to place the right candidate with the right job, and a great staffing agency can give you the coveted referral you need to get hired.

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Comments (1)

  1. Tom Hart:
    Dec 29, 2014 at 03:38 PM

    You never know who is going to open that door for you! You don't have to fall over yourself when you meet someone, but try to be polite and connect and make a good impression so when you reach out for a little help they are willing to do that!

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