This blog had to be posted today. See, today is the first Monday of the month – also known as “New Hire Orientation” day at my company. I had 4 new hires in today’s class, including an amazing employee referral. This candidate had applied to a handful of jobs, but I had not given much consideration to him until one of our employees brought up his name. This employee is one of our rock stars (forgive the overused term) so I thought I should take a 2nd look. I’m glad I did. After a couple of pretty thorough phone interviews I decided which position I felt he was the best fit for (he had, sadly, applied to several - which actually makes our job harder). I got the hiring manager to interview him, then the director. Before you know it, we’re making an offer and everyone’s thrilled. Our employee gets a referral bonus, my candidate gets a job, the hiring manager gets a position filled. Everybody wins. On days like today, I love employee referrals.
Not every referral has such a happy ending. I’ll save my horror stories, mostly to protect the guilty. Instead, here’s a checklist for all you employees angling for your piece of the referral bonus.
Does the referral actually want to work for this company? If you send me your brother in law’s resume and I call them just to find out that our office is too far away, I reserve the right to be really, really mad at you.
Do we have a current opening they are a fit for? Will we ever? We do a really good job of keeping our openings up to date. I am happy to take 5 minutes to discuss them with you or your referral, since I’m often aware of things that will open up in the near future. PLEASE don’t try to refer a chemical engineer - we are a sales company and don’t have any of those. Not now, probably not ever.
Give me the info and let me take it from there. Stopping by my desk twice a day to ask if I’ve called your neighbor will not move them up my priority list. Emailing me (while cc’ing my boss) that your buddy hasn’t heard from me (it’s been 3 hours after all) will not make me more excited about calling. Better yet, pass along my contact info to your referral and have him or her call me directly. You don’t need to be the middleman.
Don’t make assumptions about what makes a “perfect” candidate. If you work in Finance, please don’t assume you know what makes a good Sales Manager. If you’re a top sales performer, you probably don’t know anything about what it takes to be a great receptionist. Besides, you don’t know what the rest of the candidate pool looks like – it’s a wee bit arrogant to say your person is the BEST when you don’t even know who to compare them to.
Help your referral understand, and work within, our process. Chances are if you’re employed here you went through some variation of our hiring process. I may have even been your recruiter. So I know you know better. Throwing your buddy’s resume at every position we post is not going to get you any closer to that referral bonus.
Ask yourself is this referral is worth your reputation. If they interview well, get hired, and work out you are a star. If they screw up at any point in the process, rightly or wrongly, it will reflect on you. If you believe this person will make you look good, I want to talk to them. If you’re just trying to help your brother get a job so he’ll move out of your parents’ house, you’ve got the wrong recruiter.
We spend an awful lot of time telling people to network into companies. We encourage our employees to refer their friends. Do we ever tell them how to do it right?