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Boost your recruiting efforts with employee referrals

Posted September 13, 2017

By Kyra Kudick, associate editor, J. J. Keller & Associates

Employee referral programs can be extremely valuable. When your employees do the recruiting for you, candidates are located and brought to you without the typical recruiting costs. You may even come across passive candidates via this avenue.

Why it works

Employees who are familiar with open positions can give friends and relatives a comprehensive understanding of the job for which they’d be applying. Not only can candidates get a better understanding of the job this way, but they’re also likely to get a rundown of the company culture, including the pros and cons of working there.

More than non-referral candidates, these individuals should have a realistic idea of what they’re getting into, making turnover because of unpleasant surprises or misrepresented job duties less likely.

Referred candidates may also be more qualified than individuals who have no connection to your organization. These applicants are pre-screened by your own employees, most of whom wouldn’t want to vouch for someone they weren’t sure could do the job well.

Consider rewards

Employees need to be reminded that your organization values referrals and offers incentives for them. Many companies provide a monetary reward to referring employees, often awarded after a referred employee meets a certain milestone, such as six months or a year (or both) with the organization.

Awards might differ based on the type of employee hired. They may also vary as your organization experiences different levels of talent shortages or surpluses.

To keep employees interested and remind them that their efforts are valued, you may want to reward employees who refer qualified individuals even when those candidates are not hired.

Get the word out

Communication might be the most important element of a successful employee referral program. Current employees need to be continually reminded of openings in your organization so they can be mindful of individuals they know who might be a good fit for particular positions.

Soliciting internal referrals alongside your traditional recruiting methods should help you create a solid candidate pool for most positions.

About the author:

Kyra Kudick

Kyra Kudick is an associate editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., a nationally recognized compliance resource company that offers products and services to address the range of responsibilities held by human resources and corporate professionals. Kudick specializes in employment law/HR issues such as employee relations, hiring and recruiting, and training and development. She is the author of J. J. Keller’s Employee Relations Essentials manual and SUPER adVISOR newsletter. For more information, visit and