How often have you been forwarded a new job opening from a friend asking if you “know of anyone good”? This is happening more often as leaders with positions to fill turn to trusted, well-respective professional and industry friends, family and vendors to help fill positions in today’s tight hiring environment.
A recent article on recruiting resource site ERE
by Dr. John Sullivan calls this “Friends of the Firm Referrals”. Employee referral programs have been a mainstay for years, but non-employees can also be a valuable source. Dr. Sullivan writes of the benefits of recognizing this recruiting channel and gives tips to build a more formal program within your company.
Benefits of more “Friends of the Firm Referrals”:
- More talent scouts and increased hiring speed
- More high-quality referrals due to an added layer of screening
- More opportunity to reach a new set of prospects
- More opportunity to strengthen relationships with “Friends of the Firm” which can lead to these individuals becoming prospects themselves
Here are a few tips for setting up a formal program:
- Choose your pool of participants carefully – make sure they understand your company and mission. “Friends” could include members of your board of directors, employees of major vendors/suppliers, consultants working with your firm, college interns and seasonal and part-time workers
- Set clear quality expectations with participants
- Require friends to provide detailed information about why they are making this referral. Ask them, for example, to describe: the work of the individual, skills, why the individual is a good fit
- Provide a referral toolkit and training
- Provide motivation. First, describe and educate them on the value their referrals bring to the company. Then offer small rewards – think out-side-of the box on this one. What do participants value? It may not always be a direct reward but could also be donations to their favorite charity. Speak with your company’s tax and human resource department about any administrative and tax concerns
- Minimize administrative roadblocks. Ensure referrals through this channel, just like employee referrals, receive timely response and action by human resources and hiring managers
Dr. Sullivan recommends starting with a small pilot project to get a feel for how this might work in your company.
Share your thoughts: How do you utilize “Friends of the Firm Referrals”?
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