One of the easiest ways to attract new employees is through current employees and yet this is an area where so many companies struggle in talent identification.  Companies still struggle with employee referral numbers and, while some groups may do it better, it always appears to be an overall company struggle.

What is the psychology behind an employee referral…

Fear of referring poor hire, thinking their name will be tagged on the person they referred?  Hesitancy to refer a friend or family member?  Don’t want to refer someone who may jump me for the next promotion?  These are all valid concerns, and there are many more that I missed.

From an HR perspective, we need to begin (or continue) to think about new approaches to the question “who do you know” for employee referrals.  So many recruiters just don’t ask the questions to lead a person to a potential referral.  This should be the goal on every call, to get connected to someone else.

Should companies look at incentivizing employee referrals (cash bonus, PTO time, gift cards, and sporting event tickets)?  While these are all good options for non-HR employees, recruiters should always be looking at ways to add top talent.

When speaking with an external candidate, I have found, they are willing to talk and either provide a name or pass along information.  If the later happens, a recruiter needs to follow up on this action otherwise it was not a productive call.  As with anything, the follow through is critical, an in a profession that is already scrutinized, it is probably the most important thing a recruiter can do.

The key is to follow through to drive better referral results.  Make it a goal of your day or week, work to get connected and use LinkedIn to build your network this way; it is amazing at what you might achieve.  Social media is opening the door even wider for this activity but it will not be given to you.  Engage, interact and then something good just might happen.