12 Ways to make the employee referral programme awesome


Finding a suitable candidate for the company is one big challenge faced by the Human Resource. One of the most efficient and cost effective methods of hiring new candidates by organisations these days is through employee referral.



To explain what the term means – ‘it is when the existing employees of a company suggest names of the suitable candidates from their social group for a position within their organisation’. In return, the employee receives a referral bonus from the company, if the suggested candidate is selected.

There are several benefits of job referral programme that have come to the forefront, better candidate quality, better ‘fit’ within the organisation and better retention levels as the candidate has a good understanding of the work environment in the organisation beforehand. Also, it has been seen that job referral programme are comparatively more cost and time effective than external referral programme. One downside that comes to light is the lack of diversity in the workplace.

To make sure an employee referral programme is a success there are a few steps the company should follow. These are…

Engaging all employees

When launching a new job referral programme in the company make sure to involve everyone, from the top management to the entry level employees. In case, there is already an employee referral programme existing make sure that every new employee are made aware of it during their induction.

This can be done with a help of a presentation that provides information to everyone about the features of the programme.


Simple and Easy

To make sure that the programme is well received by the employees it should be kept simple and easy to follow. Make it complicated and cumbersome and that is a sure way to make people shy away from participating in the programme. 


Transparency of Process

It will go a long way if the organisation as a whole gets regular updates regarding the recruiting goals and frequent highlights as regards the success of the programme. This will definitely encourage more people to get involved and more often.


More than just Monetary Gain

Apart from the monetary benefit involved for the employees when their referral converts into a successful hiring, there are intangible but significant benefits to referral, such as, having the power to get people into the organisation with whom you have a good rapport and the power to choose people with whom you would like to work.
Employees have to be made aware of the influence they can have in the workplace. 


Involving the Employees from the Start

Right from the start get the employees involved in the referral programme. Let them design the job description and prerequisites of the position. 
This will encourage the employees to put extra effort to get people with good talent and experience.
Also, get them involved in the interview process. Interviewing should become part of their quarterly goals.


Use Social Networking

Guide the employees to use their social network contacts. Inform them the effective way to look for the correct candidates. This entails coaching and showing the ropes to the employees on ways to cultivate professional associations online and also ways to identify useful contacts. 
Also, educate the employees to use correct keywords that are in the job description to seek out prospective candidates with the right skill sets. 
At times, it’s a good idea to go through your employee’s social contacts on professional sites like LinkedIn and see if there are people who suit your requirements


Get the Prospective Candidates Excited to Join

Want to get prospective employees more excited about the openings in your organisation, and then make sure to provide your existing employees with aids to facilitate this. Provide them with blogs or videos giving details about the organisation and about the positions open that they can, in turn, show the candidates.

Make it a competition

Instead of giving an individual bonus, make just one large pool of cash reward. Turning the process into a competition can make it interesting.



Cash rewards are probably the most popular and the most effective way to recognise the employee’s effort in getting a candidate. The amount of-course can vary in relation to the position and the recruiting cost had it been through an external source.


No waiting period for paying referral bonus

The employee should be given the payment as soon as the candidate they referred is selected. Any waiting period kills the enthusiasm of the employees and serves no purpose since most people who get hired outlast the waiting period unless of-course the company has a poor job selection process.

If there are people in the company who do not make good or appropriate referral then effort should be made to educate them.

If removing the waiting period is not possible, then the next best thing to do would be to divide the reward into two parts, a small part to be given right after the selection of the candidate and the remaining after the waiting period. This also should keep the employee pacified.


Feedback to the employees

To make sure that the employees are following the correct procedure and are on the right track it’s a good idea to give timely feedbacks to the employees regarding the candidates they referred, this also keeps them motivated. An acknowledgement email to the employee is also a good way to keep them in the loop and keep them informed that their referrals are being viewed.


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Blog Author

Satyam is an entrepreneur, venturing out in the recruitment space. He understands the challenges in the recruitment industry and believes he can address the problems by a combination of technology and human intervention. He is passionate about helping the Job Seekers. Prior to starting his own venture he worked for i2 Technologies (now JDA).He also worked as a Supply Chain consultant in several IT companies. He is an MCA from NIT Trichy.

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