Utilizing your current staff to find new staff is a widespread practice that has gained much credibility especially in the past few years. If you have great talent on your team, it’s likely that they are connecting with other great talent; either as personal friends, university alumni or via professional industry networking.
Many organizations take advantage of their employees’ natural connection to the company and other like-minded people to expand their reach for new recruits easily and in a very cost-efficient manner.
Every employee is a walking job advertisement. So if you’re not tapping into that potential, here are some steps to get you started.
1. Make your employee experience awesome
It goes without saying that no one is going to invite their awesome friends or acquaintances to work with them if they don’t feel that your workplace is sufficiently awesome.
The brilliant coder your employee is chatting to at a weekend BBQ isn’t going to be interested in your upcoming position if his friend spent the afternoon offloading his complaints about a controlling boss, low benefits, or a demotivating work environment.
What makes your workplace somewhere your employees would want their friends to work? What can your employees boast about at the weekend BBQ?
Don’t just ask your employees to rave about the workplace. Give your employees something rave about!
2. Be completely transparent about roles available
Where possible, create a public job board where every employee can see the positions currently available within the organization. If you have a smaller company, and therefore less roles opening up, send out an update of any new roles in an email to the team. This will ensure every employee reads it and is aware of the vacancies.
Give your employees first access to the information about an available role. There is no benefit to keeping a vacant role secret. One of your star performers may know the perfect candidate for a new role. But if they don’t know there’s even a vacancy … well that’s just a lost opportunity.
3. Provide more detail than just a job title
There’s an old saying in the recruitment world (when taking a job brief from a hiring manager), that “a job title and a few bullet points do not equate to a job description”. It’s no different when letting your team know what vacancies are currently open in your business.
In order to assess whether their friend might be suitable, your employee will need more detail than just a job title. Ensure you include sufficient information such as who the position reports to, what skills are required, how much experience you are ideally looking for and the ever-important cultural fit requirements such as values and behaviours.
Providing this detail may even jolt a person’s memory that someone in their network has ‘that exact skill’ and may well be interested.
4. Keep all your available roles up to date
Trust is an important factor when it comes to referring friends. Your employees need to know that the opportunities available are genuine. They don’t want their referral spending a lot of time preparing an application only to be told the position is already at final interview stage or was in fact filled a month earlier.
Ensure the information you are providing to your employees is up to date and accurate. Anything less erodes the purpose of the entire job board to provide your employees with information for the task.
5. Ask your employees if they know anyone
It seems obvious but many employers forget to simply ask!
Encourage your team to become your employer brand ambassadors through their own social networks. Employees are known to be reticent about offering personal acquaintances for consideration. They don’t want to be seen as biased. They may also be worried about the fall-out on themselves personally if the recommended friend or colleague doesn’t work out.
Either in a team meeting or through an email communication, explain to your employees that you are completely open to their recommendations of potential hires (even if there is no specific open vacancy at the time) and that you trust their ability to know who would be a good fit for the business.
Of course at the end of any job vacancy announcement, make sure you include the invitation to recommend someone appropriate.
These first 5 steps can all be taken without spending anything more than a few minutes to keep job descriptions updated and your employees aware and fully informed.
The final steps involve investing some money in the process, which, when compared with traditional recruitment fees, could actually end up saving you dollars in the long run.
6. Referral programs
Providing formal benefits for your employees is the standard way of encouraging referrals from your team.
If you’re confused as to why a referral program is the best way to do this, have a read of one of our previous blog posts – 4 Reasons You Need A Referral Program.
Your business could receive qualified candidates right on your doorstep with a properly designed and implemented Employee Referral Program.
The essence of an Employee Referral Program involves providing a reward directly to an employee in return for a candidate they referred being hired for a particular position.
This reward could be any number of different types; one company I know offers $10,000 after the new employee successfully passes their probation period. Another company offers a weekend holiday to an exotic island for the employee and a friend.
Employee Referral Programs should be designed to fit in with the culture (and of course the budget) of the organization, rewarding employees in a way that is personally motivating.
7. Pay for your team members to attend networking events
Now that your team members love your workplace, are aware that they can put people forward for opportunities and have a strong incentive to do so, it’s time to get them in front of people who matter.
Assist your team members to meet potential new recruits and become your personal brand ambassadors by sending them to networking events. These could be meet-ups for people of their particular skill set, lunches or networking breakfasts.
If these events need a ticket, pay for it. It will be part of what they boast about to your future new employee and give them one more reason to explain why your workplace is so great!
Follow these steps so that when your employees are bragging about your fabulous company to friends and even new acquaintances, they follow it up with, ‘Actually we have a position open right now …’