Give Resume photo from ShutterstockDid you know that employee referrals have become the most valued tool in hiring?

I just returned from speaking at the Career Thought Leaders Conference in Baltimore. The theme of the conference was “Framing the Future.” A common theme throughout many of the presentations was that employee referrals are golden.

I wrote extensively about the value of employee referrals in my Targeted Job Search series on this blog. I wrote about continuously building your referral network so that you stay employed at companies where you want to work.

Employee Referrals – The numbers don’t lie!

Gerry Crispin co-founded a non-profit, TalentBoard, to better define and measure the Candidate Experience. In his presentation, he presented some startling numbers on hiring, and the effect of employee referrals that came from the Candidate Experience Award.

The Candidate Experience Award process is a competition, but it is also designed to provide every organization that chooses to participate some confidential and specific feedback on how they can improve their candidate experience.

Gerry gave the following typical example:

  • 100 applications for every open position
  • 4 employee referrals will be submitted

Approximately, half of all candidates are screened out or deemed unqualified for the position which leaves:

  • 50 applications
  • 2 employee referrals

5 candidates will be interviewed including the 2 employee referrals.

The numbers do not lie. If you apply and an employee referred you for the position, 50% chance of getting an interview and you have a 20% chance of getting hired.

If you do not have an employee referral, you have a 3% chance of getting an interview and only 1.2% chance of getting hired.

What this should tell you is that employee referrals are invaluable!

The Employee Referrals Bonus

Employee referrals are so valued by many corporations that the employee referrals bonuses are commonly offered. The bonus is paid if the employee refers the candidate before the candidate applies and the candidate is hired. Therefore, before you apply for a job online seek out a referral!

In 2009, in the depth of the recession, I was working for a sexy tech startup… and we were hiring. I had more candidates from the Launch Pad Job Club, where I serve on the board of directors, asking me to submit their resume. My first question was always:

Have you applied online?

The answer almost every time was:


My response every time was:

Next time, please send me your resume first and only apply when I tell you.

Due to the fact that they already applied, I was not eligible for the bonus and their application would not be seen as a employee referral. Not every employee referral program works this way, but most do.

I was more than willing to work for these candidates because of my position with the job club. I was motivated by reasons other than money. I received close to 100 resumes that year, and only one sent it to me first. I received my $2500 bonus for that position. I do not know of another hire from the other 99.

If you want to boost your chance to get hired, work diligently on building your referral network.

Marc MillerCareer Pivot

Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

Do not forget to follow me on Twitter or FaceBook