If you have been reading this column for long you know the value I place on networking. Fully 75 percent to 85 percent of jobs are filled as a result of networking. The higher the compensation, the more likely that networking played a vital role in the selection process.
Perhaps less known to job seekers is the importance of gaining a referral into an organization, ideally, from a current employee. Many companies have an employee referral program (ERP) that provides a monetary incentive to employees who refer qualified candidates who are subsequently hired.
This is a win-win all the way around. The company saves on recruitment costs and sources well- qualified candidates, employees earn extra cash and job seekers shorten their job search.
In an employer survey conducted by the Talent Board (http://thetalentboard.org), 50.6 percent of employers surveyed identified their employee referral program as a competitive advantage and used it extensively to recruit.
Another 28 percent of those surveyed consider their employee referral programs a routine part of their recruitment strategy. Add those numbers up and you begin to appreciate the impact that getting an internal referral can have on your job search. Clearly a significant number of employers consider employee referrals an important part of their hiring strategy.
What I didn’t know until recently was the number of actual hires that result from employee referrals. One-fourth to one-third of all openings are filled as a result of an employee referral.
WOW! That is huge! Let me repeat that — 25 percent to 33 percent of all openings are filled by employee referrals.
For a job candidate getting a referral increases the likelihood of being hired three to four times. That is a powerful edge for the savvy job seeker.
TiVO is one company that aggressively promotes its employee referral program to its employees and candidates alike.
Visitors to TiVO’s career page, “Common Questions” section, (http://www.tivo.com/jobs/questions ) will discover that TiVO places the LinkedIn icon next to each job posting. It actively encourage candidates to see who in their LinkedIn network currently works for TiVO and invite them to seek out a referral.
TiVO also publishes data about the sources of its hires. Fully 39 percent of hires for the year ending Jan. 31, 2012, were the result of employee referrals. Other companies would do well to emulate TiVOs recruitment strategy.
What’s my point? Candidates in today’s tight job market need to use every tool available to gain the attention of hiring managers.
Networking is an integral part of every successful job seeker’s search plan. It is increasingly important to use your network to source internal referrals to organizations of interest.
My advice: Before you hit the “send” button on your electronic application, find someone inside the organization who can help grease the wheels for you. Just this little bit of extra effort could dramatically impact your results.
Employee referrals work! Ignore them at your own peril.
Mary Jeanne Vincent is a career expert and strategist with a private coaching practice in Monterey. She may be reached at 831.657.9151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.