Employee referrals can be one of the least expensive and most effective recruiting tool human resources professionals have.
We know this. The emphasis on networking, connecting and reaching inside people is the focus of so many blogs, articles and social networking sites.
If you have friends, colleagues or neighbors who are seeking you out to help get an insider track, here are a few tips to provide an effective referral to your HR staff and/or hiring managers.
- Know something about the person. I have received hundreds of referrals by welling meaning and intentioned employees who know absolutely nothing about the candidate.
- Make an effort to understand a bit about the position for which you are referring the candidate. I had a colleague refer a statistician for an administrative assistant position. While not necessarily a disqualifier, the candidate was looking for a way in, not the job for which I was hiring. This is not helpful.
- Avoid comments like “my friend needs a job” or “he/she is really a terrific person” While potentially true, those statements are completely irrelevant to the referral or the position for which I am hiring.
- Do due diligence. Spend a few minutes with the candidate and collect some concrete facts. Focus on skill set, a few of the strengths the person potentially brings to the job and why you think the candidate should be considered, outside of the ‘good person’ assessment.
When talking to friends who are networking, think of yourself as hiring the person yourself. Think of yourself as a partner to the HR department or the hiring manager. What would you want to know about the person?
Don’t refer someone out of pity or obligation. I have had colleagues refer people because they were asked to do so. When I have probed further, I have found that they don’t know the person well, don’t think the person would be a good fit or they know something that would disqualify the candidate from consideration. Be able to say no and understand that referrals like this can affect your credibility.
If for some reason, you find it necessary to refer someone you don’t know well, share that. Let us know that you have been asked to provide a referral but only know the person under specific circumstances. Frame it for us – I know this person as a committee member on a community board and this is what we worked on together.
A few small steps in the screening process will help you, candidates and your friendly HR folks.
Photo credit iStockPhoto
Deirdre is our Women of HR Featured Contributor this week on LinkedIn. Click through to see what she has to say.