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How to Build a Stronger Candidate Referral Program in 2023

Having a robust talent pipeline is crucial for recruitment success. However, cultivating a suitable candidate pool is often challenging, particularly during periods of labor shortages and pervasive skill gaps.

As a result, many companies are turning to candidate referral programs in 2023 to boost their recruitment success. If you want to ensure this strategy produces results, here are some tips to help you build a stronger candidate referral program in 2023.

How to Build a Stronger Candidate Referral Program

Rebrand Your Candidate Referral Program

While referrals from employees typically yield better matches on average, it’s important to recognize the potential flaw in the traditional approach. In some cases, workers are open to referring professionals they don’t know personally, which may surprise hiring managers who operate on the assumption that there’s a stronger connection.

By rebranding your candidate referral program as a “recommendation” program, that’s far less likely. The term “recommendation” implies to employees that they are doing more than shuttling over a person’s resume. Instead, it leads them to believe that management thinks they’re openly advocating for the referred candidate. Essentially, it implies that the employee’s reputation is tied to the candidate. As a result, workers may hesitate to support a job seeker they aren’t certain they can stand behind, reducing the odds that they’ll blindly refer someone.

Refocus Employees’ Desire to Help

In many ways, referring a candidate for an open position allows employees to help, which provides intrinsic value. The issue is that the desire to help usually translates to assisting the job seeker, not the company. The emotional reward feels the same to employees, so they may incidentally view assisting other candidates as the right choice.

Fortunately, you can refocus their desire to help on the company. Openly discuss how a strong referral benefits the team that has an opening. Let them know how the right candidate with the needed skills supports colleagues they already know, outlining how it resolves hardships or reduces stress. By doing so, employees are more likely to focus on assisting that team over helping a job seeker who could be a poor fit.

Request Insights from the Referring Employee

Some candidate referral programs ask employees to do little more than point hiring managers in the direction of job seekers who could potentially meet the requirements. While this approach is quick, it also makes poorly thought-out recommendations easier to make.

Instead, ask employees to answer a few basic questions when they submit a referral. In many cases, simply requiring them to answer, “Why are you recommending this candidate?” can adjust the employee’s mindset, increasing the odds of higher quality referred job seekers.

Asking candidates to “describe your personal experience with the candidate” is another excellent option. Again, this reduces the odds of employees simply referring someone they don’t know well because they were asked for help.

Partner with A.R. Mazzotta to Boost Your Talent Pipeline

If you need to boost your talent pipeline quickly, giving you more access to top talent, partnering with a leading staffing service is a wise move. Whether you need temporary, temp-to-hire, or permanent employees, A.R. Mazzotta has a solution that can streamline your processes and reduce your time-to-hire. Request an employee from A.R. Mazzotta today.