Referrals can be a recruiter’s best friend—especially if it’s a good one that leads to a hire. We all want more candidates, but we don’t just want any candidate—we want the best ones for our clients. The candidates that fit the business, the culture, the values… the ones that seal the deals! So of course, when we are out networking, meeting new people, forming relationships, we hope that some solid mingling can bring recruiters’ referrals. Or even friends and family, if you know a good candidate who fits the bill, send them our way! But there are some major mistakes when it comes to recruiters and referrals. Here are the top 3 things recruiters need to clean up when it comes to the referral game:
You’re Not Asking For Them
You’ll never get a referral if you don’t ask for one. And it’s okay to ask because what’s the worst someone could say? NO? Then good, you have your answer instead of twiddling your thumbs wondering if that person you networked with you can help you out. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get what you want. It’s cutthroat out there, and if you’re not asking for candidate referrals, there’s another recruiter down the block who is. Make a post on your social channels that you’re hiring for X position and referrals are welcome! OR make a status saying “Do you have a friend or know someone who would be a stellar Graphic Designer to add to my team? Send them my way!” Just sharing a job link will only take you so far.
You’re Asking Too Soon
Asking for referrals is A-OK. Like, 100%, ask away. The problem arises when you ask too soon. If you’re a recruiter going to a networking event, a college recruiting event, etc. don’t let the referral question come out so quickly. Before asking someone to help you, you must get them to like you and earn their trust. Once you build that rapport, then you can go for the ask. It’s Relationships 101. And it may not be instant. If you meet a cool student who may be a good fit for a position, but you’re unsure, nurture them a little bit. After you to develop a connection with that person, let them know you also have other positions available and if they have any smart friends who are looking for a job, you’d be happy to help them with their career! What college kid wouldn’t want to potentially work with their friends? In a professional networking setting, wait a little bit before asking for a referral—if you ask too soon, people may feel like you’re using them for your own benefit, and that’s only going to hurt you in the long run. It’s better to wait it out and gain that trust.
You’re Giving Referrals Special Treatment
After developing relationships and trust, when asking for referrals you finally get one! Awesome news—but don’t treat the candidate any differently. Take them through the same process you would any other candidate. Sure, referrals save a lot of time and if you trust the source, you may assume the candidate is A+, and they might be! But you can’t be too sure, and the last thing you want to do is assume they’re great and later you find out they were a terrible fit and were fired. Not good. So do your due diligence and cover your bases—you want to get to know your referrals just as well before passing them to the hiring manager. Give them the same interview treatment, same assessments, same questions, etc. They’re a reflection of you at the end of the day—so take care of yourself and resist the special treatment.
Elizabeth Dickerson is the Creative Marketing Lead at Kinetix, specializing in Graphic Design + Video Production. She uses her mad skills and desire to make an unforgettable visual impact to bring all things media, design, and video to life in the HR and Recruitment Marketing world.
Want to hang? She’s probably in the editing room drinking coffee, so find her best on Twitter or LinkedIn, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.