Referrals: Better from Employees or LinkedIn Contacts?

Kris Dunn Kris Dunn, Sourcing

Employee referrals: You love them, can’t live without them.  I know, me too.  I love it when a team member serves up a candidate who turns out to be a great fit for an open spot.  Everybody wins – the company with a great addition, the employee with a fat referral bonus check and the new team member who found a good gig with someone they know.

Of course, here’s the dirty little secret.  Lots of employee referrals are bad.  Bff-blue-l_0

You know the referral source I’m talking about.  The employee who refers everyone they know because they’re trying to be nice to their friends, or maybe they’re just trying to get paid.  Like the employee who is on such a bad referral streak that you call him “Mr. 0 for 20” because he’s referred 20 candidates, and not one of them sniffed a job.  If you see a lead in again like “I met Janet at quarter draft night, and I think she’d be a great fit for us..,” you’re going postal.

That’s why when it comes to referrals, LinkedIn referrals are better overall than employee referrals.

The math and science of this comparison is pretty simple.  Employees refer friends.  LinkedIn contacts tend to refer people who do what they do for a living, because that’s the type of network they build out on LinkedIn.  As a result, on average, LinkedIn referrals are much higher quality that employee referrals.

Of course, the work required to get to a hire in LinkedIn is a barrier to most HR people I know.  It takes hard work – you’ve got to message a lot of people, because the response rate to your call for help won’t be sky high on LinkedIn.  As a result, most HR pros with recruiting responsibilities never fully adopt to living the LinkedIn referral lifestyle.

So, you’d rather take what comes in the employee referral bucket and not grind away to market your openings to people you find in LinkedIn?  That’s OK.

Lazy, but OK.  Have fun sorting through the people Johnny met at the bar.  Good luck with your hiring.  I hope your post and pray, farmer-like recruiting goes really well.