There is one thing you can do that increases your chances of being hired: getting an employee referral.
Referred candidates are more likely to get hired, perform better and last longer in jobs. This is why companies, large and small, are investing in referral programs. It makes good business sense for them and for you.
Here are seven things you need to know about being a referred candidate, based on a recent survey commissioned by iCIMS, a provider of talent acquisition solutions (you can see the full report here):
1. Referred Candidates Have Better Odds of Getting Hired
When an employee refers someone, that candidate is hired about two-thirds of the time. Plain and simple: You must find people who work inside companies you are interested in working for. Use your in-person network, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook to identify the names of people you already know. It doesn’t matter what role your contact is in. What matters is that you let them know the types of roles you are interested in and that you stay on his or her radar, just in case something comes up. It is always best to reach out to people before a job is posted.
2. Employees Do Make Referrals
If you are at all skeptical, don’t be. Employees are jumping on the referral bandwagon. 60% of employees have referred at least one person to an open position within the company, and 38% of employees have referred multiple candidates for open jobs. By nature, people want to help, and it doesn’t take much effort for an employee to refer you for a job. Just ask.
3. Candidates Should Start at the Top
The higher the person referring you is on the corporate ladder, the better your chances of getting hired. Almost all candidates (91%) referred by a director level or above were hired, versus 53% of hired referrals from an entry-level candidate. If you do know top level executives, reach out to them first. However, don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone you know inside the company, because being referred by any level employee increases your chances.
4. Referral Incentives Exist
While 63% of employers currently follow a documented employee referral process, the remaining companies accept referrals in a less formal way. Either formally or informally, companies realize that referrals make great employees and cost less to hire. When asking an employee to refer you, you’re actually helping your contact reap rewards.
5. Referrals are the Most Important Job Search Resource
76% of job seekers ranked employee referrals as being of high to extremely high importance. This resource ranked higher than company career sites, job boards and even LinkedIn. You may not believe all the experts who proclaim the power of networking, but you can’t dismiss the advice when job seekers report how important referrals are as a resource.
6. Referred Employees Love Their Jobs
You don’t just want a paycheck – you want a job you will enjoy. 65% of referred employees were very satisfied with job fit or their ability to fulfill the requirements of the position, and 50% were very satisfied with how well they fit within the company. Leverage the power of past colleagues to help you identify a company and job where you are more likely to be happy.
7. Company Size Makes a Difference
If a company has more employees, it may make it easier to find someone inside the company to refer you. And larger companies might put more resources towards hiring referrals. No matter the size of the company, hiring happens through referrals. It may be more difficult to find someone within a smaller company, but don’t give up.
Small companies (99 or fewer employees) fill 14% of jobs through referrals
Medium companies (100 to 999 employees) fill 24% of jobs through referrals
Large companies (1,000 or more employees) fill 27% of jobs through referrals.
The best way to get your résumé to the top of the stack is by getting referred. The tools exist today to identify people who work inside companies you are interested in.
Social media sites like LinkedIn make it easier to keep track of past colleagues. Plus, companies value the quality of employees who come from referrals.
Isn’t it time you paid more attention to this job search resource?