If you are tired of your application falling into a black hole and want a better way to communicate with a potential employer and secure an interview, then you need to get referred. Here’s how to make contact and what to say!
Referred Candidates Are The Top Source Of Hires
Over 30% of new hires come from employee referrals according to SilkRoad’s Source of Hire 2017 study. Companies report that employee referrals beat out the other hiring methods including applications from Indeed, current employees, candidates sourced by company recruiters, company career website, CareerBuilder and LinkedIn.
And then there’s this evidence from Lever, shared by Donna Svei, AvidCareerist. Please read the full article here.
The Majority of Companies Offer Referral Programs
More than three-quarters of U.S. workers say that their company has an employee referral program according to talent acquisition solution provider iCIMS’s 2017 Modern Job Seeker Report. This means there is an incentive for employees to refer candidates for job opportunities. Why is this? Referred candidates stay in the role longer and make better employees.
- 70% of referred employees surveyed have not changed positions since being hired. (source: iCIMS)
- 60% of employers believe referrals bring in candidates that are a better fit for the company. (source: iCIMS)
- 86% of employees say they would expect to be happier at a job they were referred for than one they were not referred for. (source: iCIMS)
But financial incentives aren’t the only reason employees refer people for openings in their company. Believe it or not, people want to help you and help their company. All you have to do is ask. There are two ways to get referred.
Proactively Get Connected (then referred)
Before a job is posted, contact people who work inside companies you are interested in working for. You can learn more about creating a target list of companies here.
You want to meet with people inside companies to learn what it is like to work there. The best time to do this is before a job is open because once a job does get posted, lots of people will be reaching out and asking for these meetings.
The secret is staying in touch with these insiders so when a job is posted they will think of you and reach out to let you know about the new opportunity.
Reactively Find A Referral
The second way to get referred happens after you’ve found a job opportunity. Use your in-person network, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook to identify friends or friends of friends inside the company.
Use every means possible to find someone who knows someone inside the company with the job! It doesn’t matter what role your contact holds. What is important is that you reach out and ask for a referral.
You used to be able to search Facebook by companies where people worked, but you can no longer do that. But you can post to a personal status update on Facebook asking if anyone knows someone at “X” company. You never know!
Always tap into your existing network first. Ask the people you know inside a company with a posted job what they know about it and who they recommend you speak to. Don’t let them suggest Human Resources. You can’t network with them. You need to speak with someone in the department/area that is hiring.
Keep in mind, it is easier and faster to reach out to the people you know inside a company and ask them to refer you for the job than to try to build new relationships with insiders.
LinkedIn’s Get Referred Feature
Not only can you search for people you know inside a company using LinkedIn, but you can also now use LinkedIn’s job search filter to search for jobs where you have connections. Learn more about it on LinkedIn’s blog here
From the desktop version of LinkedIn, go to the jobs tab. You will see a section that says “jobs where you can get referred.” This allows you to first focus on jobs where you have connections. View the job and the people you know inside the company and identify the best person to refer you.
Choose either someone you know well or someone who is familiar with your work. Asking someone you don’t know very well to refer you can be awkward and may not get the desired results. Once you find the best connection to refer you, LinkedIn allows you to send a message directly from the job posting. The recipient will also receive a link to the job posting. LinkedIn supplies a basic message which you can edit.
Here’s what the message says when you ask for a referral.
Hope all is well with you! I came across the [job title] role at [company name] and am interested in applying. Would you be open to sharing my LinkedIn profile with the hiring team so they know about my interest in this role?
Happy to chat more if you have the time as well. Looking forward to hearing from you.
[your name and phone number]
Email Your Inside Contact Instead
Many people do not receive email notifications from LinkedIn so you may want to reach out via email instead. Here’s what your email message should include:
- Remind your connection how you know each other
- Reference the job
- Explain why you’re a good fit
- State why you’re interested
Here’s a template to help make it easier to ask (and get) a referral.
Hello [name of connection]:
I wanted to reach out and ask for your help. There’s a job for a [job title] at your company and I’m very interested in applying for it.
You may remember, [state how you know each other].
Based on what I read, I believe I would be a great fit for the role.
• [#1 qualification you meet]
• [#2 qualification you meet]
• [#3 qualification you meet]
I have been watching [company] and am excited about [something interesting the company is working on]. Additionally, [company]’s focus on [volunteer projects the company supports] aligns well with the volunteer work I’ve been doing at [volunteer organization].
If you need more information, I’m happy to have a conversation if that would be easier.
Thank you in advance for your help and support!
[your name and phone number]
The best way to get your resume to the top of the stack is to tap people you know (or meet) inside the company.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.