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Employee Referral Page

Why existing referral platforms are broken

Nasser Oudjidane
March 19, 2023

Many aspects of recruitment are stuck in the prehistoric past. All too often, the way we hire is slow, expensive and inefficient at capturing those talented fish from the proverbial sea. But here’s the problem: just like a chocolate addiction, it’s one thing to acknowledge there’s a problem, and another to implement a solution that actually works. Putting down the Mars bar is a lot more difficult if the alternative tastes like turnips. In this guide we’ll make the case that even with the best will in the world, existing referral platforms are not yet hitting the mark.

On paper, referrals work

Here’s the thing: if you can find an all-singing, all-dancing way of doing referrals, the benefits are there for all to see. Referred candidates are 20 times more likely to get hired, often stay longer, and take less time to make an impact.

And businesses know the value of referrals; in fact, research by CareerBuilder suggests that 82% of employers regard employee referrals as superior to all other sources when it comes to generating the best return on investment. So what’s going wrong with the way we do referrals?

Referral platforms must be easy to use

There’s no point in asking your team to use a referral platform if getting it to work is harder than deciphering the meaning of The Matrix. Many of us barely have time to sit around waiting for the kettle to boil, so referral platforms must be intuitive, and easy for any time-starved employee to get their head around. That means having an automated platform that can proactively mine your employees’ networks, not just a manual copy ‘n’ paste approach to screening LinkedIn profiles. If your applicant tracking system (ATS) is clunkier than the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, your yellow brick road to better referrals is going to be paved with potholes.

You need to sell referrals to your teams

Even if people like the idea of a referral program in principle, that doesn’t mean they’re going to participate in using the platform. First, they need to know it exists, and understand its importance. It’s a good idea to make a clear ‘ask’ of your employees and remind them frequently to use the program. It’s also vital to secure executive buy-in – read our guide on how to sell Intrro to your colleagues for some handy pointers if any of the higher-ups in your company are sceptical.

Your referrers must feel engaged

Having the best tech at your disposal means nothing if your people fundamentally don’t connect with your referral platform. The incentives for your co-workers should be clearly defined. ‘Wouldn’t it be great to work with talented people who you actually know and like?’ And you can always dangle a few incentives and rewards at a fun-packed sourcing jam, if you’re looking for creative ways to boost your referrals.

Your program should help you hire from underrepresented groups

If you’re looking to hire candidates from a more diverse range of backgrounds, one challenge with referrals is the tendency for people to recommend their like-minded peers. In theory, this might lead to a more narrow workforce staffed by people who went to the same school or university. But if done correctly, referrals can be a great way to reach out to candidates from underrepresented communities. An employee referral program should filter for leads – not just referrals – with filtered, targeted information that helps you define the metrics by which you want to broaden the range of people you hire.

How Intrro is changing referrals for good

Referrals can be a revelation, but good intentions do not necessarily produce good outcomes. The important part is not just the referral platform you use, but the process and product behind it. No hire is going to be a sure-fire success, but Intrro can help you reduce the chance of making an expensive mistake. Intrro makes the whole process more purposeful, proactive and painless. 

Want to see it with your own eyes? Enjoy a free Intrro trial and take the stress out of your talent search.


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