Often, the best people are not on the market. They won’t approach you – so you have to find them.
The good news is that very often your team will already know who these people are. Communities centred around disciplines like development, growth hacking, and software sales are notoriously incestuous.
A referral program can be a great way to get top talent to consider joining your company.
A referral program is where employees can suggest people they think should join the company. You work with your team to identify and engage prospects via referral and lead generation programs.
Starting an internal referral program
A referral program might sound a little heavyweight when you’re first starting out. In the early days, it’s reasonable to expect your founding team and equity holders to refer candidates to you as a matter of course.
Nonetheless, as you grow you should consider offering a reward for successful referrals. Some companies offer cash or prizes for a successful placement, which makes sense when offset against the cost of an external third party hire. However, you might decide on something that makes sense in your company – would your culture respond better to cash or a bottle of wine or an Amazon voucher? A trophy for the referrers desk or a lego figure representing the person referred?
It’s important that the reward demonstrates gratitude. Hiring is hard, and a referral can be a valuable shortcut.
Make submitting a referral as easy as possible. Let your team know they should email referrals to the person doing the hiring – either the hiring manager or the recruiter (if you have one.)
When you do receive a referral, take care to make sure the process is both quick and effective – and take the extra time to offer verbal feedback. You may want to consider an abridged process for referrals, such as removing an initial phone screening and moving straight to the in-person portion of a recruitment process.