Hiring When Candidates Haven’t Heard of Your Company

The Situation:

It’s time to hire. You work for a great company with super talented people. It’s making a ton of money. The workplace culture is great. You pay market or above market rates. Maybe you’re even a public company.

The Rub:

When a prospective hire hears or reads your brand name, the majority of your prospective hires doesn’t know who you are or what you do. If this is the case, your organic candidate quality, your candidate response rate and your close rate all suffer.

What’s Next?

Employee referral programs are aptly suited to fix this business problem because the friends and connections of your employees may not know what your company does, but they know what someone at your company does.

If a recruitment message comes from a known friend or connection, your candidate response rate will immediate increase. This is huge for getting your foot in the door with top talent.

The Dangling Carrot vs. The Clean Ask:

So how do you improve the volume and quality of your employee referrals? You can raise the stakes of the reward (i.e. the dangling carrot) or you can improve the process of your program.

In “Google doubled bonuses for employee referrals and it didn’t work—here’s what did,” Quartz summarizes a key learning from Google’s Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock’s recent book as, “Financial incentives had nothing to do with it—when the company tried doubling its referral bonus from $2,000 to $4,000 first, it didn’t help at all.”

You should definitely have an employee referral bonus. Nevertheless, the difference from zero and 1 is so much more than the difference between 1 and 2. Before you roll out an employee referral bonus, you need to set up a strong employee referral structure, and that starts with what does talent acquisition ask of existing employees.

According to Software Advice, 81% of employees who don’t participate in the company’s employee referral program because “they don’t know anyone who is a good fit for a position.”  The reality is much more likely that they can’t remember anyone at the given moment with those specific qualifications, or they lack the recruiting skill set to make matches between job specifications and what their connections are currently working on.

Through the duration of an individual’s employment, odds are very high that each employee knows someone in their network who is a good fit for at least one of your company’s open positions. The average American has 634 connections. That’s a lot of potential candidates.

Bock wrote in his recent book, “Breaking down a huge question (“Do you know anyone we should hire?) into lots of small, manageable ones (“Do you know anyone who would be a good salesperson in New York?”) garners us more, higher-quality referrals.”

As a leader of talent acquisition at your company, you know what types of talent you need to hire. With Teamable you can browse your employees’ contacts and search for skills and work history that match your recruitment needs. Once you have this clean view of your employee network, you simply  prompt a specific employee to introduce a specific role to one or many of their contacts.  You’ll be surprised how much your candidate response rate will jump when the right person sends the message.

A high performing employee referral program starts with a clean ask of your employees.

Learn more by Demoing Teamable. Photo credit, The Stuff Buff.

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