Power of the Referral 2.0

Power of the referral 2.0

Give them, get them, experience the magic.

About a year ago, I wrote a segment on how referrals in tech recruiting are typically the best candidates to work with. In ‘Make Referrals Part of Your Follow Up’ I focused on relationship building, and now, with 2017 winding down, I can say with complete confidence that nothing has changed.  

This year, 7 of the people I have successfully put to work were from a direct referral. I’ll go on to say that I also landed 3 signed contingency agreements from people who had referred me directly to hiring managers. Not only has my network grown, but my reputation and success for delivering quality results has expanded.  

Let’s explore again why referrals are so great, and what makes the power of a referral so much more effective than a cold call or LinkedIn blast message.

It all starts with leveraging your network.

Something that has stayed consistent my entire career is that top caliber talent is very difficult to come across.

The best-of-the-best stay quiet, they are not on the job boards, they didn’t subscribe to your mailing list, and typically, they have no trouble utilizing their own network to get their foot in the door somewhere. These are the types of candidates that are introduced to you via a referral.

A successful tech person can be contacted as many as 15+ times in a given week for various job opportunities. The result, a frustrated, and probably annoyed, IT Professional who now has a flooded inbox, who might not even be looking for a change.  

The worst part, said individual is most likely developing a negative, unconscious bias of the recruiting industry.

Why Referral Requests Matter

As a recruiter, if you can be referred to a candidate and use that as part of your introduction, I promise that you will have a much higher success rate than that of someone picking up the phone, returning your call, or responding back to your email.

Not only is someone more willing to respond to you via email or return your phone call if you are referred to them, but I typically find that referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate.

Of all the placements we’ve made in 2017 (so far) – 16.36% of them are from referrals – making them our #2 best source. – Ben Solomon, Director of Research & Sourcing at Objective Paradigm

Referral reminder tips:

  • The best time to ask for a referral is after you have already placed the candidate. People are more likely to give you information after you’ve already helped them out.  
  • The best way to ask for a referral is to ask not ‘do,’ but ‘who’ do you know that is both successful at what they do and is either active or not active in their job search?
  • Don’t stop sending LinkedIn messages or searching on the job boards, but do build the referral ask into your follow-up next time you make a placement.

Remember, a candidate is more apt to give a referral if they have had an enjoyable or ‘successful’ experience working with you. In addition, that placed candidate will most likely introduce you to candidates or even clients that aren’t always on a job board or actively advertising their need.

If you can connect, chances are you just landed a potential candidate that 99% of the market hasn’t talked to. This is an exceptional feeling as a recruiter.


Kevin Kluge is a Sr. Recruiter, Salesforce Specialist, and Recruiting Team Lead at Objective Paradigm. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn here.