Make Referrals Part of Your Follow Up


Building Relationships

One ‘trend’ that hasn’t faded in my eight years of recruiting experience is that the best candidates are the ones that nobody knows about. How do you find them? Referrals.

These candidates don’t have their resumes on a job board, they aren’t on a mailing list, and their LinkedIn profile might not be 100% up-to-date. That’s because the best candidates are introduced to you via a referral.

Think about this for a minute: there are over 500 staffing firms in Chicago alone.

Let’s say a successful professional in the Information Technology space posts their resume on a job board – how many times a day do you think that particular person is getting a recruitment call or email? What if this person isn’t on a job board, but has an awesome LinkedIn profile – how many LinkedIn InMails or messages / ‘requests to connect’ is this person receiving a week?

When I talk to candidates about who is reaching out and how, I’m hearing a general annoyance with how much traffic their inboxes receive each week; as a result, they ignore the noise.

Are we all fishing out of the same pond?

Sort of. Differentiating yourself and standing out as a company, especially on LinkedIn, is imperative.  These 18 tips from Entrepreneur can help!

To get out of the pond and uncover the purple squirrels and white buffalo’s of the tech industry you’ll need to incorporate a referral strategy into your candidate follow-up process.

Why Referral Requests Matter

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. For example, in 2016 I made 28 placements. 11 of them were referrals.

Of all the placements we’ve made in 2016 (so far) 17.85% of them are from referrals – making them our #2 best source. Ben Solomon, Director of Research and Sourcing at Objective Paradigm

Tips on bringing more referral magic to your recruitment strategy:

  • The best time to ask for a referral is after you have already placed the candidate.  
  • 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 that aren’t always on a job board.

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.

Referrals aren’t just for recruiters – if you like a service, spread the word! If you’d like to refer a tech rock-star email me at

Stay connected. Kevin Kluge is a Sr. Recruiter – Salesforce Specialist, at Objective Paradigm. His work with Talution’s Group’s Salesforce Practice has him identifying and placing technology professionals in the Chicago Market. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn here.



  1.  Tech Recruiting Referrals

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