Employee Referral Best Practices

If you are responsible for your company’s hiring process, then you are already well aware of the benefits associated with a successful employee referral program. The truth is, employee referrals are highly coveted for all the right reasons. The problem is that we’ve all gotten so excited about using technology, many organizations have lost track of the most important aspect, the actual person to person referral.

Even though 88% of employers rated employee referrals as the best source for return on new hire investment, less than 10% of employers feel they have a best-in-class employee referral program.

Questions to ask about your current or future employee referral program:

  • How will my team make referrals?
  • What kind of bonus system makes the most sense?
  • How do we track referral bonuses?
  • When do we communicate opportunities to current employees?
  • Where do we manage employee referrals?

Promote, promote, promote!
Most employees will not actively seek out your referral program. It is up to your talent acquisition and HR teams to keep employee referrals top of mind for everyone.

  • Hang posters in common areas
  • Send reminder emails
  • Hold monthly contests
  • Include in new hire orientation
  • Identify top priority openings; offer additional incentive

Keep it simple
Avoid complicated candidate qualification and submission processes. To maximize employee engagement, your employee referral program should include as few rules as possible.

  • Get rid of the email system requiring a referral
  • Make it easy for your HR team to track and pay referral bonuses.
  • Don’t over-complicate the referral requirements by including long qualification periods and tiered payouts.

Get mobile friendly
According to CNN the average American spends 10 hours a day looking at screens, and it’s long been known that mobile devices are delivering half or more of all internet traffic. It’s time to get rid of the pen and paper employee referral forms and focus on mobile capable solutions.

  • A mobile-ready employee referral platform enables your entire employee base to act as recruiters when and where the opportunity arises.
  • A mobile app enables 24×7 employee referrals and greatly increases the chances of reaching and recruiting passive candidates.

Integrate social media
Extend your recruiting reach by making it easy for employees to share jobs via the most popular social media channels.

  • Sharing a job with a peer is not the same thing as simply pasting a job opening onto social profiles.

Keep Current Employees a Priority
When creating your referral program, are you keeping your employees front and center? Don’t adopt new talent acquisition technology and techniques that streamline the backend process but leave a messy user experience for your team. That is, if you actually want them to use it.

  • Many of today’s employee referral programs are so automated that they are essentially keyword matching engines. Even worse, most of these platforms rely on employees granting employer access for the ability to broadcast jobs onto the social network.
  • The results of a recent Twitter poll very very clear.







  • A digital employee referral program must be employee driven and not so automated that no real referral is being made.

Know your metrics
Do you want to attract more candidates than anyone else in your field? Or would you rather bring in more high-quality, long-lasting employees?

  • Employee referral programs are known to deliver the highest quality candidate but if you want the largest quantities of resumes possible, you might be better off running those expensive ads on LinkedIn or Indeed.

Culture & Engagement
The root cause of many failed employee referral programs is not failure of the referral process, but rather the failure to build and nurture an inviting company culture. A referral program relies on trust and engagement with your brand. If your current team of employees is not engaged and excited about working, then chances are that they won’t want to refer their friends.

Schedule your demo today!