Why referrals are powerful job search tools

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In the world of job hunting, employee referrals are often considered the gold standard. The chances of a recruiter or hiring manager seeing your application increase, but they don’t always guarantee you a job.

Employee referrals are essentially endorsements of your skills and your qualifications by a prospective employer. It is usually someone you know at the company, such as an old colleague or former classmate, who offers a referral.

Recruiters and hiring managers can receive a referral as an informal recommendation – when a potential employee simply forwards your name to them. An employee can be rewarded for submitting a referral to a potential employer through a formal program that rewards them for the successful employment of the candidate.

Referral programs have been proven to yield the best recruiting results according to career coach Shelley Piedmont, a former recruiter. The company will hire someone who is culturally compatible. If hired, referred candidates have a greater understanding of the company than other candidates. This supports the belief that they will stay with the company for a long period of time if hired. Applicants with good knowledge of the company are also more likely to get hired.

The positive results of those factors can contribute to a faster hire, which can be very attractive to employers because they can save them time and money.

Top 5 ways to get referrals

What is the best way to get a job referral? Yes, Milton Berle’s words hold the key to this problem: “If opportunity won’t knock, build a door.”. Your resume can be considered for a job search if the hiring manager receives a recommendation from a colleague.

  1. Reach out to friends and family
  2. Leverage social media
  3. Expand in-person search
  4. Volunteer or work as an intern
  5. Cold emails

What a referral can do for you?

Piedmont asserted, “The referred person is privy to some of the insider information. She said candidates who were referred got priority when she was in charge of talent acquisition at one company.

According to her, the applicant should be prepared to have their resume reviewed. This is the expectation. When there are hundreds of applicants for a job. There is a hierarchy of people that recruiters will consider. You’ll usually go to the top of the list if you are referred.

The importance of referrals does not guarantee an interview, because a good candidate for a job will still be evaluated.

It is sometimes not wise to ignore referrals.  You may have to wait for a while for the recruiter to scan your information. You may get more time to work on your resume. Perhaps more follow-up is needed if there are any questions. You don’t necessarily have a chance to get the job.”

Why you should always be networking

The referral process at a company can be as informal as an endorsement or it can be a formal process. If you want to get hired, a former employer must somehow vouch for you.

In some instances, employees actively search for people to refer to their companies to fill positions that are available. Employees are more likely to refer friends and colleagues to organizations that offer financial incentives.

Being consistent in your engagement with your network is crucial for job seekers. Having a network will increase your chances of getting a Job referral for an open position matching your interests and skills.

How can you get referrals?

The majority of employees do not reach out to their networks about job openings. Make sure you connect the dots yourself by doing the extra work.

To be proactive, you need to identify where you might like to work and find out who you know there. There are various platforms such as LinkedIn that can help you make some connections, but you shouldn’t forget other places such as alumni networks and professional organizations.

In order to build a job referral at a company you are interested in, you need to start by networking in order to find a connection. An informational interview can be arranged with someone in the department where you wish to work. Having someone from a shared network is your best option. A person with similar professions, education, or acquaintances tend to do well together.

Wait for the right time

It’s unlikely you’ll get a job referral from the person until after you’ve asked for it. This makes the last approach tricky. In the preliminary stages of a professional relationship, asking a person about referrals might ruin it. Some people will feel fine about it at first, but the majority will feel apprehensive. It would be better for you to build that relationship first before even asking for that referral.

Relationship building is important, as those who refer you for a job opening often put some of their personal capital on the line by endorsing you and your abilities. Experts refer people to each other because they know the individual and believe they would be a good fit. If the person they referred ends up being unreliable or unqualified for the job, their reputation might be damaged.


With your newfound knowledge of job referrals, you can now focus on expanding your network and establishing professional relationships in order to increase your chances of finding a good position.

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