25 January

The benefits of a top-of-mind referral culture


My thoughts on why you should invest in a top-of-mind referral culture

It will come as news to nobody that acquiring great minds within the tech sector can at times be very difficult. The demand for expertise within the area is humongous, and the selection is… quite limited, which has led to a competition for talent. To counter this, many companies throw a lot of money at hiring researchers in order to scour the common databases for a good skill-fit. I’m not saying that this is a bad move, but before doing that, do consider using resources that you already have – your co-workers.

Many start-ups and smaller companies get started by a couple of friends, bringing in more friends as they keep growing. When the company reaches a certain size though, that stops. They hire an HR-person, or a recruiter, and that person follows standard practice – they go away from personal networks, and onto social networks/databases. They get on LinkedIn, StackOverflow, Github, you name it. They spend many hours looking at external candidates that might fit the role based on previous experiences. Sometimes they get lucky. Sometimes they don’t. It might sound like I have a quarrel with these external databases, I assure you that’s not the case. I love LinkedIn and what it’s done for recruitment & business and I’m on it hours every day. LinkedIn is a great network, but one mustn’t forget that so is your company. Do you know what positions your company is looking to fill right now? If you do, bravo! If not, don’t fret - I don’t think many do.

I believe that many companies stand to gain from including a top-of-mind culture in regard to referral-recruitment. To create an awareness within the company of what positions are open would also open up opportunities for every employee to think of someone from the top of their mind. We all know great people outside of our company that we’d love to work with, but we don’t reach out to them when we have a position that’d fit them, at least not to the extent that we could. Since a company is a gathering of people, it also means that it is a gathering of networks. In order to use this to your advantage, you must raise awareness of your open positions.

So, what raises awareness? What measures need to be made in order to take on an approach like this? It doesn’t have to be big changes that need to be made – maybe a monthly mail about open positions, something mentioning it on TV-screens, or something completely different. Again, the goal is primarily to get people thinking about it, with the end-goal being having the entire company involved in trying to bring great people into the company without extra effort or cost. Incentive-programs can be used in order to strengthen this kind of thinking, but awareness needs to be established before that.

The benefits of hiring someone that you have received as an internal tip are not to be underestimated. You already know they’ve proven something to the referrer in order for them to refer in the first place, the candidates will be more open towards the company when referred from a trusted source, as well as increased likelihood for a cultural fit are some of the benefits of a referred candidate.

Create an eco-system like this, and you will save both money and time. I’m not proclaiming this as the holy grail of recruiting, but implementing a top-of-mind recruitment culture in your company will serve as a complement to your established recruitment processes, and give you further edge in the competition for talent.

Sinan Sabir

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