Monday, August 11, 2008

What does your company offer you for a referral?

When I talk to people who are looking for a job I always tell them the number one way to most of your best positions is through networking.

According to Roberta Chinsky Matuson in her article entitled, Networking 101 on, a leading career website,
A vast number of job openings never make it to the newspaper or job boards.
These positions are often referred to as the "hidden job market." Candidates
find out about these positions through word of mouth. The higher up the ladder
you go, the more likely a position will be filled this way.
And since recruiting is one of my key responsibilites at Bulldog Solutions I network in various locations always keeping my eyes open for a potential recruit.

When I joined Bulldog Solutions in March of 2006 I was recruited by our Vice President of Strategic Accounts, Heather Hoetger. She and I had worked together at CyberTrader, now a fully owned entity of Charles Schwab, as HR Managers. Since she knew that Bulldog was looking to hire their first HR manager and she knew that I was in the job market and had experience working with me, she contacted me and well the rest is history. What I found in joining Bulldog Solutions is that most of the people in our company were recruited simply from our own networks and that we'd recruited just about everyone that we knew to fill what positions we had. So my next task . . . find new blood.

Which we did and over the last two years we've been recruiting through a variety of sources and while we've continued to hire referrals there hasn't been a big push to really hone in on each others networks. Until now . . .

We are looking at starting an employee referral program and I thought I'd reach out to YOU! If your company has an employee referral program would you mind sharing how it works here on my blog. We're looking for both its successes and pitfalls.

Oh, and by the way . . . if you're looking for a job in the Austin, Texas area be sure to stop by our Career page and if you don't see something of interest that's okay too. Sign up to be part of our Kennel Club where we'll keep you abreast of positions as they become available.


James V Reagan said...

Hi Kim,

The last three companies I've worked for all paid cash for referrals that were hired. Microsoft's is $1k, Amazon's $3k, and I believe Whirlpool's was $1k.

Amazon's approach makes it very clear they value referrals for people to clear their high hiring bar.

All of the above allow you to refer to a specific position or to submit into the "generic pool."

Kim Haynes said...

Great insight. Thanks for sharing, James.

Robbie C said...


When I was at Trilogy Software here in Austin, they offered $5K referral bonus for any referrals that were hired.

And you got the full bonus as soon as the person started...not pro-rated, and not contingent on that person working there for a specified amount of time.

At my current company (Advanced Tactical Systems) we are offered $500 for non-security clearance jobs and $1000 for jobs that do require a security clearance.

The first 50% of the bonus is paid after the new hire has been employed at the company for 3 months, and the remainder is paid at 6 months.

Roberta said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks for referencing me in your article. Just to clear the record...I'm a she, not a he!


Kim Haynes said...

Whoops! Thanks for reading it and editing it, Roberta. ;-) It's been corrected.

Erin said...

Hi Kim!

I set up a program at the last company I worked for. We gave $300 for entry level, $1K for Mid-level and, $5k for Forman/Mgmt/Exec level.

Pay out for referral was 33.3% at hire, at 30 days, and at 60 if new hire worked out.

We found some great people this way! Good luck.

Kim Haynes said...

Great ideas! Thanks, Erin!

Tim Wilson said...

The last company I worked for had an occasional $1,500 referral bonus for certain positions at certain times. The bonus did not get paid out until 3 (or maybe 6?) months after the person joined the company. I actually wound up getting that referral bonus on one the employee was a bit of a bust. I recommended him with a qualifier that I didn't know him that well and was very up front about that.

I referred a number of other people over the years, some who got hired and some who did not. I was picky about who I referred -- both who the person was *and* where in the company they'd be working. I (and the company) had much better success with my referrals that way.

I tend to view referral bonuses with some suspicion. If you have to pay your employees to get them to refer good people, why? Don't most people want to work with the best and the brightest in a great environment? If they're not recommending someone who would be a fit without being paid to do it, I'd wager that, often enough, it's for one of two reasons: 1) the person isn't a true rock star that the referrer would be thrilled to work with, or 2) the company's not that great of a place to work.