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The Power of a Referral


A recent example reminded me of the amazing power of a referral in a job search. When it works as it should, nothing comes close to making for a better hiring experience for a job seeker!

Hiring a new employee is one of the hardest things for an employer...

A great hire can have an immeasurable positive impact on a team and on an organizations success.

A poor hire can sour a team, set back progress, and have a tremendous cost in time and money that can be damaging for everyone involved.

Employers are always looking for ways to reduce the risk in the hiring process, and one of the best ways is through referrals!

A referred candidate gives an employer confidence!

When a candidate comes through an online submission or random application, nothing is known about that person except for what they have in their resume, or what they say about themselves on LinkedIn or other form. The problem is, anyone can say anything they want about themselves, whether it’s true or not. And people do say all kinds of things about themselves, even if it’s not true. Studies consistently show that a very high percentage of resumes have false information.

When a trusted colleague, employee, friend, or acquaintance refers someone they know and speaks well of them, it gives an employer a great deal of confidence about the candidates that they wouldn’t have otherwise. A testimonial makes the candidate “known” rather than only a piece of data that came across their desk.

An interview is premised on trust rather than skepticism

When a referred candidate comes in for an interview, it begins much warmer and from a basis of trust. Compared to an unknown candidate that is generally met with a skepticism to determine whether they are who they really say they are.

The referred candidate begins with credibility, since someone the employer knows already said they are competent, exceptional in some way, or at least a credible and worthwhile for consideration. Their credentials are confirmed, and the uncertainty about the claims on their resume are put to rest. The interview then often is more focused on how the candidate can best fit into the role rather than examining whether they actually have the skills and experienced claimed on the resume.

The candidate can speak with greater credibility

The candidate can have greater confidence when they talk about their background, because when they describe what they’ve done and accomplished it’s backed up by the acquaintance that referred them. They don’t have to be as concerned about being credible, when they know that they and the employer have a mutual contact that can confirm what they claim. The candidate can be more assured than someone that is coming in to an interview cold, and that gives them a tremendous advantage compared to others interviewing for the same position.

It actually works in practice…

A recent example showed how this actually plays out in the real world. Someone was referred by two different people for a position at a large organization that had been trying to fill a difficult role. The resume of the candidate didn’t clearly show a direct fit, however, both referrers spoke very highly of the persons character, integrity, strengths, previous experience, professionalism, and abilities. Based on what they heard, the employer decided to interview the person even though they wouldn’t have asked them in based on the resume alone.

The interview was warm and friendly and began with a great deal of trust and interest. Because of the referrals, the employer wanted it to work since they’ve been disappointed with previous candidates they’ve met. The discussion became much more about how they could best be successful in the organization rather than digging deep to determine whether the person was a fit or not. The process was a great success for both the employer and the candidate because of the power of a referral!

It’s not always possible to find someone to refer you for a position you’d like to pursue, however, taking the time and effort to dig to find mutual connections will almost always be worth the trouble. LinkedIn can be an obvious goldmine to assist in the hunt!

Put in all the effort you can to take advantage of the power of the referral and your job search will benefit greatly!


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely true. Yet I find it ironic... with the power of a referral in reducing risk to the company, companies are squeezing managers (and employees in general) harder and harder - not giving them time to cultivate the relationships that would enable them to meet people and vet them prior to recommending them.


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