Lou Adler, CEO and founder of the training and search firm The Adler Group, developed what is known as the 20:40:40 rule. This rule states that 40% of recruiter submittals should come from networked referrals. The reason for this is the talent in these referral pools will be highly transferable to openings within your company, and the prospects are much more likely to return your correspondence. Adler’s data shows that you can increase your productivity (interview to hire ratio) up to 10 times just by reaching out to the most qualified referrals in your network and mentioning the referrer’s name.

Creative Ideas to Boost Referrals
In Laszlo Bock’s book “Work Rules! Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead,” he mentions that Google nudges employees to get more referrals by reminding them about specific open positions and encouraging workers to comb through their networks for someone who might be a good fit. For example, Bock says Google asks employees questions like, “Who is the best finance person you ever worked for?” or, “Do you know a great salesperson in New York?” By being very specific, employees are much more likely to think of someone and refer them.

Bock also mentions that Google holds “sourcing jams” where a group of roughly 25 Google employees comb through their LinkedIn and Facebook contacts with recruiters on standby. If an employee comes across anyone they think is a good fit, a recruiter immediately contacts them.

MuleSoft, a fast-growing integration solutions company, expanded on the sourcing jams approach and implemented what they call “hire-a-thons,” where they actually shut down operations for a half or even full day depending on their current needs. The company treats these hire-a-thons like a competition, dividing employees across divisions into teams led by an executive. The rules of the hire-a-thons are:

  1. Each group is given a list of open requisitions that they will source by scouring their professional networks
  2. Each team creates a column for “other” candidates. These are people who are great skills/cultural fits, but don’t match the specific requisition assigned to the team. These individuals essentially create a rich candidate pipeline.
  3. Points are given for internal referrals (50 points), external referrals (25 points) and bonus points (50 points) for scheduling qualified candidates directly onto recruiters’ calendars during the hire-a-thon.
  4. The team with the most points wins a prize.
  5. The employee who brings in the highest number of employees as a result of the hire-a-thon (judged at the 90-day mark) wins an award of MuleSoft equity.
  6. As an added perk, employees can eat as much free pizza as they want during the hire-a-thon.

Leveraging Your Alumni Networks
You can take your referral network to another level by staying engaged with your company’s alumni. With lifetime employment at one company becoming more and more a thing of the past, employees who leave for a growth opportunity elsewhere could eventually come back, or may know someone in the field whom they can refer to you. One reason for this is the skills required to fill roles in specialized industries are often shared by friends and old colleagues of that industry’s workers.

Industries that hire the most from their employee networks.
Source: Peter Rigano, LinkedIn, Industries Where Your Network Matters More Than You Think

According to Peter Rigano’s study, visualized in the graphic above, you can see that highly technical industries hire a significant percentage of individuals within their alumni networks. For some companies across these more technical industries, the number of new hires connected to employees was over 60%. Keep this in mind as you continuously work to improve your interview to hire ratio.

Does this data ring true to your experience? I’d love for you to share your thoughts. Message me at @Phil_Recruiter on Twitter.


Post contributed by Phil Schumacher. Connect with Phil on LinkedIn or Twitter @Phil_Recruiter.