How to set up a successful employee referral program with Workable

Posting to multiple job boards can provide the candidates you need, but sometimes the best person for the job is already in your network. Employee referrals are among the top sources of hire and benefit companies in many ways: referred candidates get hired more quickly and stay longer in their positions.

To reap those benefits, it’s useful to have an employee referral program in place where:

  • Your hiring team informs current staff about open roles through formal methods and not unofficially or via word-of-mouth.
  • Employees can quickly submit their referrals even if they don’t have all candidate information in hand (e.g. their resumes.)
  • You’re able to track employee rewards and the effectiveness of your referral program.

Workable helps you set up and manage a successful employee referral program. Here’s how:

Ask employees for referrals

Requesting referrals from your internal teams through Workable is simple and quick. Workable provides a pre-written but editable employee referral email template that you can send to everyone in your company or specific employees. This pre-written email contains placeholders that will be automatically filled with the job title and your own name:

alt text: How to ask for candidate referrals in Workable

Send this email as is, or add a completely personalized message with further details, like any referral bonuses you offer.

The email will direct your co-workers to the referral page where they can search for the candidates they have in mind and refer them quickly and easily.

Refer a candidate

Workable offers a way for your employees to refer candidates without having to send emails to recruiters or manually upload resumes. Instead, employees can log into Workable to search for profiles of people in their network with just a name or email address and add them directly to Workable for any open position. Here’s how it works:

1. Log in to your Workable account – whether you’re part of the hiring team or not – and locate the job you want to refer a candidate for. Hover over the job title to reveal the job options. Click “Refer candidate.”

Refer candidate button in Workable

2. Search for the candidate you want to refer using their name or email address:

Search for candidate to refer in Workable

Using this basic information, Workable’s sourcing tool, People Search, searches millions of social and professional networks, organizing the relevant data into a single candidate profile. This profile will include information like resumes, location, photos and contact details, as well as links to candidates open social profiles. You can filter the search results by location, education or company. If more than one profile appears, select the right one:

Refer candidates for a specific role in Workable

3. Finalize your referral. In case you find one or more details (e.g. title, contact info) are out of date, update them before referring the candidate. Also, you can add a comment explaining why they’re the perfect fit for the job and click “Refer.”

alt text: Update candidate job title and contact information for employee referral in Workable

With this easy 3-step process, employees can refer candidates without the need to source and upload resume details or compose emails. Once they make a referral, the referred candidate will be automatically added to the recruiting pipeline and the employee will be listed as the referrer on their profile inside Workable. There’s no data entry and no hassle.

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Track employee referrals

When a referral is made using Workable, the system keeps track of the source of the candidate. Workable will use this data to compile useful reports that help you monitor the effectiveness of your referral program and set up reward incentives for those employees who referred your new hires.

There are two of Workable’s reports that’ll come handy when reviewing your referral process:

Candidate Sources Report: This report helps you compare the number of referred candidates with the total number of candidates. This way, you can determine whether referrals bring you quality hires and invest more of your recruiting budget in your referral program.

In the following hypothetical scenario, we take a look at the Candidate Sources Report for Finance roles during the previous month. Here are the findings:

  • There were 75 candidates in total.
  • Two of the candidates came from referrals (the rest came from other recruiting channels, including job boards, careers page and social media.)
  • Both referred candidates were moved to the next hiring stage (e.g. interview) along with 14 more candidates.
  • One of the referred candidates was hired.

Employee referrals in candidate source report in Workable

This shows that your referred candidates were qualified enough to move to the interview stage and one of them was the most qualified of all candidates. If this trend is consistent over time, it’s a good indicator that your referral program works well.

Referrals report: For a more detailed analysis of your referral process, use the Referral report. This report shows:

  • Names of referred candidates.
  • The position for which candidates were referred.
  • Names of referrers.
  • The current stage of the referred candidates.
  • Whether they’re disqualified or not.
  • Date and time of the referral.

Employee referrals report in Workable

Use this information to build an employee referral bonus program by rewarding those who refer the most qualified candidates. For example, you may decide to give a referral bonus to all those who referred candidates who were either hired or disqualified at an advanced hiring stage.

If you’re on the Workable Pro plan, you may find our integration with Preferhired useful. Preferhired is a platform where you can post your open jobs and manage referrals from your internal teams and external network. Learn more about how to set up and use Preferhired with your Workable account.

For more resources around referrals, check out our sample employee referral policy and our guides on how to build effective referral programs and how to manage referral bonuses.

Christina Pavlou contributed to this article. 

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Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta Bika is a senior writer at Workable and holds an MSc in HR. She writes about all things HR and recruiting, with a particular interest in bias, data, technology and the future of work. She hates meaningless jargon and dreams about space travel. She tweets @Nikoletta_Bika.

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