Non-Employee Referrals: An Uncharted Territory

By Tuesday, July 29, 2014 Blog No Comments

Let’s say that the best sales representative from one of your vendors goes bowling every Saturday night with her equally – if not more – successful friends. In between her turns to bowl, she mindlessly scrolls through her Facebook newsfeed on her phone until she sees your status: “My company is looking for an Enterprise Sales Manager in our office in San Francisco. Apply now or message me for more information!”

“Llewyn, check it out!” she exclaims as she smacks her friend’s arm in excitement. “This client of ours is looking for a sales manager. You’d be perfect! Plus you hate your stuffy job, and this place has an awesome culture. I work with them a lot, and they’re all really awesome.”

Just like that, you have a new, highly qualified candidate to move along the recruiting funnel. The best part is this referrer has done part of your job for you. You save money because you may fill the position before having to blast it out to the job boards, and you save time because the referrer has already “sold” your company to this applicant.

Your network consists of many people familiar with its culture, values, and work life…who aren’t employees. Each current employee has many contacts who are not directly working for your company but know the organization well, such as vendors, alumni, and partners. I’m sure you know about the great benefits that come from an excellent employee referral program, but if you’re only looking to your colleagues for referral candidates, you are missing out on a plethora of talent.

Take a step out of the box and build your talent pool using the magic of non-employee referrals. Think about it: Your company’s vendors, alumni employees, and partners have formed a close, personal relationship with a few (or many) of your current colleagues. They have a sense of the corporate culture and can paint a fairly accurate picture of your organization. If you have a strong relationship with these people, they would be an excellent resource for you to utilize when searching for hard-to-fill positions.

Just like a tourist destination, people flow in and out of any given company. Some stay, some leave, some visit multiple times. The residents aren’t the only ones that know the company well. By expanding the reach of your referral program to those who aren’t employees, you are unlocking a much broader network of highly qualified professionals.

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