7 Steps for Growing Your Business with More Recruitment Referrals

A solid recruitment referral is like the Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka for recruiters. There’s almost no way to overstate its value and importance to search consultants and headhunters.

In Top Echelon’s 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Repot, recruiters pointed to referrals as one of their top ways to market themselves and their services. It also represented one of the number-one methods of candidate sourcing to fill their clients’ job orders. But before we go too far . . . what is a recruitment referral?

What is a recruitment referral?

There are a couple different types of recruitment referrals. The first type refers (no pun intended) to a situation in which an internal recruiter, corporate recruiter, or HR representative receives a referral for an open position from a current employee of the company or organization. In that situation, the employee who provided the referral sometimes receives a referral bonus if the person who they referred actually becomes an employee. That referral bonus can range anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more.

However, that’s not the type of recruitment referral that we’ll be addressing in this particular blog post. No, we’ll be addressing the type that involves an independent, third-party recruiter attempting to fill one of their client’s job orders. In this instance, a recruitment referral is a situation in which a recruiter reaches out to a professional about an employment opportunity, and that professional refers somebody else for the position. This somebody else is typically a friend, co-worker, or colleague.

Does the professional who provided the referral receive a referral fee or bonus for their effort? Usually not. However, the recruiter in question does remember that the person helped them make a placement. That is an excellent way for a professional to get on a recruiter’s “radar,” so they’re more likely and willing to help the professional find a better employment opportunity in the future. (You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.)

But how can you grow your business with recruitment referrals? To help us answer this question, we’re going to draw upon the wisdom of recruiting industry trainer Gary Stauble. Gary is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists firm owners and solo recruiters in generating more profit in less time.

According to Stauble, referrals are by far the best way to find top talent and separate yourself from the weaker recruiters who simply troll job boards. Your ability to tap your network for recruiting referrals gives you impressive credibility when selling your services. This also increases your confidence in the value that you can provide.

Recruiting referrals create instant trust with the referred candidate and therefore shrink the process of having to sell yourself. Referred candidates tend to be more open with recruiters and less evasive. Referrals are also highly targeted, as they come from direct communication with someone in the field.

The benefits of recruiting referrals

Benefits for the person who refers—Do people really benefit from referring candidates to you? The answer is yes, in some small ways they do. First, they feel good about being able to help connect people whom they respect. Second, it lets them know that they are a person “in the know.” Finally, they will likely get better treatment from you if they refer quality people to you.

Benefits to the referred candidate—Talking about your career with a stranger can be an intimidating process. When the candidate realizes that you have been referred to them by a trusted friend or co-worker, they feel safer. Their anxiety drops and they open up about what they really want in their next move. Being referred also saves them time in evaluating different recruiters to work with. A referral will become attuned to your candidate relationship management process in less time than a candidate from cold outreach.

Plant referral seeds—The key to getting recruiting referrals is to make their acquisition a daily process in your office. You can plant referral seeds in many subtle ways. For instance, you can add a signature line to your email such as:

According to Stauble, Another example of an easy method for getting recruiting referrals is to send a card to thank your clients just for being a client. Send it out of the blue for no apparent reason. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to refer.

Recruitment referral script

Below are the seven steps in the referral conversation:

  1. Make it part of your recruitment process; plan to ask on a specific call. If you keep an email workflow in your recruiting software, consider including your recruiting referrals ask.
  2. Remind the person how you met: “We’ve been working together for two months. How did you first hear about me?” Reinforces referral value if they themselves were referred to you.
  3. Ask a value seeking question: “What has been the benefit of working with me?”
  4. Ask for help and advice: “I’m glad that you’ve gotten value. Can I ask for your help and advice on something?”
  5. Ask for the referral: “Who do you know who may appreciate the same type of relationship?”
  6. Help them by getting specific: “I believe you may know several programmers from your last position at Oracle . . .”
  7. Move from lead to referral: “Would you mind sending Tom an email before I give him a call?”

Top Echelon’s Recruiter Training Library

Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library. These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.

Gary Stauble has two videos in the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Library. These videos are listed below. Click on the title of each video for access:

In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers other recruitment solutions. These solutions include the following:

For more information about Top Echelon and the products and services that it offers, visit the Top Echelon website by clicking here.

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