In 5 Steps: Be 5 Times More Likely to Get Hired

referralBeing recommended to the employer by a current employee is often the best – and fastest – way to a new job. Known as a “referral,” a referred candidate is five times more likely to be hired than a candidate who was not referred.

The best part? Everyone usually wins in the referral process! You get a new job, the employer gets an employee likely to succeed, and the employee who does the referral receives a financial reward from the employer.

Getting referred for a job is not necessarily uncomplicated or easy, however; especially if — when you start — you have no contacts to refer you to the employer. Here, in five steps, is how to become a referral at the companies you want to work for:

1. Target Your Best Employers

If friends or family members work for employers which seem to be good places to work (ask if you don’t know), start there.

Even if you don’t know anyone who works for an employer you’d like to work for, use sites like LinkedIn or ask your friends and family members if they know people who work for those employers.

2. Research Your Target Employers’ Employee Referral Programs

Do any of those employers have people working there, doing what you want to do? If they have jobs you might want — currently open or not — look for information about possible employee referral programs.

You want to know the program’s rules (they can differ dramatically from employer to employer):

  • Does the job you want qualify for the ERP?
  • When does the referral happen — before or after you apply?
  • Who can and cannot refer a job candidate?
  • How big is the reward for the employee who does the referral?

Many employers make the information about their ERP visible to the public on their website. Others keep the information private.

Even if you can’t find out about the ERP on the employer’s website, move on to the next step.

3. Connect with People at Your Target Employers

Connect with employees at those target employers to see if they are interested in referring you.

Hopefully, friends and family members are happy to refer you. Often people you don’t know well  (or at all) are happy to refer you, too, because of the financial reward as well as the opportunity to help both you and their employer.

If information about the employer’s ERP is not public, ask the employee to look for documentation about the process and the rules for that employer’s program.

Exchange the information needed for the program’s process (more below).

4. Monitor the Jobs at Your Target Employers

Hopefully, the jobs are posted on the employer’s website. You may be able to set up an “alert” to receive email when jobs are posted — either at the employer’s website, a site like, or a job board.

In some cases, the employee may have access to job postings before the opportunities are made public on the employer’s website, Indeed, or a job board.

5. When the Right Job Is Available, Follow the ERP Process to Apply

Employee referral programs typically reward employees for referring someone outside the organization who is hired for a job. When/if that person is hired and performs acceptably in the job for at least 90 days (usually), the referring employee usually receives a financial reward.

The reward paid to the employee can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, so employees are usually interested in finding good candidates to refer.

The best time to find someone to refer you is before you have applied for the job!

Referral programs typically have rules about when and how the employee earns the referral fee. So, checking the ERP rules on the employer’s website — if you can — before you reach out to an employee is a very smart idea.

Life is never simple these days. Be sure to understand the rules each employer has for their ERP program… so you can become that referred candidate!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!




Susan P Joyce AuthorAbout the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoachCafe.  A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan also edits and publishes, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPostAOL Jobs, and LinkedIn.  Follow Susan on Twitter (@jobhuntorg) and on Google+.



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