Leading the Way to a Winning Employee Referral Program

Leads present an excellent opportunity for corporate recruiters to garner more qualified candidates via their employee referral programs. Permitting employees to do their own initial qualifications and refer a name and contact details without a resume opens the door to a wider group of top talent who don’t necessarily have updated CV’s ready and available to submit.

However, many corporate recruiters hesitant to dive in and forego resumes at the referral stage. Reasons run from the belief that a lead simply doesn’t contain enough information to vet potential candidates, to the allegiance an age when all referrals required a resume – “it’s tradition, so why change?”

Well, there are a few reasons why corporate recruiters should embrace leads:

1) Employee referrals are widely acknowledged as a great source for best-in-class talent – in both quality and quantity. Therefore, even a referral without a resume should be considered. Why? Employees have prequalified them, using their personal and professional familiarity of the lead, and their knowledge of what it takes to work at the company. Furthermore, they have their own reputations to uphold and wouldn’t intentionally recommend someone they didn’t believe was qualified.

2) Passive candidates, who are not actively looking and applying for jobs left and right, do not necessarily have updated resumes saved in their files. While they may be open to new opportunities, and therefore amenable to hear about your open positions and come in for an interview, they won’t always have their resumes ready to go.

Requiring a resume as a prerequisite can very well turn off these browsing candidates from applying altogether. The time it takes to update a resume and then pass it on to the referring employee could be enough to make the potential candidate think twice about preparing it, or not bother at all. So by requiring this extra bit of information that might not be readily available, good potential candidates could slip through your fingers.

3) Furthermore, for potential candidates, talking about a new job prospect is one thing – actually taking proactive steps towards it is another. Sending a resume is one of those steps. On the flipside, simply mentioning to a referring employee that they would be interested in hearing more about the position puts the ball in the company’s court – whether or not the company follows up on the employee’s referral and contacts the potential candidate is up to them.


By accepting leads, corporate recruiters increase their chances of finding top referrals – especially for hard-to-fill jobs when a good lead is a welcome contribution. They have the opportunity to engage with passive candidates before competing companies. Plus, remember that with the immense proliferation of public profiles on social media sites, it is possible to supplement leads with searches (something that the majority of corporate recruiters do even when they do have referrals’ resumes).

Food for thought: since leads are just as relevant as referrals with resumes, employees who provide them should be also be recognized and thanked. GooodJob’s Employee Referral Platform takes this approach, enabling corporate recruiters to reward employees for referrals and leads.

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