Corporate Eye

Referrals: The New Word-of-Mouth

One sourcing strategy which companies should focus on is their referral program. Often, applicants find out about a job opening by word-of-mouth: news spreads, and more and more people are talking about the company or the job vacancy. This is effective, especially if you think about the company’s reputation.

This has evolved into “referrals” which means particular individuals or groups intentionally and knowingly telling or asking people to apply for that company or job. There are a lot of ways that the referral strategy has evolved. Here are some examples:

  • Refer a Friend, Win a Prize – As the title suggests, referring friends and acquaintances for different job openings could actually earn you a reward of some sort. This is really effective especially for companies who are in constant “mass hiring” like the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.
  • Social Networking sites – Of course, online jobsites have an impact on recruitment for companies but social networking is slowly making its way to the top. One example of such is Techtribe which is a very big hit in India. I wouldn’t be very surprised if Myspace or Facebook could be one of the tools used for finding suitable candidates.

I personally consider referrals the “most honest” way that applicants could learn about the company because their sources are also the employees who have been working there and have experienced the work and culture of the company on a first-hand basis. In fact, big companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, IBM and Intel Corporation  recognize the importance of referrals as their primary sourcing bin and give generous rewards to their employees.

Of course, the benefits or rewards for this recruitment strategy could be in cash or in other non-monetary means. This is a great chance for the HR Department to brainstorm and remember, referring needs more than just rewards — it should be an over-all package.

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