The best way to get referrals as a recruiter is to obtain as many names as possible from candidates willing to refer you to others in their professional network. Referrals help you tap into the large and valuable pool of passive candidates that don’t respond to traditional sourcing techniques.
Top recruiters are masters at gaining referrals and here are a few of their tips for soliciting 6 – 8 referrals from every candidate:
1. Recruit First, Network Second
Lou Adler, president of the Adler Group and author of Hire with your Head, recommends this technique for sourcing referrals. Adler says contacts are more open to referring other candidates to you if you try to recruit them first. The idea is to build a relationship and once you’ve established a good rapport, connect with them on LinkedIn. If they’re not the right fit for your position, search through their contacts and be proactive about asking them to refer you to the ones that do look like a good fit.
2. Ask the Right Questions
Biron Clark, a technology recruiter and career advice blogger, recommends keeping your questions open ended and being specific about the type of candidate you’d like them to refer you to. The goal, he says, is for them to get a name in their head. For example, “Who is the best Senior Trauma Nurse you’ve ever worked with or reported to?”
3. Keep in touch with your Candidates
Carl Kutsmode, Managing Partner at TalentRISE, recommends staying in touch with your candidate through every step of the placement process. Guiding them through the process to ensure a smooth transition shows them and your client that you are truly a partner and not just looking to make your fee off the placement. A satisfied candidate can be a huge referral source for years to come.
4. Be Someone Worth Knowing (SWK)
Another tip from Adler: Establish yourself as a trusted career advisor who only presents opportunities that are true career moves. If you can become an SWK, highly qualified candidates in your industry will contact you and be waiting for you to have an opportunity for them.
5. View every Cold Call as an Opportunity
Don’t let a single phone call go to waste. Don’t rush to get off the phone just because the person isn’t interested or is not a fit for the position. Keep building the relationship (see tip one), and view that person as a referral source. People are a lot more likely to return your phone call or talk to you in the first place if you mention someone they know. Try and gain 2 or 3 referrals on every phone call. If you can master this, eventually you may not need to cold call at all.
Over 90% of the best candidates find their jobs through networking or a referral from a person they know. The better you are at gaining referrals, the more successful you’ll be at sourcing and placing top talent with your best clients.