Ask Achievers: How do I get started with employee referrals?

This week’s reader question goes to Kate Pope, our Manager of Talent Acquisition. As our resident expert on all things recruitment, she shares her advice for getting the most out of employee referrals.

Dear Achievers,

I really want to encourage employee referrals at my company, but I’m not sure where to start. What’s the first step? Is it going to be a lot of work (and if so, is it really worth the effort)? It seems intuitively like a good idea, but I need metrics to convince my boss. Help!

– Really Excited For Employee Referrals


I wish people would ask this question more often, because our employee referral program is one of the most valuable tools in our arsenal. Did you know that referred employees cost about 10x less to hire, tend to stay with the organization longer, and are actually 25 percent more profitable than their peers? I’d hire everyone by referral if I could!

If you’re just starting out, your first step should be to define your employee value proposition. Once you know what you’re offering, it gets a lot easier to recruit (and retain) top talent. After that, set a measurable goal for success. You can’t realistically hire 100 percent of candidates by referral, so decide what’s manageable for you and figure out how to track your progress. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to choose a project leader, decide how to incentivize your employees for participation, and spread the word.

Of course, this is just a broad overview. For a more detailed description, metrics to show your boss, or case studies to read for inspiration, I recommend checking out our new e-book, The ultimate guide to employee referrals. It’s a quick read and a great resource, especially if you’re just starting out.

Got a question for us? Send it to with the subject line “Ask Achievers.” Then be sure to check the next issue of [engage] to see if yours was chosen!

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