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It’s the time of the year to give thanks. We want to give credit where credit is due. In recruiting, employee referrals are pretty awesome for a bunch of reasons. So we are joining hands, going around the table, listing the reasons we’re thankful for referrals.

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Your employee referral program shouldn’t be scary. It’s one of the most valuable pieces of your candidate pipeline. If not one of the highest converting sources of hiring at your company. Everyone loves referrals and people love making them… until someone starts getting spooked.

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Think about it. Referrals happen everywhere. As the recruiter in the office, you’re being sent referrals over email, text, Slack, in person (like you’ll be able to remember the conversation) and there’s even a stack of referred resumes on your desk. The amount of time it takes to sort through and appropriately catalog referrals is frankly not worth the fuss.

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Do you ever hear a term thrown around and think to yourself what does that mean? Maybe that’s a thought you had when you hear Drafted talk about Referral Networks. Let’s start in a place you might be more familiar with and that’s the fact that referrals make the best hires.

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Employee referrals are known to result in more efficient hiring. U.S. companies hire 29 percent of their workforce through referrals—and at least 88 percent of employers love employee referrals. At companies like Ernst & Young, referrals can account for up to 45 percent of non-entry level hires, according to The New York Times.

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Hubspot, the inbound marketing and sales software for social media marketing, content management, web analytics and search engine optimization, has one of the best employee referral programs in the industry. Devon Brown, Recruiting Manager at Hubspot, is one of the secret forces behind this success.

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When it comes to hiring, timing is everything. How many stories have you heard about the right person getting hired because they were in the right place at the right time? Or even more common, the right person was referred at the right time. Finding and sending referrals isn’t always the clearest and easiest process for people. And the only way to start getting a consistent flow of referrals is by making the process as easy as possible. Follow these 3 steps to simplify your referral hiring.

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Referral parties tend to go something like this… A department of 20-30 people hangs around the office for a couple of extra hours to be fed pizza by the talent team. While eating a slice of pie they search through their LinkedIn connections to find some people that they can refer. Referrals are found, maybe even contacted, and recorded in an ATS, spreadsheet, or hopefully somewhere.

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Everyone involved here knows perfectly well that the people on a reference list are expecting your call, and they’re probably prepared to sing the candidate praises. So if you already know exactly how this conversation is going to go, why bother picking up the phone? The truth is, reference checks can be extremely valuable.