Earlier this year, we launched referralprograms.org as a free community resource to share data about referral programs. (Here’s a link to the announcement) Based on community contributions and other publicly available data, we surveyed 145 companies to create a benchmarking report for referral programs. We’re kind of obsessed with referrals…
Yes, you read that right.
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.
Believe it or not, Devon herself was a Hubspot referral. She sat down for an interview with Drafted to talk about Hubspot’s referral program and how it’s helping her teams’ overall hiring goals.
Watch the full interview here.
Referral Program by the Numbers
Over the past 2 years, Hubspot has received 15,000 employee referrals. Let me repeat that number. Fifteen thousand, making up 8% of their total applicant pool. From those referrals, 40-60% of them were hired. (The current workforce average for referral hires is 29%.)
It’s a very small percentage of our total applicants that come to Hubspot and a very high percentage of the candidates we end up hiring.
Getting quality referrals is helping Devon and her team save valuable time hiring and ramping candidates. At public company scale, the time you save during the hiring process really adds up. What’s even better is knowing that when you hire a referral, they’re going to stick around for a while, saving more time in the long run.
If we’re thinking about the quality and stickiness of employees that end up staying and being happy at Hubspot, the referrals make a huge impact.
These numbers are exceeding the national average for referral programs and you can compare them to the Referral Programs Benchmark report to learn more about referral program statistics.
Quality and Diverse Referrals
Hubspot doesn’t measure the success of their referral program exclusively by the number of referrals they’re getting. Yes, 15k is a lot and roughly half of those are getting hired at Hubspot which is a good indication that they are doing something right.
Staying focused on quality of referral keeps referrals a relevant hiring strategy and saves valuable time on the hiring teams’ end.
The clear strengths of referrals lie within their speed to get through the recruiting funnel, quality of hire, and retention. But Devon and her team also understand the importance of evaluating the cons to help them fine-tune their referral program to meet their needs.
Unfortunately, one of the cons for referrals is they tend to create a more homogenous environment because if you’re referring people who went to the same college as you or worked at your previous company the chances of you having a similar background are very high.
Diversity of your workplace and referral programs weighs on hiring teams. How do you build your referral program without discouraging people from referring their friends?
Hubspot sets the tone of their referral program from day one. They incorporate guidelines for making referrals during their training academy for new hires.
We’re making sure we’re enabling employees to refer people from diverse backgrounds that maybe wouldn’t be top-of-mind for them.
Other companies encouraging diverse referrals include Pinterest and Intel. Pinterest believes in finding diverse candidates through proactive targeted referrals while Intel doubled their referral bonus for referring women and minorities.
Encouraging and Training Great Referrers
Educating employees about the referral program should start from the moment they set foot in the office. One of the most impactful ways to help your company, outside of your day to day role, is through the hiring process.
First and foremost, we do a new hire presentation about building a welcoming culture at Hubspot and part of that is focused on referrals. Not only how to refer someone but actually how to look navigate your network to be able to do that.
It’s not just about asking people to make referrals, it’s about showing them how to. Clarity helps them break down a lot of barriers that would otherwise keep them from referring really great people.
People are completely flabbergasted by the number of connections that they have.
Hubspot is helping their employees look past their top of mind referrals and find other great connections that they may have forgotten about.
They’ve gone a step further from just setting up a referral program to incorporating it into the culture of their workforce. By setting expectations, creating guidelines, and teaching best practices they are training the best referrers in the game.
Hubspot is constantly evolving and enhancing their referral program to help hit their hiring goals. Today it’s not just about getting thousands of referrals, it’s about getting great, relevant, and diverse referrals no matter how many it adds up to.