20 Examples of External or Non-Employee Referral Programs

Cait MacBrien
Director of Marketing at Drafted

You've heard of employee referral programs but external or non-employee referral programs are a great way to supplement your sourcing activities and fill your candidate pipeline. If you're thinking about starting an external referral program and in need of some inspiration - we'll take you beyond just employee referral program examples to show you 20 examples of great non-employee referral programs. Check it out 👇

Torden LLC

Program Details: "This program has been designed to encourage referrals by individuals not employed by Torden LLC.  Our goal is to attract the highest quality Pashto linguist candidates to our company!  To qualify, the referral must be submitted online, and the hired referred candidate must be employed by Torden and working on-site continuously for at least 90 days."

Why We Love It: Torden's program clearly lists out eligibility for both the participants and candidates along with instructions for submitting the referral.

What's Missing: There is no mention of a reward or incentive for submitting referrals. We suggest providing an incentive (monetary or otherwise) for people that make great referrals.


Program Details: "The External Referral Bonus program (the “Program”) offers a one-time referral payment to unaffiliated persons to help Windward attract, hire, and retain the very best talent in the United States."

Why We Love It: Windward has covered all the details regarding their program, perfectly. They address the referee, the candidate, payment terms, and everything in between. Each section is broken out to make it easy to understand.

What's Missing:  They are only accepting resume submissions to a general recruiting inbox - that makes tracking messy. We recommend using a third-party app to track referrals and make sure they are handled appropriately.


Program Details: "Minco is growing, and we're looking for outstanding Engineers! If you know an engineer who is energetic and innovative, send them to us!"

Why We Love It: Minco is very clear with their communication cadence i.e. you can expect to hear from their recruiting team within two weeks if your referral is already in their database. They also list out specific requirements for submitting a referral via email.

What's Missing: Again, collecting resumes and candidates through a general email inbox is not an efficient system. We suggest they not only streamline their referral collection process but also the referral landing page. The page itself is hard to reach with small print - a clear layout with different sections for specific information would help get them more referrals.


Program Details: "If you are eligible to participate in the Program, Auto/Mate shall pay you a one-time external referral payment in the amount of $1,000 (gross) for a referral if the referral results in a successful regular full-time hire, and none of the program rules and regulations listed below were violated."

Why We Love It: All the information relevant to the referrer is clearly listed with the fine print at the bottom.

What's Missing: It is actually on the candidate to accurately attribute themselves to being an external referral on their application, this leaves a lot of room for error.


Program Details: "While career sites and job boards still collect the highest quantity of  applications, employee referrals garner, by far, the highest number of qualified hires. Smartronix has recognized the value of these applicants and has now extended the referral program to everyone. By utilizing social networks and tapping into these growing sites, we are looking to increase our exposure of these great opportunities to thereby increase the number of highly qualified applicants within our talent pools."

Why We Love It: It's super simple and they have a dedicated inbox for external referrals.

What's Missing: Smartronix could benefit from a page that lives on their website rather than a dated LinkedIn post that might not receive much traffic.

Mitsubishi Electric

Program Details: "Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc. (MEAU) is now offering an External Referral Award Program. The purpose of this new program is to reward people outside of our organization who refer candidates to MEAU. If the candidate is hired, the referrer could be eligible for a $500 bonus!"

Why We Love It: Their program is simple and if you have any questions or concerns you can reach out directly to their recruiting team.

What's Missing: They do not specify any referral requirements or payment details. We suggest clearly outlining all the details of your external referral program up front to cut down on the number of questions from referees.

Exchange Solutions

Program Details: "Our favorite way of hiring new people is through referrals! In fact, it’s one of the most successful ways we have grown our Technology, Analytics and Account Management teams. If there is someone in your personal or professional network that you think would thrive in our fast-paced environment and collaborative culture, than send them our way."

Why We Love It: Exchange Solutions encourages people to make more than one referral and clearly states all the details of the program.

What's Missing: The reward offered is "up to $5,000" - this can be slightly misleading or confusing. If you are offering a reward on a sliding scale for different positions, the full scale should be reflected in the program details.


Program Details: "We are always on the lookout for high-quality candidates. When you refer a new employee to TierPM, and that person meets eligibility requirements, could earn a referral bonus. Talk to your recruiter about terms and conditions for the bonus program."

Why We Love It: Their referral page has a simple form for the referee to fill out.

What's Missing: The form is missing referral bonus details and uses vague language. We recommend being specific with amounts and requirements.

Jackson Therapy Partners

Program Details: "Candidates include Respiratory Therapists, PTs, SLPs, and Medical Technologists who successfully complete their first contract with us! Easy peazy. We’ll keep you updated as your referrals get hired so you know when your money is coming."

Why We Love It: The referral page includes a simple form and has guidance on when to expect communication from their team.

What's Missing: The page is missing the fine print. We recommend adding all the specifics up front and on the page.


Program Details: "If you know someone who wants to grow their career and be part of this proud community, please refer them to a Fastaff assignment. You benefit as well, as Fastaff offers the industry’s highest referral bonuses, and doesn’t limit the number of nurses you can refer."

Why We Love It: Fastaff has included an entire break down of their program, including payment amounts and program dates. They also offer additional assistance and a contact number for questions.

What's Missing: Nothing! This is an easy to read page with an easy form and all the relevant information to streamline their referral program.

Career Group Companies

Program Details: "The best talent comes from our vast network of professionals! Be sure to tell your friends, family, and colleagues about Career Group Companies and our dedicated team of experts. As part of our referral bonus program, for every candidate you refer that we place in a full-time position, we will pay you $500.00. We will also pay you $50.00 for each person you refer that we place in a temporary assignment."

Why We Love It: Career Group provides a simple and straight forward page that includes both of their different payout options for different positions.

What's Missing: Their page could benefit from more details regarding what makes a successful placement and what the payment terms are.

Innovar Group

Program Details: "Innovar has built a cutting edge referral bonus program in order to tap into the referral power of our very best employees, candidates, and industry contacts."

Why We Love It: Innovar breaks down the steps to make a referral, sets a communication cadence, and offers multiple rewards to entice referrals.

What's Missing: The referral form is buried on the page and seems to not be a true 'referral form'. We recommend putting the form right on the page to make it as fool proof as possible.


Program Details: "To refer a candidate for employment to cBEYONData, you can email a candidate’s resume along with their contact information (name, email address, and phone number) and your contact information to referrals@cbeyondata.com."

Why We Love It: It's simple, the program is easy to understand and their page is broken out into relevant sections.

What's Missing: Again, collecting referrals via email leaves a lot of room for error. We recommend using a form or 3rd party app to streamline the process.


Program Details: "As we think about the future of AppNeta, amazing employees are the cornerstone of our success. AppNeta is currently looking to grow every department in our organization, and we have some astounding rewards for anyone who can help us secure new AppNetians."

Why We Love It: AppNeta includes their mission, the payouts for different roles, and the fine print on their referral page.

What's Missing: The 'Make a Referral' button seems to direct you to an email but they include no information as to what the person making a referral should include in their message to the team. Again, leaving a lot of room for error and clean up.


Program Details: "The External Referral Rewards program offers a referral payment to unaffiliated persons to help CyberPoint attract, hire, and retain the best talent in the United States."

Why We Love It: This is a very in depth referral page - it includes how it works, rewards, payouts, benefits, and bonus info like what it's like to live in Maryland.

What's Missing: Nothing! This page is perfect, as we have stated before more info up front and an east to under stand for means the less work for your team later.


Program Details: "In order to thank people outside of our organization for sending us great candidates, the Boston office of DrugDev has implemented an external referral program. If your referral meets our bonus requirements, we’ll thank you or a charity of your choosing with $1,500. And you’ll be providing someone with a fun and challenging work experience that has true impact on our industry. Please refer to our website for full terms and conditions."

Why We Love It: DrugDev breaks down the rules and guidelines, payouts, and how to submit a referral.

What's Missing: We can not stress this enough, get yourself a form! However, DrugDev referrals seem to be going to one person. If you're not going to use a form, creating a single owner for all referrals can help reduce the margin of error that things will slip through the cracks.


Program Details: "The External Referral Bonus program (the “Program”) offers a one-time referral payment to persons unaffiliated with Leidos, to help Leidos attract, hire, and retain the very best talent in the United States. Effective October 15, 2018, referrals are valid for 12 months from the date of submittal."

Why We Love It: This is an incredibly comprehensive referral program page. All referees must accept the terms of the program before they can submit a referral.

What's Missing: The initial set up looks great but we were unable to get past the first step of the form. We recommend testing EVERYTHING before you make your program live.


Program Details: "Do you know someone who would be a great fit for an open role with Atlassian? Good news, you can make an employee referral to Atlassian and, if we hire your referral, you could get some cash! (AUD $2,000, US $2,000, or EUR €1,500)"

Why We Love It: Atlassian uses a simple Google form with all the program details included up front. They also include next steps for the candidate if your referral is accepted.

What's Missing: Their form is a great start but it could use some work. Some of the form questions are confusing and none of the fields are required which will cause more work for their recruiting team. We recommend streamlining the form and creating required fields to ensure the proper information is collected.

Agile Defense

Program Details: "At Agile Defense, we believe that amazing people are the cornerstone of our success. We also believe that great people know other great people, which is why we want to reward anyone who can introduce us to the next addition to our Agile Defense Family."

Why We Love It: This is an excellent referral page! It includes how it works, stipulations to be a referrer, about the candidate, payment terms, the process, and additional information.

What's Missing: Nothing! The informational page leads you to a simple TypeForm to submit your referral.

Publicis Sapient

Program Details: "The Publicis Sapient External Referral Program (the “Program”) is used to provide an incentive for external people (“Referrers”) to bring new talent into Publicis Sapient (“Publicis Sapient” and/or “We”) by recommending people (“Referrals”) who are subsequently hired and successfully employed."

Why We Love It: This is a great referral page example, although it is lengthy all the important information is there. They break it down by referrer eligibility criteria, how it works, payment amounts, and include a privacy notice.

What's Missing: The referral button is buried on the page, we recommend creating a button to include on the page as it is very text heavy and could hurt your referral conversion.

As always, employee referrals are a great way to boost your candidate pipeline and trust us, we have plenty of examples. But don't sleep on a non-employee referral program for your company - there's a whole referral network out there!

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