Hiring Transparency: Why You Need it for Your Employee Referral Program

Cait MacBrien
Director of Marketing at Drafted

The number one source of confusion surrounding your employee referral program is what happens after a referral is submitted. Many employees describe it as a void or black hole. At the same time, most companies know that a referral is the highest performing source for candidates in terms of the number of viable hires. This is where hiring transparency comes into play. How do you get more referrals from your employees? Simple. Create a transparent cycle.

How Better.com applied 3 principles of hiring transparency to make a better referral process

  1. Explain the Process

All talent acquisition professionals can outline their vetting and hiring process in their sleep. However, most employees have no idea about the amount of behind the scenes magic that has to happen to get that offer letter out. Creating an outline or sharing how your hiring process works will create visibility for the referrer and impact engagement. 

Insights into the hiring process had a major impact on employee referrals at Better.com. Kevin Torres, Loan Consultant Associate at Better.com has referred 12 people since the company has implemented a more transparent process. He says, “From there [after the referral is made] you can see what the process looks like. Are they in the prospect stage? Have they been outreached to? Are they going through an initial interview and have they been hired? That gives a nice visual picture of what's going on.”

Being able to visualize the process and share what it looks like with the person you’re referring can also make for a better candidate experience. This type of clarity makes for a smoother process inside and outside the interview room.  

  1. Get Involved

Take the time to educate your employees about why referrals and great hires are important to the success of the company. This gives them a better understanding of the bigger picture and can inspire them to be more involved. Leverage hiring managers and other company leaders to talk to their teams about priority roles and highlight rewards for great referrals. 

Arthur Matuszewski, VP of Talent at Better.com said, “It came down to building the behaviors, building a lot of the muscle memory, having everyone from our leadership team to our managers reinforcing the message that we're all building this company together.”

Building behaviors don’t just apply to employees making the referrals. It’s up to the talent team to encourage the right behavior from the company to see the results they want. This can take on the form of regular company updates that highlight how many hires were made from referrals or what priority roles need to be filled that month.

  1. Skip the Manual Work

That void we talked about in the first paragraph is the number one killer of employee referral programs - if your coworker submits a referral to the recruiting team, never to be mentioned again, it’s likely they won’t refer another person. If you have a manual referral system it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. It also puts a lot more work on the recruiter to vet a candidate if there is no clear template of what they need when a referral is submitted. Technology is your friend in the referral process.

“Before it's people reaching out randomly, hey, I have a friend, they want to work here. There is no context behind it, who they are, profile, what their experience is. So me having a database where I can go on and just see everything in there and just make a decision if they're fit or not and then moving them forward,” noted Caroline McCabe, Recruiter at Better.com when talking about the benefit of having Drafted as part of their tech stack.  

Creating an automated process like using Slack to regularly ping employees about the status of their referrals or encouraging them to submit a referral will take the pressure off the recruiting team to keep people engaged and also empower the employees to follow the progress.

Start the Cycle

Hiring transparency and engagement go hand in hand when it comes to your employee referral program. Creating a transparent referral cycle allows for a clean and scalable process to turn your company into a well-oiled referral machine. These are just three ways you can strive to make a more transparent process. For more detail about how Better.com put transparency into practice and saw a 5X increase in referrals within 6 months, visit their case study page.

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