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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’ve heard 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.

What is a Referral Network? from Drafted

Referrals make the best hires

If we agree referrals make the best hires, then the next step is to talk about where they come from because that’s what really matters.

Referrals come from your team and outside of your team. Simple enough? They’re typically categorized as internal referrals and external referrals.

A nice statistic to help you visualize this: 60% of hired referrals originate from inside your company and 40% of hired referrals come from people outside your company.

How does this shape up exactly?

Well, each team member at your company has professional connections. These connections include past colleagues, business contacts, advisors, or investors. Each team member also has social connections which include schoolmates, friends, family, clubs, etc.

When those two separate connection groups are combined, the professional and the social, a person’s referral network is created. If you go one step further to combine those individual networks into one greater network, you are left with the true referral network of your company.

The referral network becomes your community. Every company has a referral network. Even a small team can have a large referral network.

Tapping into your referral network

You can take these three steps and run with them today.

1. Proactive referrals instead of reactive referrals

Reactive referral

Recruiter: Who do you know that could be a good fit for our open marketing role?

Me: Um, let me think. Not sure if I know anyone.

Proactive referral

Recruiter: Aubrie, I see you went to college with Andrea (link to her LinkedIn). I think she could be a good fit for our open marketing role and would like to talk to her. Could you make an introduction?

Me: Sure! Andrea is great and I would be more than happy to make an intro and reach out to tell her a little bit more about what we do.

See the difference? One is a snap decision, the other requires much more work for the desired result.

2. Start a referral program outside your company

Reward your community for contributing to your referral program. Internal vs external referral programs look something like this. An internal referral placed hire is reward a $4k bonus whereas an external referral bonus is $1k.

3. Invest in your referral network

Invest part of your hiring strategy and your focus on your referral network. Leverage the combined networks of people at your company and beyond to help create more conversations with candidates. Your referral network is going to give you warm introductions and stronger leads to the best kinds of hires.

The virtuous cycle

Referrals create a virtuous cycle. Referrals lead to better hires which create happier teams and a great culture that fosters more referrals.


The same can be said about community-based referrals. They help amplify the virtuous cycle.


A referral network is a highly valuable recruiting tool that you can tap into to help boost quality hires while contributing to the internal and external perception of your company. Learn more about what hires from your referral network look like from Aubrie and Olivia from Drafted. 



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