Referrals. The Open Door to a New Position.

By Adam Streets

Think about the way we look for jobs.

If you're like me, you'll look at company websites, brand name products you frequently purchase, search through countless job board postings, and finally, ask your friends.

Today, our lives are so integrated with our personal social network that asking a friend about an open position is as easy as a click of a button. You can virtually reach out to friends about open positions or connections at specific companies. Next to your application, personal introductions, recommendations, or a referral for a specific job is a key to success.

We know how referrals help the job seeker, but how about the company?

For many companies, employee referrals are the easiest way for them to identify top prospects that may or may not be in the job search mode.

  • Hiring Quality - Referrals are the #1 source for new hire quality.
  • Speed to Start - A referral shortens the time to hire a new employee compared to job boards and career sites. (29 days for referrals, 39 days for job boards, and 45 days for career sites.)
  • Retention - The average length of retention from referrals after one year is 46%, compared to 33% from career sites and 22% from job boards.
  • Smaller group of applicants - Only 6.9% of applicants are referrals.
  • Applicant-to-hire ratio - Referrals are hired 1 out of 3 applications for top companies compared to 1 out of 10 for average companies.

So next time you apply to a position take that additional step. Look to your friends and find out if they know anyone or can introduce you to someone in the organization.  Making that small change can put you an extra step ahead of the competition.


  1. 2011
  2. Jobvite index 2012
  3. CareerXroads 2011 - 2012
  4. Dr. John Sullivan and Associates research 2008 - 2011