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Outlook: Referrals — the (old) new way of recruiting

April 28, 2011 by James Russo
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News and Views, Recruiting

The job market’s picking up, which means it may be time to resurrect some of your trusty recruiting methods, such as using employee referrals. Be careful, however, about some of the hazards.

Referrals are always popular, and for good reasons:

  • You save on recruiting costs, and
  • You’re getting a recommendation from someone you already know – an employee.

Cover these bases
So far, so good. But be aware there are a few hazards that come with referral recruiting.

  • Privacy. There’s a temptation to discuss the candidate with the referring employee. That could be a mistake. You might end up telling the employee something he or she doesn’t – and shouldn’t – know about the friend. Avoid such conversations, and you’ll help avoid privacy lawsuits.
  • Hurt feelings. Sometimes, employees get angry when a pal isn’t picked for the job. To keep a lid on those feelings, try to let everyone know you appreciate their recommendations, but circumstances dictate that even good candidates don’t always make the cut.
  • Appreciation. Some companies offer a “bounty” award to employees who refer successful candidates. That can create ill will among those whose referrals weren’t chosen. Consider a lesser award for that group, too.


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