Author Thomas Rohr , Sep 25, 2019 1:15:47 PM

How often do we discuss our jobs or our employers with friends, family, or acquaintances? It happens all the time, right? Whether we wax lyrical about our jobs or complain, we know our employers best and understand what it takes to be able to work for them. In this blog I'll explain why this is exactly the reason your employees are your best recruiters.

Referral marketing as part of employer branding

The presentation of a company as an employer within society, also known as employer branding, is crucial to successful recruitment. A new element which is becoming increasingly important is referral marketing. The company's own employees recommend their family members, friends, or acquaintances to the human resources department for a particular vacancy within the company. Sometimes they will receive a reward for this later on. 47% of respondents surveyed for the Randstad Employer Branding Study indicated that they were trying to find a new job through personal relationships and referrals. A total of 30% that had already found a new job, found it this way. This method of looking for a job is only surpassed by traditional online job portals at 70%. 


Employee satisfaction plays an important role

However, using employee referrals can be more complicated than it sounds. If you're not satisfied with the service you receive at a restaurant, you're hardly going to recommend it to your friends, and this is no different when it comes to referral marketing. If employees are not happy at work, they won't be promoting their employer. It is therefore important to first ensure that the company itself, workplace conditions, the management structure etc. are attractive. It is not enough to simply pay a large bonus for successful referrals. 

Download our Employer Branding Study 2019 and find out how your company could become an attractive employer. 

Download study now


Information is key

So, your company is now attractive enough and you've made the decision to offer incentives if a new staff member is found through an employee referral. The following two points are now important:

  1. Whenever possible, there should be transparency for your current employees regarding which positions are currently vacant. This could be communicated via an intranet, on a bulletin board, or simply in a recurring information email. 
  2. It must be clearly communicated what the incentive will be and at what point it becomes payable. For example: CHF 1000 once the probationary period has been successfully completed. Once both these points have been addressed, your employees will become a powerful network of recruiters.

Keep conventional recruitment methods

Personal referrals by employees are promising. You wouldn't recommend something awful to your loved ones – your advice is genuine and honest. This trust creates an enormous advantage. To ensure that the evaluation of applicants is reliable, candidates who have been referred are to be included in the conventional recruitment process. The type of incentive offered should also be considered. The reward should not be too little, but also not excessively high. Additional vacation days, a hotel voucher, or an individualized incentive could be more motivational and sustainable than a financial reward.


Sustainable recruitment guaranteed 

Every available network should be exploited, particularly now where there is a shortage of skilled labor. Time and again I hear people talking about how their colleagues were headhunted and accepted their new job on the basis of a recommendation. This network includes a lot of "sleeper candidates" who would like to change jobs but aren't actively doing anything about it. Their interest is then kindled, and they are spurred on by an acquaintance or a close friend. Randstad (Switzerland) AG also uses referral marketing and we fill at least thirty percent of all internal vacancies through referrals by their own employees. A reputable, well-established referral marketing campaign combined with good employer branding creates the ideal basis for a successful and all round sustainable personnel recruitment.


The following document contains a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages. But one thing should be mentioned upfront: there are more advantages and that's why it is always good to know someone who knows someone.

Download: Advantages & Disadvantages of Employee Referrals