6 Killer Employee Referral Program Tips

Finding the best job candidates for your team isn’t easy. As you implement multiple ways to find and attract top talent from outside your company, it is also important to look inward. Your current employee roster is an important source of great candidates, whether you’re promoting from within or using your highly productive employees to connect with equally valuable external talent.

One of the best ways to get these important employee connections to work for you is by establishing an employee referral program. An effective employee referral program provides current employees with the tools and information they need to promote your company culture and grow your brand.

Crafting an Effective Employee Referral Program

Ready to build a killer referral program? Here are six tips for setting up and implementing a program that generates results:

1. Provide the tools and information employees need.

To build a referral program that works, you need to give employees a referral-worthy culture. Think of each employee as your best brand ambassador and encourage them to share their personal network. When you have open positions, reach out to those employees and review contacts, allowing them to introduce you to potential applicants.

2. Establish clear expectations and guidelines.

The guidelines for your employee referral program should include who is eligible to participate, any procedures involved, and any available rewards for successful referrals. Many companies allow all employees to participate in the referral program and give preference to the candidates referred by employees.

3. Motivate with incentives.

Nearly 75% of employers offer incentives for employee referrals. In most cases, the referral award hinges on the referred employee working for the company for a set period, though occasionally, the award may be offered immediately upon employment.

4. Market your program.

Treat your employee referral program like a marketing campaign. Investing in program marketing and communication with your employees increases their chances of participating. Unique awards, such as letter jackets, pins, or other visible recognition, remind everyone at the company that employee referrals have an impact.

5. Maintain accountability.

One of the most common issues with referral programs is when Human Resources fails to communicate about the job with the job candidate and the referral employee. Sharing updates about the hiring process with both parties helps to avoid this frustration.

6. Evaluate the program and offer feedback.

Even the best employee referral program may need adjustments. Periodically review metrics and provide feedback on what is working and what isn’t. Some of the important metrics to review include:

  • Comparing the number of employee referral hires versus other methods.
  • Comparing the number of qualified candidates obtained through employee referrals versus other methods.
  • The employee participation rate.
  • Referred hires’ performance rates
  • Referred hires’ retention rates.


Employee referral programs are valuable for hiring in the current job market. Take time to build a solid, rewarding program and start finding high-quality candidates!

Looking for a recruitment agency to help you add high-quality talent to your organization? Contact Career Foundations to get started!