5 Steps to Getting Referred

by Susan Joyce

Susan Joyce Headshot

1.Target your best employers.

Being recommended to the employer by a current employee is usually the best and fastest way to a new job. Known as an “employee referral,” a referred candidate is five times more likely to be hired than a candidate who was not referred. While it sounds simple, getting referred for a job is not necessarily easy, especially if — when you start — you have no contacts to refer you to the employer.

Choose employers where you think you would be happy to work – prosperous, where you wouldn’t be embarrassed to work, convenient location, and the right “corporate culture” for you.

This is essential information! You need to know each employer’s ERP program rules because they can differ dramatically. Does the job you want qualify for the ERP? Not every job may qualify. When does the referral happen -- before or after you apply? Applying too soon may disqualify you, so be very careful to know this rule.

2. Research your target employers’ employee referral programs.

Who can and cannot refer a job candidate? The hiring manager and people in HR are typically excluded, but, of course, the rules vary. How big is the reward for the employee who does the referral? When is the referring employee rewarded: When you are hired? After you have worked there successfully for several months? Both? Something else? Many employers make the information about their ERP visible to the public on their website. Others don’t with information available only to employees or, even, no official ERP.

3. Connect with people at your target employers before you apply.

Connect with employees who can make referrals at those target employers to see if they are interested in referring you. Collect contact information, job title and department, and other relevant information so you can reach out quickly when an opportunity appears.

4. Monitor the jobs at your target employers.

In some cases, an employee may have access to job postings before the opportunities are made public on the employer’s website, Indeed, or a job board.

5. When the right job is available, follow the ERP process exactly.

Don’t blow the opportunity to be referred by not following the employer’s process correctly. Often this means contacting the employee before applying for a job or registering on the employer’s website.