Since the dawn of time, employers have been asking "what is the best way to hire top employees?" Our traditional model means a current successful employee goes through around four to five hours of initial screening and interviewing, two hours of verbal reference checking, and maybe some psychological or skills testing before being invited aboard. That does seem an awfully short amount of time for a person who could potentially be sitting next to you for the next decade.

Applications In

International careers website Jobvite assessed how candidates successfully gained employment at hundreds of companies, and found some startling results. Firstly, the majority of applications come via job boards (43 per cent) and the companies' own careers website (32 per cent). Employee referrals came down the pack at 7 per cent.

Successful Hires


However, the tables were turned when the focus was placed on who was hired. Employee referrals jumped to the head of the pack at 40 per cent, while the internal careers website and traditional job boards scored 21 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.


What's more, the time it took to bring candidates onboard was significantly lower with employee referrals. Jobvite found "employees hired through employee referral are hired faster than those who came through a career site", with employee referrals at 25 days, job boards at 35 days and internal careers sites at 40 days.

Length of tenure

While this is all well and good, how successful were these hires in terms of staff longevity? Here the statistics were truly compelling. After three years, 14 per cent of employees hired through job boards and 39 per cent hired through the own career site, were still employed at the company. However, of those candidates employed through employee referrals, 46 per cent were still working at the same organisation.

As Jobvite says, "Not only does it take a shorter length of time to hire a qualified candidate via employee referral, those hired stay longer."

Trust creates trust

As a general rule, we usually trust the judgment of those we work alongside on a daily basis. We trust them to make correct decisions in terms of marketing, sales, administration and finance. Therefore, managers generally tend to look more favourably and see less risk upon a candidate referral from a trusted internal source. If you like and trust "Lisa", your current team member, you will probably like and trust "Marc", her friend and referral for the vacant position you have available.


Your Organisation

If you don't already have one, it could be a good long term hiring strategy as an employer to set up a more formal "refer a friend" programme. If your results are anything like Jobvite's research, it could well be a positive short and long term win for you, your team and the potential talent, already under your nose!

To set up a great employee referral programme in your company, contact Tom at tom@CareerCoach, nz or to find out more.