One of the most overlooked aspects of networking are employee referrals. Sadly, many eager networkers who are in career transition don’t take time to build the relationships needed to secure a positive referral from a friend, a former colleague or even a new relationship. Handle this networking approach with care.
An employee referral starts as an internal recruitment method that companies or organizations use to tap their current employees’ networks. To cut down on recruitment costs and to tap the network of assets already under contract it only makes sense that this would be one of the best ways to attract new talent and competencies. For an employee referral that makes it through the hiring process companies today offer incentives or bonuses.
So when you are networking for your next job keep in mind that the person who you are talking to may have a vested interest in helping you get hired. But start with building a relationship first with a new contact. Nurture that relationship so that they get to know you and your capabilities then consider asking them these questions:
Is there any incentive for you if I get hired with your company?
What would you need me to do to potentially earn an internal referral from you?
How could I potentially earn a referral from you for a position I am interested in with your company?
I emphasize to my clients that they should not expect a referral without building trust and a relationship. Those come first. Additionally, I additionally focus my clients or working on their existing contacts and not taking those contacts for granted.
One client said to me: “It’s a done deal. I know a lot of people. I am just going to ask them to refer me into their companies.”
My reply was essentially that he should take a more formal approach even with his existing contacts. Do not assume that they will pass along an inferior quality resume or refer you because they know you.
Use the core questions above to rebuild rapport with your existing network. Never assume that you don’t have to earn their favor again and again. Ask them those questions and ensure that they are comfortable referring you.
In general, employees possess the power to refer you and gain. What can they lose? If you are not a stellar candidate who is highly prepared to interview you can actually damage your contacts reputation at your own company. So the onus is on you to prepare and earn an employee referral. It’s your responsibility to prepare carefully for the interview process. Whether you are hired or not your employee referral contact must look good in the process. Your reputation and your reputation are at stake.