You have probably heard that networking is an important element of a job search, but a recent study has demonstrated just how effective networking can be in landing a job. Lever, a recruitment marketing firm, conducted a one-year source-of-hire efficiency study, with the following results:
- Companies in the study hired one of every 16 candidates referred to them, a5% chance of being hired.
- Companies hired one of every 152 candidates who applied through their applicant tracking systems, a 0.66% chance of being hired.
This data means that companies hired referred candidates 9.5 times more often than unfamiliar online applicants. The results of this study (see Use This 10X Job Search Strategy) show that if you want to boost your chances of getting hired, you need to focus on building your referral network at every company where you might like to work.
As modern job seekers and members of the work force, we should all understand the significance of developing and maintaining an extensive network of meaningful professional connections, according to executive search firm CEO Fred Coon (How Important Are Referrals During Your Job Search?). Coon believes that the rate of hiring through inside and outside referrals for open positions will continue to increase in the future. Inside referrals come from employees who tell HR or management they know someone they believe would be perfect for an open position. Outside referrals come from people in HR’s or management’s network who know someone they think would be a good fit for the employer.
According to Paul Petrone, Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, hiring managers save considerable time (and money) when basing their hiring practices on the referral process, rather than screening and reviewing stacks of resumes. A JobVite study found that it takes an average of 29 days to hire a referral-based candidate, as opposed to an average of 39 days to hire a candidate who responded to a job posting and 55 days for candidates who contacted employers through a career site. Employers tend to believe that referrals are better workers because they assume that current employees know who’s likely to be a good fit. As a result, referred candidates get faster reviews and responses, and vastly better hire rates (see Why getting a referral is so powerful in a job search).
There are a number of ways that you can increase your chances of receiving a job referral, but the most important is to reach out to as many potential contacts as possible. Expand your perimeters and consider any possible connections you may have with the organizations you are interested in. A friend of a friend who works in accounting or the brother of a former coworker who heads IT are examples of where to start when seeking a possible referral.
Another potential source of referrals is through LinkedIn (see accompanying newsletter article). Check the LinkedIn pages of companies you are targeting for their list of employees to see if you share any connections. Let first degree connections know why you would like to work for their company and request a referral. Look for any mutual contacts you may share among your second degree connections and ask for an introduction before approaching them for a referral. Since some companies offer their employees referral incentive programs, you may just find that your connections on either level are happy to help.
If you want to boost your chances of landing your next job, building your referral network may well be your best job search strategy.