By: Mike Stafford, Managing Partner and Senior Consultant
Everyone needs referrals in business. And no matter what type of business you’re in, they are the best kinds of leads you can get. The person who was referred to you already has a good opinion of you, simply because their friend or collegaue recommended you.
So, in the search for referrals, one of our recruiters posed a few questions, and they’re ones we hear often:
Why wouldn’t someone want to help out their friend who’s looking for a job? Why wouldn’t they take up an offer to cash in on a referral bonus? What’s the fear here? What keeps people from forwarding a job description or passing along a name and number?
#1 Eliminate Competition
Part of it, I suppose, has to do with a perception of competition. If I tell you people I know who fit a role you may want me for, then I’m hurting myself. In this case the referrer has to be convinced in the “pay it forward” philosophy that if you help others it comes around to you one day.
#2 Eliminate Laziness
Also, people are naturally lazy so we have to make it EASY for them to refer others. Giving a name and where they work may be all you need.
#3 Eliminate Suspicion
But probably most importantly, the person giving the referral has to have a strong connection with you and feel you are very worthy of “recommending to others”. This is a very personal decision and by way of recommending, you they are endorsing you at the same time. You may have to wait until you have built a solid reputation with this person. If you have helped someone they know, tell them. That builds trust as well.
#4 Eliminate Responsibility
And on the other end, if a candidate refers another candidate to you they will feel they have some responsibility for that referral. What if this referral is great for a flexible work from home company but not a more rigid 9-5 type company? Their referral may fail to deliver and that would be a direct reflection on them. Let the referrer know that it’s up to you to find the right fit for the candidate – not them.
#5 Go for the Triangle Closure
Lastly, if they were to “introduce” you to a candidate that would be an even stronger endorsement. The scientific name for this social network phenomena is “Triadic closure”. If only two of three individuals know each other, then the person connected to both will want to close the triangle. LinkedIn discovered this with their wildly successful “People You may Know” feature. If this doesn’t work out for you there’s always the “Joe thought I should talk to you about this position” approach.
Now go get those referrals!